Described as "a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter," Weibo is among the most popular social sites in China. There are over 600 million users worldwide, with 440,000 of them residing in California, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
Nearly two years ago, the Alhambra Police Department became the first US agency to adopt Weibo. This action stemmed from a Source article in which Siye Walter Ma, a community contributor, suggested Weibo as a way for policy makers to engage Chinese residents. Alhambra Police Chief Mark Yokoyama read the article and began working with Ma and the Source in developing a Weibo account for the police department. The campaign was the beginning of a movement; police departments in Arcadia, San Leandro, and Waterloo, Canada soon created their own accounts.
After setting up its Weibo, the APD saw a 60 percent increase in the number of service calls that required a Chinese translation, reports the Los Angeles Times.