As I walk the streets and roam the web of China, I share snapshots from my fieldwork on Bytes of China. My list of longer thought pieces can be found on my Writing Page

I am currently living in China, following students and migrants as they process information and desire, remaking cities and rural areas. I investigate media and memes in their collisions with markets, governments, and local thugs.   [More about Bytes of China.]

Here's a video of the most recent talk I gave about my research at LIFT in Geneva, Switzerland, "Dancing with Handcuffs: The Geography of Trust in Social Networks". In this talk, I analyze the changing conceptions of trust through the story of a college student who threw shoes and eggs at the government official who oversees internet censorship in China. 

Read more about my research. My analysis of culture and technology can be found on Cultural Bytes. And my personal blog is Hi Tricia.

The views expressed on this blog do not in any way reflect the position of any of my funders, past employers, the Chinese government, the US government or the Fulbright program. 


My research is generously funded though a mix of university grant programs, state initiatives, or industry research.

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at night, you wouldn't have know that this internet cafe was open

Fieldwork: entrance to Internet Cafe...

We arrived into the city at 2am. It was completely dark, not even a little light on in the street. Not even a street light. As we walked all the way down the alley, we could make out the dark words, 网吧 - the sign wasn't flashing in red or even lit - we could just see the outlines of the letters in the dark.

But the metal gate in front of the cafe was closed. There wasn't a single person in the alley-way. But this was the only internet cafe that we could see so we just said, well let's see if anyone answers. We quietly knocked on the metal gate. And within 2 seconds, we heard footsteps. The silence was broken as the gate clammered to let night air in to the store, florescent light from inside poured onto our toes.  As we were breathing a sigh of relief to have found an open internet cafe, two fingers magically showed itself to push the gate up high enough to usher us in. We ducked our heads under the low gate and when we adjusted our eyes to the light, we opened them to find a kingdom of humans all hooked up to machines in silence with headphones on. 

Seven hours later, we were woken up by the noise of people getting their stuff together. Half the cafe was empty. Our computers stopped working. No one had to ask anyone to leave. Like robots, everyone knew exactly what to do when the machines turned off. Like everyone else, we picked up our stuff and looked around at who else was left as we made our way out onto the street. The night humans disappeared into the sunlight in search for food. 


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