Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Lifestyle / News

Social media digest

By MENG WENJIE | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-06 10:17
Share - WeChat
The emerging so-called "pet communicators" have stirred discussion online. [PHOTO/TUCHONG]

Whisker whispers

If someone offers to assist you in communicating with your pet, would you be willing to pay for this service?

Recently, the phenomenon of "pet communicators" has been gaining popularity on Chinese social media platforms. A quick search on Xiaohongshu, a lifestyle-sharing platform, reveals numerous accounts of individuals claiming to be pet communicators. The fees for this service range from 30 yuan ($4.2) to 300 yuan.

Typically conducted online, these types of human-to-animal transmission services involve pet communicators requesting a photo of the pet and some basic information from the owner. In some cases, they may also ask for a video of the pet. With this knowledge, pet communicators assert they possess "extrasensory perception" — the ability to "speak" with pets on a soul level — and are even able to "connect" with pets that have passed away for years.

However, this emerging profession lacks well-established market standards. Many communicators demand payment before providing services, often through online peer-to-peer transfers rather than reputable third-party platforms. Consequently, issues such as erratic pricing, the disappearance of communicators after payment, and challenges in protecting consumer rights are among the most common complaints on social media platforms.

Despite these problems, there are indeed professionals that facilitate communication between owners and pets in a more scientifically grounded manner.

Zhang Hai, a senior pet psychologist, told Beijing News that pet psychology is one such profession that focuses on teaching pet owners to communicate with their pets through interpreting signals such as their voices or body language. "In contrast, pet communicators are more oriented toward addressing the psychological and spiritual needs of pet owners rather than truly serving the pets themselves."

Harvard University will launch a course centered on Taylor Swift in the upcoming spring semester. [PHOTO/VCG]

Tay-torial triumph

Can listening to Taylor Swift in class be considered "learning"? For fans of the American singer-songwriter, Harvard University's course for 2024, titled "Taylor Swift and Her World", is surely one of the most unexpected academic offerings of the upcoming spring semester.

The course will be conducted by Harvard's Department of English and it will involve an in-depth analysis of the 33-year-old icon's lyrics, musical compositions, and influences by examining her works.

Stephanie Burt, the professor teaching this course, is a Swiftie (a nickname for Taylor Swift fans). But in an interview with TMZ, a US tabloid news organization, Burt clarified that her admiration for Swift is not the sole reason for offering the class.

"I'm a literary scholar, and I try to study and share excellence in the arts that use words," she said. "I will not only share her work... and think about how songwriting works and what makes her so good at it, but also to connect it to the work of other artists who she is linked to."

Believing that Swift's work and fan base are worthy of investigation, Burt aims to analyze shifts in American culture through the study of Swift's career, teaching students about subjects such as fan culture, celebrity culture, adolescence and adulthood.

According to The New York Times, nearly 300 students have already enrolled in the course.

In fact, this is not the first time that Swift has been the subject of academic study. Several other prestigious American universities, including Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, have also offered courses centered on the international pop star.


Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349