Note — May 26, 2019

Bullet Time

Seen in → No.81

Source →

Fascinating dive into the bullet comments culture in China, “an invasive species from Japan,” which layers comments over video, each attached to a specific moment. Led by the Bilibili platform, they are now present in a plethora of other places and media. Also interesting for the quick history of Japanese “ACG”—animation, comics, and games—crossing over to China.

In the end, I had to watch the video twice, as I often do on the social video site Bilibili: once with the bullet comments turned off so that I could follow the source material, and once more for the real experience, the chitchat obscuring the content. […]

They represent the essence of Chinese internet culture: fast-paced and impish, playfully collaborative, thick with rapidly evolving inside jokes and memes. They are a social feature beloved by a generation known for being antisocial. And most importantly, they allow for a type of spontaneous, cumulative, and public conversation between strangers that is increasingly rare on the Chinese internet. […]

The invasive social feature can also be found in more unlikely places: apps for reading comics or streaming music, e-commerce platforms, even narrative cutscenes in the middle of popular mobile games. Bullet comments have become a ubiquitous social layer woven into any digital experience.

More: In Sentiers at Work No.3, I featured this fantastic piece by Connie Chan where you can learn more about those unique Chinese platforms and business models; Outgrowing Advertising: Multimodal Business Models as a Product Strategy.