Twitter Rival Wins Over Popular Taiwanese Politician

Plurk, a rival to Twitter that offers Chinese-language mini-blogging, has won an unlikely promoter in former Taiwanese presidential candidate Frank Hsieh. The runner-up in last year's Taiwan election launched a new book on Thursday titled "Frank's Plurk Diary."

"When I discovered Plurk, I found I loved to do it," said Hsieh, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan, the major opposition party.

Hsieh noticed young people on his staff using Plurk in April and gave it a try, said Amanda Liu, a member of his staff. He saw how easy Plurk was to use and has been addicted ever since.

"It's a great way for him to connect with young people," she said.

During the launch event, Hsieh sent out messages over Plurk and asked people to sign up on his page. Hsieh also has a Twitter account, where he cuts and pastes Plurk messages to send out to his 91 followers. He has over 11,400 friends on Plurk, and an additional 3,500 fans.

The book is also part of Hsieh's efforts to remain in the political spotlight and attract people to his other Web initiatives, including his blog and political Web site.

The co-author of the book said she helped compile it and write chapters inside because she's also a Plurk fan. "Part of the reason I wrote this book was to teach people how to use Plurk," said Yang Hui-ru.

One drawback to growth for Twitter in Taiwan and China is the lack of Chinese language service. Plurk offers a user interface and writing in Chinese as well as English and dozens of other languages.

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