Thursday, October 15, 2009

No More Happy Farmers in Taiwan

Screenshot of the homepage of the "Happy Farm" application
on Facebook
. "The Happiest Farm on Facebook"

If you're Taiwanese and you're on Facebook, it's likely you either play or have seen "Happy Farm," "Farmville," "Restaurant City," or some other similar variant of these game applications featured on Facebook, especially in your 'news feed'. I guess it finally took a toll on the work efficiency in Taiwan, as the games have now been banned at work (for those that are civil servants).

It's quite a phenomenon, seeing the entire country (pretty much) play that game. It had become so popular in Taiwan, that there are Facebook groups devoted to having "free" friends to add to their Facebook account so that they can obtain more items in the games. Groups such as these, "♥ RESTAURANT CITY ♥ "ADD ME"" and "台灣美版餐廳Restaurant City討論區" are mostly filled with players from Taiwan, and as you see in the second one, a group specific to Taiwan.

In my view, a large percentage of Taiwanese have flocked to Facebook for these specific applications, as they provide a lot more entertainment and things to do (while at work?) than previous social networking sites that Taiwanese were used to before, such as Wretch (無名). Less than a year ago, a lot of my friends in Taiwan (locals) had never heard of Facebook, and now, I think I am connected with 70-80% of those friends that I've met in the past via Facebook. Facebook looks like it has got a solid ground to start from in Taiwan, barring any more punishment from above for using Facebook.

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