10 Weirdest Groups on Chinese Social Media Platform Douban

10 Weirdest Groups on Chinese Social Media Platform Douban

From subway lovers to mushroom impersonators, we’ve rounded up 10 of the quirkiest Douban community groups for your browsing enjoyment

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Beatrice Tamagno Headshot
12:25 AM HKT, Thu June 16, 2022 3 mins read

Zeros and Ones is a regular series where we explore how technology and the internet impact everyday people’s lives in China and beyond. This month we’re listing 10 absolutely bizarre and wonderful online communities on the popular Chinese social media platform Douban.

Unless you spend long hours browsing Chinese social media, you’ve probably not heard of Douban and its ecosystem of unique community groups. The user-review platform has been dubbed the social network for Chinese hipsters and has been compared to Reddit, but it also boasts review features, not unlike IMDb’s.

Aside from rating and reviewing movies, TV series, and books, joining various themed subgroups, xiaozu (小组), is arguably Douban’s most popular feature. After all, more and more netizens are seeking a sense of community and belonging in this digital era, which can be isolating.

Inevitably, things can get really weird on social media, and Douban is no different. Here are some of the quirkiest (and most enjoyable) communities we have discovered there:

1. We All Have Rotten Teeth

If you thought you were a hypochondriac, wait till you meet the 41,000 teeth-obsessed worrywarts in this group and view their posts about oral cavity troubles. Established in 2006, ‘We All Have Rotten Teeth’ is packed with gag-inducing pictures of rotten teeth and X-rays you pray never to receive.

Dental x-ray

Image via Depositphotos

While we suppose that some out there enjoy gawking at others’ oral hygiene woes, we warn you: This group is not for the faint of heart — or stomach.

2. Milkteaholics Anonymous

Milk tea has almost become the national drink in China with its thousands of varieties and immense popularity among young consumers. But if you’re worried about the state of your teeth due to too much bubble tea consumption (and don’t want to end up a member of the first group on this list), then the ‘Milkteaholics Anonymous’ group is for you.

yummy, bubble tea

Yum, milk bubble tea with tapioca pearls! Image via Depositphotos

Here, almost 2,000 members share their milk-tea-addiction recovery journeys and encourage each other to stay away from the sugary beverage. One way for recovering milk tea fanatics to demonstrate their strength and determination is to share green tea emojis with other group members. (Presumably, green tea is the preferred crutch when kicking the milk tea habit…)

3. Wet Market Lovers

Don’t get scared away by wet markets. Regardless of whether or not the Wuhan market was the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, most wet markets in China do not have wild animals.

Instead, these venues are the go-to spot for many people in China to procure groceries — ranging from veggies and tropical fruits to fresh fish, poultry, pork, and beef.

douban chinese social media

A vegetable market in Hong Kong. Image via Unsplash

However, as online shopping and food delivery services become more accessible and convenient, China’s wet markets are disappearing, especially in big cities.

Wet market fans have amassed in a Douban group with more than 144,000 market lovers to document their favorite markets and lament the loss of venues that have gone the way of the Dodo.

Members also share stories about their local markets, and some even try to map out all the best ones in their cities.

4. Bone Fracture Gang

As the name suggests, this 2,500-member group has gathered online for a rather unfortunate reason: to discuss broken bones. Most of them share their recovery journey, while others post questions such as “Is this a bone fracture?” or “Is it true that you get fat when you break a bone?”

5. Subway Culture Aficionados

China boasts the world’s most extensive subway network, with many cities hosting more than 20 metro lines and millions of passengers daily. Some Chinese youth have developed a keen passion for subways and — you guessed it — formed a Douban group to share details from their daily rides.

Some expats in the nearly 6,000-member group also photograph and share images of overseas metro systems.

For members of this unique online community, the subway is not only a means of transportation but rather the emblem of urban life and, ultimately, a place to appreciate and enjoy.

6. My Appendix Has Left Me

Another venue for anatomy-related mourning, this group offers both psychological and logistic support to those who had or are about to get their appendix removed.

Though the group was created in 2007 and only has 600 members, it remains relatively active. While many ask about surgery details and the recovery process, some use the space to publicly wonder if they’ll be able to keep their appendix after it’s surgically removed (yikes!).

7. We All Have Hair Salon-Phobia

Getting a haircut can be a traumatizing experience. You go into a hair salon with complete confidence, but you can never really be sure how you may look when you walk out the door. This 894-member group is for those who would rather give themselves a haircut than deal with the stress of haggling with a hairstylist.

No one wants to go to the hairdresser and come out looking like this lion in the Guangzhou Zoo, which went viral after sporting a rather unfashionable mullet. Image via Weibo

No one wants to go to the hairdresser and come out looking like this lion at the Guangzhou Zoo, which went viral after sporting a rather unfashionable mullet. Image via Weibo

8. Aliens on Earth

Yes, you read that correctly: members of this group claim to have extraterrestrial origins! While social media doesn’t seem like an ideal venue for aliens to reunite, the group is an eclectic mix of conspiracy theories and paranormal journeys. Some of the 4,253 members even complain that they “don’t feel at home on Earth.” Us too, alien friends, us too.

9. Let’s Pretend We Are Mushrooms

Unquestionably one of the more bizarre Douban subgroups on this list, this 13,700-member online community is populated by web users pretending to be mushrooms. As such, discussing human-related matters is very much frowned upon.

douban social media mushroom

A ‘selfie’ posted by a new member. Image via Douban

douban social media mushroom

Creepy mushroom-head dolls. Image via Douban

One of the most popular threads is an angry one, “Why do humans like to eat us?!” Others simply serve as a self-introduction, such as “I am a blue mushroom, who wants to be my friend? No humans, please.”

10. I Want To Turn the AC On

While some hate air conditioning blowing through the room, others can’t live without it. This group welcomes the rants of its AC lovers, who appear to be in a state of permanent war against their roommates, family members, and colleagues. The reason? A sudden disappearance of the AC remote.

These are only some of the hilarious communities we found on Douban. If this wasn’t enough to convince you to dive into Chinese social media and hunt for hidden treasures, well, we don’t know what will.

Cover image via Haedi Yue

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