Have you ever wondered why Thais don’t use globally trending apps like WhatsApp or WeChat? There are over 44 million active internet users in Thailand and if you ask them what app they use for messaging, almost all of them will say “LINE”. Why is LINE so popular with Thais? A big reason is the adorable and funny stickers. They make LINE a perfect tool for communication in Thai culture.
Thailand has always had a high-context culture, where non-verbal cues are just as important as the literal meaning of a spoken message. In a Thai conversation, a simple nod can mean a lot more than just, “Yes”. It can mean “I agree”, “I understand”, or even, “I feel great sympathy for you”.
The society’s low masculinity index and high power distance also have a strong effect on the way Thais communicate. These factors not only affect the way Thai people talk, but also the way they text.
Feminine society: It’s all about “Greng Jai” (Being considerate)
Thais are generally less assertive and less competitive than people in countries with high masculinity indexes. Most of the time, Thais are content to follow the majority. ‘Non-conformist’ is not a label that most Thais would want to have.
Communication in Thailand is all about avoiding being too direct so as not to offend others. One of the worst things you can do to a Thai person is to humiliate them in front of a group.
For example, if someone presents an unpopular idea in a work-related group chat on LINE, a direct response like “No, that won’t work” would be extremely unlikely. Instead, coworkers will try to be indirect by proposing a better idea or by, you guessed it, sending a sticker. This helps make the reply less confrontational.
Respect is crucial
Thai society has a high power distance. There are many unspoken rules based on social hierarchy.
One of the very first things Thais learn is to be respectful to others. They are taught to speak in a soft and polite tone of voice and always end sentences with a “krub” or “ka” when addressing elders or people of a higher social position.
When it comes to texting in Thai society, cute stickers can always come in handy as they can help end a conversation in a less awkward manner. A sticker can be an excellent tension breaker, or even a visual version of a “krub” or a “ka”.
Social dynamics are not the only explanations for Thailand’s sticker obsession. Thais just simply love anything that is cute, or “kawaii” in Japanese. This is because Thai culture is heavily influenced by Japanese and Korean cultures, especially when it comes to cute cartoons.
Stickers can also help people express certain emotions that can’t easily be expressed by plain text.
Unlike emojis, stickers are created by visual artists, who either work for LINE or independently. LINE users have access to a plethora of stickers with many different artistic styles. They’re a great way to add life and color to a conversation, making them more interactive and entertaining.
A maze of a keyboard
The Thai language has 44 consonant symbols, four tone diacritics, and 15 vowel symbols that can be combined into over 28 vowel forms! “How do they all fit onto one keyboard?” you might be wondering. Well, that’s exactly why it’s easier for Thais to simply use stickers. Since the Thai language doesn’t have capital letters, the “Shift” button is used to access the other half of the alphabet, meaning that typing Thai requires constantly switching the keyboard layout.
Growing your brand’s presence on LINE
Among many other interesting features, LINE BCRM allows businesses to send personalized messages to their customers on LINE. And for Thai customers, stickers are outstanding attention-grabbers.
To learn more about all the exciting marketing opportunities available on LINE, contact Lexicon today.