Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/19/boris_weibo/

Mayor Boris' Chinese vote master stroke backfires on twit clone

Making as much sense on Weibo as he does in Blighty

By Bill Ray

Posted in Networks, 19th April 2012 12:42 GMT

Bouffant-topped bigwig Boris Johnson hopes to ingratiate himself with the capital's Chinese community by climbing aboard Twitter-clone Sina Weibo - although putting the same yattering on both is just silly.

But that's not stopped the Mayor of London from copying randomly selected Twitter posts directly into his Sina Weibo account, failing to notice that Sina Weibo posts use pairs of marks for hashtags, have different users and, mostly, are in Chinese, as noted by The Daily Dot.

Cross-posted content includes replies to tweets, which make no sense at all as they reference people and conversations which aren't available on Sina Weibo, leaving readers confused even if they thought they understood English.

"Hey old man, can you speak a little Chinese? We're Chinese people on Chinese soil," responds one Sina Weibo punter, in Chinese of course.

Boris (or, more likely, his mayoral election team) has managed a few posts in Chinese, although restricted to the dullest of electioneering:

"Transport investment is the most important part of the nine-point plan I’ve developed for the Greater London region," he wrote. "By 2015 I will have reduced tube delays by 30 percent, and the suburbs and subway system will be connected by the new Central London Railway that’s under construction around the City of London area; plus the bike rental program will be expanded" - with thanks to Tech In Asia for the translation.

Boris is no doubt trying to appeal to the 400,000 Chinese speakers in the UK, a significant proportion of whom will be voting in a fortnight for the next London Mayor. Despite posting content which veers between nonsensical and surreal he's still accumulated more than 80,000 followers (or "fans" as Sina Weibo calls them).

How many of them are potential voters El Reg doesn't know - Sina Weibo has been surprisingly lax in enforcing the mandated real-name regulations, so far at least.

Thinking he could simply repost Twitter entries onto Sina Weibo demonstrates a lack of familiarity with either platform. One might suggest that a half-arsed approach is still a cunning strategy to make election rival Ken Livingstone look less Chinese-friendly, to which we can only respond with Ian Hislop's famous quip: "People always ask me the same question, 'Is Boris a very, very clever man pretending to be an idiot?' And I always say, 'No.'" ®