Ten years of blogging at David on Formosa

A decade is quite a long time in the relatively short history of the internet. So I thought it was worth noting that this blog’s first post, The Ugly Isle, was written on this day ten years ago. At that time Facebook was only a few weeks old and Twitter hadn’t even been thought of. The internet has certainly changed and in some respects blogging has been overtaken by shorter, faster and more networked forms of online publishing.

I have put a lot of time and effort into creating content for this blog over the years. It has been a valuable experience and it has given me many opportunities. It has helped me to connect with a great group of bloggers in Taiwan and also to engage with an even larger group of people that read this blog.

At the time I started the blog I was inspired and encouraged by Michael Turton who continues to set the standard as a prolific Taiwan blogger. There are a few others in the Taiwan blogging community that I would like to mention. Kudos to TC Lin who continues to write at what is probably Taiwan’s longest running blog. Fili did a lot to promote blogging in Taiwan through Taiwanderful and the Taiwan blog awards. MJ Klein did a great job promoting social activities for bloggers such as the legendary Blogtoberfest. Tim Maddog started off with a personal blog, managed the group blog Taiwan Matters and then built a large following on Twitter. It has also been great to see my friend and classmate Ben Goren channel his passion for and knowledge about Taiwan into an award winning blog.

I have moved on from Taiwan and this blog is only sporadically updated. I still have fond memories of being part a vibrant community of bloggers who recorded many of the exciting, weird and wonderful happenings on the island of Formosa. I also still appreciate the work of those who continue blogging and help me to keep up to date with what’s happening in Taiwan.

The battle for Taichung on social media

screenshot of Lin Chia-lun's Facebook page

Taichung is a key battleground in Taiwan’s local elections. Overall victory or defeat in the elections is likely to be judged on who wins the mayoral race in Taichung. Both major parties have a realistic chance of winning what is likely to be a close contest. Hence, they will be investing a great deal in their campaigns.

The closeness of the contest in Taichung makes it an ideal site for analysing and comparing the campaign strategies of the two major parties. In this post I have done some basic analysis of how the two mayoral candidates are using social media to get their message out to voters.

The battle for Taichung sees incumbent mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) competing against Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). These two candidates also contested the election for Taichung Mayor in 2005 with Hu the victor on that occasion.

Jason Hu has been Mayor of Taichung for thirteen years now, nine as Mayor of Taichung City and the past four as the Mayor of Taichung Municipality. Hu is also a Vice-Chairman of the KMT and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Lin Chia-lung was the Legislator for Taichung No. 6 District until he resigned shortly before the election. He has previously served as  Director of the Government Information Office and Secretary-General of the DPP. Continue reading “The battle for Taichung on social media”

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 “DPP beats KMT in social media campaign”

Hsiao Bi-Khim on the election campaign

Taiwanese politician Hsiao Bi-khimKlaus Bardenhagen, a German reporter based in Taiwan, interviewed Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) Department of International Affairs, in Banqiao yesterday. He kindly provided me with a copy of the interview for use on this blog. In the interview Hsiao talks about the current election campaign and the the development of democracy in Taiwan.

I recently noted how the DPP was actively encouraging youth to vote. Hsiao explained, “Young people, according to polls, favour our party over the others by a two to one margin which is very good. Unfortunately the young people are not reliable because their voter turnout is low. Only about 30% of the young people come out to vote. So we really want to increase the voter turnout among younger people.” Continue reading “Hsiao Bi-Khim on the election campaign”

Taiwan's English-language media gets more digital

Taiwan News cover

This week saw two significant changes to Taiwan’s English-language newspapers. The first was the announcement by the Taiwan News on Tuesday that it would cease publishing a print edition and only be available online.

The paper, established in 1949 as the China News, changed its name to Taiwan News after it was purchased by the I-Mei Corporation in 1999. In January 2008 it changed from a broadsheet to a tabloid format. The final issue was published today. Here’s a quote from the Taiwan News’ own report:

During a press conference yesterday, Taiwan News President Jack Wong announced that the 62-year old newspaper is going digital.

“The unthinkable is finally upon us,” said Wong. “On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Taiwan News will launch the previously impossible integration of text, color images, and sound in a digital multimedia format. It will be the world’s first and log-on is for free.”

In response to the recent global trend toward digital publishing, Taiwan News has switched to an all-online format. “The whole world will witness an electronic newspaper that leaves all others behind in its digital technology and multi-media capabilities,” added Wong.

Continue reading “Taiwan's English-language media gets more digital”

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 “Politics and social media in Taiwan”