Day 3: Studying Shanghai

My Twitter followers can get a pretty good idea of the type of content I find interesting.

Not only do I tweet (and retweet) links to impressive journalism, viral videos and images, sometimes even my own articles, and more, but I also use Twitter daily to stay up-to-date on news I (sometimes) care about, journalists and writers I admire, celebrities who amuse me, and sites I’ve forgotten about but am so happy to rediscover.

Today, it was Condé Nast Traveler, whose tweet on a cool new way to meet knowledgable locals led me to discovering Time Out Shanghai. (Aside: I’d visited the Time Out office in New York my freshman year, so I have a heightened awareness whenever I see the publication.) The path to discovering that Time Out had an office in Shanghai was completely fortuitous, and I have Twitter to thank.

Time Out Shanghai
The cover of Time Out Shanghai‘s January issue. Unlike the “Get Lazy” theme of the issue, however, I will be actively reading up on everything Shanghai before my trip.

The Condé Nast Traveler article focused on the company called Context Travel, which pairs individual or group travelers with an “intellectual” from one of the 24 cities it currently serves to offer a unique, albeit rather pricey, tour of the area’s culture, academia, food, etc. Although I didn’t see the article mention Shanghai as being one of the cities, I decided to visit the site anyway.

I found that Context Travel, in fact, does offer tours in Shanghai, and I—of course—was drawn to the walking tour about food. After deciding that I wouldn’t make any decisions on booking a tour until actually being in Shanghai, curious, I clicked on the docent bios. I found it somewhat funny that the two are writers. On the positive side, this means that writers must be rather knowledgeable of the area in which they live. But on the negative side, that may mean that this helps boost their low writers’ salaries. Anyway, long story short, one of the docents is the food editor of Time Out Shanghai.

Its January issue (yay for online version) made me want to follow not only Time Out Shanghai‘s Twitter account, but also subsequent Shanghai publications, including probably the most well-known Shanghai Daily. The prospect of learning more about a city I will spend four months in thrilled me.

Here’s a beautiful quote from Mr. Cunhua Hun, a Shanghai taxi driver and his thoughts on the “Chinese Dream:”

There are dreams we have for our country and then there are the small dreams we all have in our hearts. My own dream is to make a decent living, for my kid to do a little better in school, and for my wife to get home safe from work every day. It’s not all that ambitious, but that’s my dream. Some people only dream about going on one of those talent shows and becoming famous.

Many still have hesitations about Twitter, mainly due to not comprehending its usefulness. Well, I think it’s safe to say that all of us had those hesitations—four years ago. If you haven’t jumped on board by now (it IS 2014…), then I’m not sure I can convince you at this point. But I will say this: I once thought Twitter had no use. Now, I’m keeping up with the world’s latest news (and I mean latest—you certainly can’t get this speed with newsletters), tweeting at admired journalists and the occasional public figures, interacting with people I never would be able to without the service, and just overall feeling awesome from all of this.

Oh, and if you’re curious, not posting to Facebook really does hurt my readership. The drop is quite pitiful but the project continues!