Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan.

November 8th, 2007 by

For better understanding of cultural influence on social networks I choose to focus on a country with somewhat extreme cultural influence- Japan. Japan is one of the most developed countries to show presence in the blogsphere. In terms of blog posts by language, Japanese generate 37% of all posts (where English takes only 36% of them all).
Japan, which is the leading country on the blogsphere, is far behind when it comes to social networks. In IPsos report Japan seems to maintain a relative low frequency of visitation to social networking websites. (see graph 1 – only 9% visited a SN in the last 30 days, 13% in more than 30 days).

goo Research (via whatjapanthinks) published a survey which provides another evidence: about 63% of the survey respondents using social networks sites never added another person to a social network!
As some of you may know, mixi (the largest social network in Japan, attracting 11.1 million people) is a social network with an “invitation only” participation. That been said, I wonder what potential spread this platform holds when the majority of participants are reluctant to add new friends). 

Does it say much about Japanese difficulties to socially interact with others? Probably it does. Blogs, unlike social networks, are individual communication platforms. In blogs, Japanese feel free to express themselves and are not committed to initiate any social interactions. The current form of open social networks is probably not fit to hold the Japanese social behavior. No wonder a new Japanese version of Second Life (Meet-Me) is predicted to be a success.  

 What can we learn about Japanese online users? What can explain their barrier to add new friends? Is it that they wish to be kept as a close community? or is it that cultural restrains as shyness to reach out, or a respect towards other’s privacy, bring them to withdraw from adding new friends?

tt twitter Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Tweet This Post tt plurk Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Plurk This Post tt buzz Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Buzz This Post tt delicious Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Delicious tt digg Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Digg This Post tt ping Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Ping This Post tt reddit Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Reddit tt su Is mixi an open community? Social networking in Japan. Stumble This Post

7 Responses

  1. Andreas Bovens Says:

    > In IPsos report Japan seems to maintain a relative low frequency of visitation to social networking websites.

    Results at http://whatjapanthinks.com/2006/06/25/most-japanese-sns-users-log-in-every-day/ suggest a different picture. From my personal experience, SNS are very much alive in Japan.

    >about 63% of the survey respondents using social networks sites never added another person to a social network!

    Is this so exceptional? As these invitation-only services work a bit like a piramid scheme, it is not surprising most users haven’t invited other people to join. It wouldn’t surprise me if we’d see the same kind of numbers outside of Japan. So “Does it say much about Japanese difficulties to socially interact with others?” I don’t think so.

    > Blogs, unlike social networks, are individual communication platforms. In blogs, Japanese feel free to express themselves and are not committed to initiate any social interactions.

    Hmm? Blogs have comments, and are therefore definitely social.

    > The current form of open social networks is probably not fit to hold the Japanese social behavior.

    What do you mean with “open”? A non-invitation based network? YouTube is such a network (not 100% SNS of course, but with clear networking features), and is one of the only non-Japanese websites that is a big success in Japan. This is just to say that open and uncontrolled can definitely be a success in Japan.

  2. talyweiss Says:

    Thank you Andreas.
    I think SN in Japan can be much more developed.
    When you realize the success of blogging among Japanese you would expect the same group to be active in SN as well.
    I was trying to find statistics for those who do -don’t “add new friends” from other social networks sites. I couldn’t find any report I can use.

    Blogs – versus SN – no need to argue which is more socially binding…
    Best, Taly

  3. 2007 TrendsSpotting Trend Review Says:

    [...] Dual Facebook /MySpace users spent 26 % more time on Facebook (93 minutes per month ) – than did the average Facebook-only users (74 minutes). 7. Country of the year : The flutter of a butterfly’s wings in China could, in fact, actually effect weather patterns in New York City, thousands of miles away : The Butterfly Effect. Remembering that Japan, the leading country to blog (!) and the one to promise a replacement for the internet , be it Japan’s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s recent visit to china or 2008 Beijing Olympics or its burgeoning internet population that will soon overtake US ,the Asian dragon seems fiery. The United states ,China , and Japan are the 3 top guns in today’s internet graph (see graph). Going by blog citations our discussions seemed real hot. [...]

  4. Hydrangea Says:

    I remember my Japanese teacher saying once that because the Japanese people lived for so many years in the past by themselves without such severe foreign influence that a feeling of comfort remaining within that closed-off atmosphere still prevails today. Many, of course not everyone, would rather interact with Japanese people and give gaijin the snub. That could very well help to explain why there may be a reluctance by Jap. people to expand their social network on Mixi. I don’t know. Or it could be individual choice. Or who knows? Maybe it’s about safety, like how facebook prevents you from seeing other people’s profile unless you’re already their friend. I’m just glad I live in the Caribbean where everybody is so mix up mix up that the typical person isn’t just white or black or asian but the mix is the majority and the culmination of cultures is celebrated, not rejected. ^_^ Of course, not EVERYONE is so friendly with all, but I think the prevailing Caribbean feeling about diversity is positive.

  5. Reed Greenfield Says:

    I would like to know if someone can give me a hand on Promoting my Superhero Zbladexx in Japan?

  6. abercrombie Says:

    Usually the phrase “fastest hands and fingers initial practically compatible the best band of people flow over buying device in the case of the famous together with increased movement Low-cost abercrombie sale Garments.

  7. burberry uk Says:

    upgrade on a buyer wishing to purchase level of quality Any & F ree p apparel during sizeable amount of money discounted charge.
    burberry uk sale.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Real Time Web Analytics