What does social media mean to us?

I have been using various social media accounts since 2008.

I first started using Facebook in January 2008 after a friend from Canada introduced it to me. We continued to chat on MSN – and before that we used ICQ – and I only occasionally looked at my Facebook. At that time, still very few people used it and nobody was crazy about “likes”. However, I later found that people using Facebook are more interested in getting “likes” than engaging in meaningful interaction. I stopped using my Facebook account last week after Mark Zuckerberg met with China’s propaganda chief Liu Yunshan.

In March 2008, I started my Twitter account. I used it mainly to communicate with Chinese activists who had no choice but used VPN to go to Twitter to have a taste of freedom of expression as they frequently found their posts deleted in Mainland Chinese online forums. I’m still using it and find it useful to connect with activists, journalists, diplomats and other like-minded people, and even some government leaders and prominent research institutes.

I have also been using other social media, such as Instagram and LinkedIn, but less active on those platforms.

Some people might still doubt why we need to spend time on social media and still stick to only using emails. I still remember someone told me I should call him more and even fax him documents instead of sending him emails in 2008. Now, that person even uses Whatsapp and Facebook. I just wonder why some people still think they can ignore social media nowadays. The existence of social media people interact and I don’t think that social media will make us totally rely on them and stop or discourage us from meeting our family, friends and colleagues. Instead, it provides more platforms for us to have different forms of communication in different situations.


Can we trust Microsoft any more?

There are certainly many imminent issues around the world that need attention. However, I have decided to write my first blog post on email security as it’s not just about our privacy but also about why we simply let such a company deal with our communication data without any intention to respect consumers’ rights.

I’m not an IT expert but as a user, I think I have much justification to say why we should all question Microsoft about the security of its email service and its position on not warning users that their email accounts have been hacked. If you are still not convinced and believe that there’s nothing to worry about our email communication, please read these reports about how Microsoft decided not to inform Tibetan and Uighur hack victims.

Like many people, I have many email accounts for communicating with different people – colleagues, friends, activists and others. However, I decided to stop using my Hotmail accounts after reading various reports about the email service’s security issues a few years ago. Of course, all email service can also be subjected to the risk of being hacked. But a company’s attitude in handling such problem speaks for itself. If you finds out the problem but you don’t even bother to inform your customers, how can we still trust that company any more?

As mentioned above, the recent reports about the hack victims are Tibetans and Uighurs. But what about users in Hong Kong and the rest of the world? Can Microsoft disclose more information to users and to the public?

I do feel that it’s legitimate for us to ask Microsoft these questions.