Many of us are, for sure, not new to joining online groups and forums especially as we’re becoming more connected than ever. In China, perhaps the most common online space we’ll ever be in is WeChat.
I’ve talked about how WeChat groups have become an essential part of social communication in China, and for many expat communities in Beijing, these groups provide more than just connecting people. Every now and then I hear a group being formed for a specific reason – be it events, knowledge sharing, food; you name it and sure there’ll be one. No group for that? Why not make a new one and invite friends?
When used in moderation, WeChat groups can be one of your essential tools for living the most of your life in Beijing. I’ve used a housing group to find my current accommodation; I’m in another where I get vouchers for online food delivery apps. In this article, I’ll round up some of the helpful online communities. Want to join one of the groups? Add beijingkids on WeChat (type in beijing-kids in the search bar) and let us know which group you want to be in!
A word of notice: We advocate healthy communication. Make sure that you always follow the group rules and respect other members.
Family Events Group
Current members: Over 460
Are you looking for activities for your family? We host a group where we share family-friendly events in town. Many members also share info about other happenings in the city and other business owners and organizations also inform the community of their latest offerings through their listings on www.beijing-kids.com/events.
Beijing Parenting and Beyond
Current members: Over 490
This group is where many parents from different districts of Beijing converge to share info about parenting and beyond. Many active members share their experiences of bringing up kids in the city — from giving tips to finding the best play areas in town to responding to home emergencies.
Beijing 2nd-Hand Items Exchange
Current members: Over 380
Do you want to sell your unused furniture and appliances? Or are you looking for a cheap item to complete your house? Selling and exchanging second-hand stuff have become easier, thanks to item exchange groups on WeChat and the Beijing 2nd-Hand Items Exchange is just one of those networks that has members all throughout the city. There are other district-centric groups as well.
International Newcomer’s Network (INN) Beijing
Current members: Over 330
INN is a resource for new arrivals and seasoned foreigners in Beijing. The group organizes monthly gatherings and coffee mornings, as well as quarterly information sessions geared towards newcomers who want to know more about living in Beijing.
For the Love of Community (Volunteering)
Current members: 86
The group owner set up For the Love of Community as a way to allow organizations to meet in one place and make it easier to discuss needs, as well as reach out to the community with volunteering opportunities. So if you’re looking for more ways to be productive and help other people out, this is where you can get the latest in the volunteering scene in the city.
Current members: Over 700 in three groups
Innovative Educators is a forum for educators, principals, and people working in the education industry. There are many interesting topics being talked about in the group, including 21st-Century teaching practices and educational theories put into action. At times, senior educators post queries and learning resources which promote inter-school collaboration and communication.
Beijing Writers’ Network
Current members: Over 210
Beijing Writers’ Network is a community of creative writers supporting each other with information on writing opportunities and collaborations, advice, and critique. Members of the group gather twice a month and senior writers and editors provide feedback on others’ literary pieces.
Blogging in Beijing
Current members: Over 130 (the majority of which are writers and bloggers)
Blogging in Beijing is a social network where bloggers in the city can share their articles with other bloggers and writers for comments, inspiration, and collaborations. First starting as an information sharing group, Blogging in Beijing has grown to become a forum that organizes social gatherings and lectures.
Beijing Book Swap
Current members: Around 70
Have you recently finished a book and looking for more hardbacks to satisfy your literary needs? Beijing Book Swap is a growing community of book lovers where they share recently finished books with other people. Members usually send the books through a courier.