There are two main social media outlets in Taiwan, and they complement each other. There is one where the entire world uses, it’s Facebook. Pretty much everybody on Taiwan is on Facebook. There’s a projection like in a little bit more than 10 years, there may be more Taiwanese Facebook accounts than Taiwanese population, [laughs] because people have multiple accounts. There’s a lot of people on Facebook.
To complement Facebook, which is more like newspaper for the past-time, we have, also, the PTT which is an open-source bulletin board system. People wrote in a text-only way through SSH or through Telnet. That is to say it conserved the culture — when we back in 1991-1992 dialed up to those BBS with ANSI color and symbolic characters — everything is still preserved. You may think of it like a living fossil, but actually it still innovates all the time.
This is like Reddit for us, except people still use a character-based interface to exchange information. Of course, every PTT article also has a read-only Web copy. Some Web copies then become circulated very widely on Facebook.
In this view, Facebook is more like a second-degree system of discussion. The serious campaigners, they would registered accounts on PTT to distributed their ideas. On PTT there is no advertisement, there is no pictures, there is no cat videos, so people have to argue with the merits of ideas. Those were the two main systems.
Just last week, large numbers of people from the China’s LiYi TieBa web bulleting system, have visited the Taiwanese Facebook pages — they had to use VPN and a lot of ways to circumvent their great firewall. It was the first time of large-scale, like tens of thousands of people, visiting the Taiwanese Facebook to have a discussion on the China and Taiwan’s relationships.
On the other hand, they couldn’t actually go to PTT and post on the main board, because it’s much more exclusive and the threshold for posting is much higher.
So Facebook is like the extranet community, and the PTT bulletin board system are like the inner circles.