Social Media and Japan

            Social media reaches far beyond America connecting people all across the globe.  As a freshman at UNT, I did the normal freshman thing and lived in a dorm. I live about six hours away so I did not know anyone coming here… this lead to a completely random roommate. As it turned out, I got paired to live with a foreign exchange roommate from Osaka, Japan. She was here to learn English so communication for us was difficult in the beginning. As the first couple weeks went on, I noticed things in her daily routine were completely different then mine. The way she dressed and the food she ate were so different then what I was used to. The way she communicated with her friends and family back home were different to. I asked her what site she was using to keep in touch. She was using the website Mixi.

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Mixi is just one of the social networking sites used in Japan. Starting in 2004, the focus is of the website is community entertainment aka… meeting new people based on common interests. To register for the site, you need a valid Japanese phone number. This limits anyone who is not a resident of Japan. MyMixi or “maimiku” for short means friend or buddy. The typical myMixi user is only allowed up to a thousand friends while the website even includes celebrities accounts, who can surpass this 1000 friend limit. Mixi also includes user reviews as well. Users on the website can rate and write reviews for different products such as books and electronics, from there they can click on the product and be taken to the direct Amazon page.  Another unique thing about this social networking site is that it gives you the option to blog. The blogs are free up til 100MB of space but you are able to buy more space for 300 yen per month which is about three dollars and two cents dollar wise.  Later the website launched their equivalent program of MySpace Music. You could download the “Mixi Station” and let it track your listening habits in the Windows Media Player or iTunes. This information gets uploaded making it accessible to the public. From there you can browse through all the tracks your friends are listening to and even buy them on iTunes. One con that Mixi has is its lack of customization, unlike MySpace and Twitter, you cannot make your page your own. One pro to the website is that it has more internal revenue streams. Today the website is set to be sold with its founder Kenji Kasahara, looking to offload his fifty-five percent stake in the company. Mixi currently has fifteen million monthly users, making it number one, but Facebook has recently started to challenge this. I, personally, just took the liberty and deleted my Facebook seeing as that I don’t use it anymore. My social media of choice is Twitter seeing how it has quickly grown over the past couple of years. I have no doubt that one-day Twitter will take over the number one spot in social networking sites.  

 

Do you think Mixi will continue to stay a strong dominant social networking site in Japan or is Facebook too strong of a force to be reckoned with?

 

Do you think social networking sites will continue to dominant each other in an endless cycle?

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