Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Wretch offers mini-blog in Chinese

COMPLAIN AWAY While Twitter.com offers a similar service, Wretch’s new function is the first to allow users to communicate with each other in Chinese

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wretch Co (無名小站), a subsidiary of Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩), introduced a new mini-blogging function on its social networking Web site yesterday.

Called Digu (嘀咕) — or “complaining” — the service allows users to write up to 140 Chinese characters to express their feelings or tell other users what they are doing. Digu is similar to Twitter.com, a US social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates.

But so far, Twitter can only handle Japanese and the Latin alphabet, while Digu can handle Chinese characters.

“We have reached a new communication milestone with the launch of Digu in the fourth quarter. Our goal this year at Wretch is to build a solid foundation for a social networking platform in Taiwan and I’m proud to say that we’ve achieved this goal,” Light Lin (林弘全), product team manager of Wretch, said at a media briefing yesterday.

In the first half of this year, Wretch focused on building members’ personal profiles and linking members through various associations.

The company says that its next step is to make Wretch an extension of its users’ lives, not just something in virtual reality.

“So far in Taiwan, the closest thing to Digu would be Microsoft Corp’s instant messenger service. But rather than sending short messages to a few selected friends, Digu allows you to reach everyone on Wretch,” Lin said.

In the past two weeks, 9,000 Wretch members were invited to participate in a closed beta testing for Digu service.

The company found that 2,000 members consistently used Digu and the average time spent on the service was more than 10 minutes a day.

Internal studies showed that 60 percent of the participants used Digu to talk to other members, while 25 percent of the users used it for rants.

Another 10 percent saw Digu as a public conversation with full anonymity.

“People who normally blog find Digu a great tool to jot down their fragmented inspirations; they don’t feel the pressure to write long, formal blogs every time they log on. Also, well-known bloggers on Wretch are able to reach out to followers through less formal routes like Digu,” Lin said.

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