The first thing Huang Ling, a young factory girl, did after she broke up with her boyfriend was to ‘lock’ her Qzone, which meant that nobody could view her QQ profile except herself.
“I need some space, you know, I don’t want people to gossip about my break-up. Even though they do it out of kindness, I still find it so annoying.” Huang Ling’s elder cousin even called her very late at night to ask her what happened when he saw her ‘unusual’ QQ status update. She felt embarrassed to explain the reason to her friends and relatives, especially male friends. After four days, Huang Ling reopened her Qzone, after deleting all her previous Qzone status updates.
Meanwhile, during the four ‘non-QQ’ days, Huang Ling’s WeChat profile was used to release all her negative feelings. One day, she uploaded a photo of her arm, which showed how she had cut it with a steel ruler. The two ‘bloody’ Chinese characters she carved on her flesh were ‘hen’ (hate) and ‘ai’ (love). This suggested that only by carving her own flesh could she express her strong feelings about the frustrating break-up. This sensational posting on social media somewhat ‘reconfirmed’ and ‘reinforced’ these feelings. So one reason for abandoning QQ was:
“Because some of my family members are on Qzone..but the friends circle on my WeChat is much smaller, you know, most of them are new friends, so I can at least upload it onto my WeChat without causing any trouble for myself. And he (the ex-boyfriend) will see the photo either way,” she explained.
Huang Ling clearly knows that different social media may have different audiences, significantly impacting upon what she posts.