It’s Chinese to Me

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Screenshot-It's Chinese To Me - Mozilla Firefox-1

While I’m here in Hong Kong working on online social networks in China, I thought it was a very interesting case of cosmic coincidence to come across an art project made out of Montreal using the Chinese online sphere and language parsing.

It’s Chinese to Me is an online installation by Montreal-based artist Ellen Tang, along with programmers Alexandre Quessy, Yan Chen, Louis-Philippe Huberdeau. The application chooses writings from female bloggers in China, splits up the characters into tokens (words of one or two characters), and does a search on Flickr. It then presents the pictures superimposed with the words, offering an interesting way of translating and seeing what these women are talking about, without necessarily having to know Chinese.

Coincidentally, I found out this week that women represented 55-57% of all users on Sina Weibo (the “Chinese Twitter”) using a sample of the most popular users from all regions of China. Might not seem a lot, but we’re talking about a 10-14% difference versus men…

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