You may or may not have heard of the app WeChat, but if you have not it is something that you need to try out. You have Viber and WhatsApp and Messenger and iMessage and… but WeChat just seems to be that bit more. Plus, as the servers are hosted in China, you are able to access it without the need of a VPN. It is available on iTunes and Play Store and you can get desktop versions for Mac and PC.
So what other than the lack of VPN makes it good?
1. Simple and free messaging service, but it is not just text, you can also audio messages.
2. Video and Audio calls. I Video called my daughter in San Paulo Brazil from Nanjing China last week and the quality of visual and audio feed was spectacular.
3. The use of QR Codes to share contact details. If you scan my QR code and it sends me a friend request. Scan the image beside this text and I will send you a message back.
4. You are able to use it like a mircro-blog. This is the social media choice for my youngest daughter and shares her ‘moments’ with her friends on her own page.
5. It is request only. You can choose who you choose who you are in contact with and the level of what you share. You can also connect with people through groups and not be required to be a friend with them. You can also easily delete and block other users and share the way that people can find you – great security settings.
6. You can have a group conversation and you have a pretty limitless supply of group chats. I am in a Cricket and a Touch Rugby group and a China Tech Teachers group and it keeps everyone up to date with the information. If you get sick of being contacted every time a message is sent you can mute notifications, but if you have a question everyone in the group sees it and you get a reply pretty quick.
I am trialling a WeChat Group with my Under 12 Touch Rugby team. On the bottom of the latest parent letter I copied a QR code for a group that I had just created. Parents just pull out their phone and scan the code when they get the code and they are added instantly to the parent information group – so far in 24 hours I have half the parents joined.