DPP beats KMT in social media campaign

Screenshot of DPP website

In the lead up to the local elections in 2010 I wrote a post about the use of social media by politicians in Taiwan. I noted how the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was far more active online than its counterpart, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Screenshot of KMT website

I have gathered some data about the use of social media by the mayoral candidates in the five cities election (五都選舉) taking place on 27 November. All candidates are using several forms of online communication as part of their campaign. This includes websites, blogs, Plurk, YouTube, flickr and Facebook. Links to these sites are clearly shown on the front page of the KMT and DPP websites. This is shown in the two screenshots in this post.  Continue reading

Youth must speak out to protect internet freedom

I had a letter published in the Taipei Times today in response to two recent incidents where freedom of speech on the internet was threatened. I wrote an article on my posterous blog which gives some more background on the issue. The post also includes links to the Hu’s girls videos. Tim Maddog has written a post at Taiwan Matters! on freedom of speech issue. Michael Turton also has more on the issue and notes that the Data Protection Act which will come into effect next year may create further problems for internet users. My letter from the Taipei Times is below.

The Ministry of Education’s attempt to interfere with political discussion on the PTT Internet forum (“Notice to Ministry sparks outrage,” Nov. 4, page 1) marks yet another attack on free speech by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.

This comes just after an Internet user faced threats of legal action for producing a spoof version of the “Hu’s girls” promotional video for the campaign of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), the KMT candidate for the Greater Taichung mayoral election (“Prosecutors say no suit against altered Hu video,” Nov. 3, page 3). Continue reading

Politics and social media in Taiwan


With local elections approaching the campaign is not just being run on the streets but also in cyberspace. The screen shot from the DPP website above shows the party’s candidates for mayor or county commissioner in the end of year local government elections. Beneath each candidate’s photo there are icons linking to Plurk, Facebook, blogs, websites and YouTube. It shows that candidates are actively using social media as tools in their campaign.

A number of leading DPP politicians including Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) are active users of Plurk. Frank Hsieh has just published a book called “Frank’s Plurk Diary”. He began using Plurk in April this year and now has 11,447 friends and 3,519 fans. Plurk is currently much more popular than Twitter in Taiwan because it has a Chinese-language option. Continue reading

YouTube, Taiwan and A-bian

Video sharing website YouTube yesterday launched a Taiwan version of its site. The Taiwan News reports:

The internationally popular Web site YouTube yesterday launched a local site "YouTube Taiwan" with a Chinese-language interface, in a bid to encourage more Taiwan users to share their video clips, not only with Chinese-language Web surfers, but also with others around the globe.

Steve Chen (陳士駿), one of YouTube's co-founders is Taiwanese. YouTube was launched in February 2005 and rapidly became popular. It was acquired by Google in October 2006 for US$1.65 billion. 

To coincide with the launch President Chen Shui-bian has his own YouTube channel (English version). From the President's website:


The President's YouTube channel can let you get close to some of the President's daily activities. Get to know another side of President A-bian, get on the internet and take a look.  [English translation by David]

President Chen also celebrated the sixth anniversary of his electronic newsletter. The Taipei Times reports:

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) weekly electronic newsletter celebrated its sixth year yesterday and a series of short films featuring the president were posted on Taiwan's YouTube to coincide with the launch of the video sharing Web site yesterday. The A-bian e-newsletter, with weekly updates on Thursday, has published 314 entries since its inauguration on Oct. 18, 2001, and has 123,000 subscribers.

A website of culture

screenshot of culture.tw website

Today I discovered a new website, Taiwan Culture Portal, via an article in the Taipei Times.

With Taiwan's established English-language media outlets behind the Internet/multimedia curve, it's up to a new Web site run from a small office in Taipei's Central News Agency (CNA) building to lead the way.

Culture.tw, which is funded by the Executive Yuan's Council of Cultural Affairs and run by CNA, aims to be the main Internet portal for English speakers around the world who are interested in Taiwanese culture, arts and entertainment.

A quick browse through the website reveals a great selection of articles on topics ranging from architecture to pop music. It also includes a good links and events section. This site will only get better as it adds more content. Definitely add it to your bookmarks. 

The www, tw and me

I can’t remember when I first became aware of the internet, but I started actively using it in 1997. The internet was a very different place back then. There was no Google (imagine that!) and none of the rich audio-visual content that is now available.

Still, back then it was an excellent place to find up-to-date and useful information on many topics. One of those topics was teaching English and studying Chinese in Taiwan and China. Before I first came to Taiwan in 1999 I spent a lot of time searching for information about this.

Most of the websites I visited back then have long since disappeared. This was a time before blogs were popular and one of the most common means of personal expression and communication back then was the personal website.

There were a number of good websites by English teachers living in Taiwan in the late 1990s. I am not sure if Michael Turton’s website dates back that far although it is similar in style to some of the sites that existed at that time. His site is still the best source of information about teaching English and living in Taiwan. Michael has a rather good blog, too.

It is possible to rediscover a few of these websites via the Wayback Machine. Here is a link to Chris Murphy’s Horizon English Services as it looked in April 2000. Here is a link to another teaching in Taiwan website that I used to like and has now disappeared from the world wide web.

I first created my own personal website at Geocities in 2000. It contained a mixed bag of information and included a couple of pages about Taiwan. That website is still on the net. It now has a back to basics HTML design although it used to be more colorful.

When I was in Taiwan in 2002 I created a new website, David’s Guide to Taiwan. The website was initially fairly simple, but it expanded a lot over the next few years. It continues to get quite a few hits (more than this blog in fact).

I started blogging in June 2004. My first blog, David Reid on the Road, was created to chronicle my travels in Australia, India and Thailand. I started David on Formosa in February 2004. Although I wasn’t living in Taiwan at the time I still took an active interest in news from Taiwan. I also felt constrained by the design of David’s Guide to Taiwan and a blog allowed me to write on a wider range of topics and instantly publish.

Since I returned to Taiwan earlier this year I have been posting more regularly on my blog and traffic has increased from about ten hits up to forty hits per day. Although I have also made some updates to David’s Guide to Taiwan I feel that website is a little neglected. Some of the content needs still needs to be rewritten and updated and the design of the site is very 1990s (ancient in internet terms).

An e-mail from FiLi asking me a few questions about my blog prompted me to take the initiative to do something I had long been thinking about. I purchased a new hosting package and domain name and started working on moving the blog to WordPress. The move took place last weekend and went very smoothly. Thanks again to FiLi for his help and advice.

I felt a bit frustrated using Blogger. Although it is free and very easy to use, there is a lack of control and ownership. WordPress allows much more customisation and is a more powerful information management system.

Moving the blog is just the first step. I am now planning a new site to replace David’s Guide to Taiwan. I still haven’t decided on the exact format, but it will probably use a php-based open source CMS like Joomla or PHP-Nuke. Like the blog on WordPress, I hope the new website will be easier to update and manage and provide a richer experience for the reader.

The new website will adapt some content from the blog and David’s Guide to Taiwan as well as having some new information. Although it is still in the planning stages I hope it will be finished by the end of the year.