Wed, May 09, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Taiwan Tourism Bureau in New York apologizes for social media fiasco

Director says texts, photos will be vetted before publication following criticism of misspelled words, grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies

By Chris Fuchs  /  Contributing Reporter in New York

Chang, of Tiger Party, said the editor responsible for that post had seen a news report in a different outlet than the one cited in the Tricky Taipei story.

“Because [the editor] didn’t actually verify this, it is indeed our mistake,” he said. “We corrected this part after that and deleted the post.”

CORRECTIVE MEASURES

Asked his opinion about whether a native speaker of English should be overseeing the social media posts, Chang said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Taiwanese, an ethnic Chinese person or an American ... the most important part is that it has to be correct, whether it’s spelling or grammar. This is the part that we need to strengthen and together correct.”

Wen said the tourism bureau has taken corrective measures in the wake of the controversy.

In the past, Wen said her office would primarily look at statistics associated with the social media platforms, such as the number of likes and followers, to gauge how well they were doing. The postings, she added, were skimmed through irregularly.

“In the future, whether handled in-house or outsourced, all of the posts and photographs will first be checked by our office,” Wen said. “After being approved, only then will they be posted.”

Asked in a follow-up e-mail whether she was concerned that the new measures may slow down the rate at which information is posted to social media, Wen said her “office will implement a review mechanism that will ensure the quality of the posts and, at the same time, the timeliness of the content.”

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

Tiger Party — whose contract, according to Wen, began on Aug. 22, 2017, and ends on May 31, 2018 — spearheaded several campaigns during that time for Taiwan’s tourism bureau in New York.

One in December involved a billboard set up in Times Square and another in Taipei that were linked via livestream. A YouTube video of the event, viewed more than 23,000 times, showed people at both locations making the shape of a heart with their hands, while viewing their counterparts on the big screen halfway around the world doing the same.

Another in April, also in Times Square, featured a virtual reality bike tour of Taiwan. Participants were able to mount a stationary bike and pedal through parts of the nation, according to a press release from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.

In addition, the Web site taiwantourism.guide provides directions for entering a contest to win a round-trip flight from New York City to Taiwan.

Chang, in a follow-up interview in English, said he believes the campaigns his company ran were very successful.

“In six months, we have a huge amount of followers,” he said, adding they amassed more than 150,000 likes across all social media platforms.

Asked in a follow-up e-mail why the tourism bureau hired Tiger Party, Wen, responding in Chinese, cited in part the company’s experience and its big screen interactive advertising technology.

She said that together with an electronic billboard in Times Square, an important landmark location with many tourists, they could carry out an interactive campaign that would expand the effectiveness of promoting Taiwan.

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