Mon, Feb 04, 2019 - Page 3 News List

KMT chairman Wu Den-yih to get Facebook makeover

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Five Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members born in the Year of the Pig hold up signs with auspicious sayings at a live-streamed news conference on Jan. 21 to welcome the Year of the Pig, which begins tomorrow.

Photo: Lin Liang-sheng, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has recruited personnel from an online news and media platform in an effort to create a stronger Internet presence in the lead-up to next year’s presidential election.

Former ETtoday senior director Cheng Mei-hua (程美華) on Thursday confirmed that she would head the KMT’s New Media Division.

She would help the party renew its image on the Internet, starting with KMT Chairperson Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) Facebook page, Cheng said, adding that the use of social media to “connect” with the public is the latest trend among Taiwanese politicians and government officials, with ministers and department directors launching live broadcasts or creating fan pages.

“Wu is the party’s chairperson. Through minute but progressive changes, the party wants to tell people that it intends to change and is working on it,” Cheng said.

The changes would include live broadcasts and short videos posted to Wu’s Facebook fan group, allowing him to interact and communicate with the public, and promote party policies, she said.

Cheng said she has enlisted professional help to help “soften” Wu’s image in an attempt to make him more approachable.

The profile picture on his fan page has been changed from a photograph to a cartoon-style drawing, she said.

Wu’s Achilles heel is that the majority of Internet users consider him too “stiff” and “uninteresting,” Cheng said, adding that she hopes to remake his online image into one more palatable to younger people.

Over the Lunar New Year holiday, the team would upload more “cute” images to broaden Wu’s base among younger voters, Cheng said.

Future promotion of policy proposals would also feature cartoons or animations, she said.

However, Wu’s new image would not be comic or make him an Internet celebrity, she said.

Live broadcasts would not involve other Internet broadcasters or show Wu buying snacks from roadside vendors, Cheng said in an apparent reference to a live broadcast by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Facebook on Jan. 17, which showed her buying food from a street stall in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area.

Due to personnel constraints and the popularity of Facebook, Cheng’s division would prioritize redesigning the KMT’s presence on the social media platform, even though it also has has plans to adjust the party’s Line and Instagram accounts, she added.

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