Days without MSN make netizens' world 'dull and boring'

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-30 07:11

Liu Yu has felt like a "fish out of water" for the past few days.

This 26-year-old clerk from Beijing is just one of millions of netizens coping with life without access to the MSN instant messaging service since the severing of undersea cables as a result of two earthquakes that rocked Taiwan on Tuesday.

"The breakdown of the MSN service since Tuesday has brought a sudden end to my familiar cyber world, making my life dull and boring," said Liu.

An online survey by, the country's leading news portal, found that at least half of the country's 15 million MSN users have been affected by the current breakdown and have tried new ways of online communication.

The syndrome has been so widespread that a blog essay competition on the theme of "days without MSN" held by, a leading popular website in China, attracted hundreds of netizens within a few hours on Friday.

"Days without MSN are simply so unbearable," wrote the majority of netizens, many of whom asked online for ideas to kill time.

They also said that a symptom of the syndrome is that they click every 10 minutes to check whether the MSN service has been restored and cannot concentrate on their work.

In addition to dull life, office workers also complain that the Internet breakdown has made their work less efficient, rendering online communication with their overseas business partners impossible.

"The breakdown clearly shows that the world is so closely linked together that a cable breakdown in Taiwan can impact many parts of the world," said Zhou Jia, a businessman in Shanghai.

According to experts, the fundamental reason for the syndrome is that many people's lives have become dependent on the Internet.

"For many people, frustrated interpersonal relationships in reality have led them to choose the virtual world for consolation," said Xia Xueluan, a sociology professor at Peking University.

"When one channel is cut off, they will feel greatly uneasy and try to find alternatives," said Xia.

In fact, millions of netizens have turned to La-Va and QQ, two major domestic online chatting tools, to communicate since Tuesday, reported Chinese-language newspapers.

Experts also called for emergency measures to curb sudden Internet collapse and minimize its influence on Internet users.

(China Daily 12/30/2006 page1)

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