Twitter’s Ascension in Japan
Jul 1, 2010
One of Asia’s great rapid growth stories in Social Media over recent months has been the Twitter’s ascension in Japan. This graphic, from a presentation delivered last week by Nielsen, shows Twitter passing even Mixi, one of Japan’s homegrown social networks.
The success of Twitter runs in stark contrast with other foreign Web 2.0 platforms. Less than 5 percent of Japan’s netizens are on Facebook (compared with more than 60 percent of US netizens); MySpace never broke through to more than 5 percent of the population while more than 35 percent of US netizens signed up, according to ComScore.
I have written about two cultural explanations previously:
Twitter actually means blog: One reason for the possible appeal of Twitter in Japan and Sina Weibo in China is how much can be expressed in 140 characters. Each character in Chinese and Japanese is equivalent to a word, making microblogs more like blogs.
Japanese like to blog anonymously: Or as Aki Akimoto put it to me, Blog Anonymously to Avoid Sushi. Interestingly, the translation of Twitter is “Mumble”.
Some other items on the Japan Twitter phenomenon from an Associated Press story:
- The proportion of Japanese Internet users who tweet (16.3 percent) now surpasses the ratio among Americans at (9.8 percent).
- Tweet examples: Retailer Tokyu Hands uses Twitter to answer queries; Uniqlo has used Twitter in marketing by setting up a virtual queue where people tweet with each other and get freebies; There is a hit TV show featuring characters that tweet; One Tokyo bar features a screen showing tweets along with World Cup games; Among the top Tweeters are pop idols, a former prime minister.
- Nearly 8 million tweets a day are written by Japanese, or about 12 percent of the global total, according to Twitter. Data from Tweet Sentiments, a web site that analyzes tweets, show Japanese are sometimes tweeting more frequently than Americans.