Why Japanese Online Users Do Not Click “Like” Facebook?

Mixi, No.1 Social Networking Website in Japan With More Than 20 Million Users.

Mixi, No.1 Social Networking Website in Japan With More Than 20 Million Users.

A study from Stanford University suggests that persuasive styles of Facebook (from the U.S.) and Mixi (from Japan) reflect culture differences of the two nations. This critique paper argues that persuasive design elements of both websites are similar (or mostly the same). The key difference between the two sites is the view of users’ identities in American and Japanese cultures.

In a survey of 2,130 Japanese mobile Web users, 89 percent of respondents said they are reluctant to disclose their real names on the Web. Mixi’s users are not encouraged to reveal their identities or even their profile pictures. A large number of Japanese users in Mixi use animals, toys, or celebrities as their profile pictures.

In addition, a 2010 survey by Microsoft points out that more than half of Japanese respondents said that no one in the friend list of their SNSs was a close friend.

This is an evidence to support why Japanese online users prefer Mixi, a SNS website that does not encourage its users to reveal their real identities.


About bankcolumbia

Graduate Student . M.A. Instructional Technology and Media . Teachers College . Columbia University . ac3344@columbia.edu View all posts by bankcolumbia

7 responses to “Why Japanese Online Users Do Not Click “Like” Facebook?

  • Christine Hoyt

    Great presentation Bank! Even though Facebook is used around the world it still, like you said, “reflects American culture”. It is not surprising that individual countries would develop their own versions of social networking sites, that are more in line with their cultural preferences. Like you said, on Mixi more people choose to post photos of animals or toys, instead of photos of themselves-they are more protective of their identity.

    I am sure there have been studies done on how Americans have become less protective of their privacy, with the advent of FB, Twitter, and the geo-social check-ins that Keith was talking about.

    Funny, it was only ten years ago that we were all enraged that the US Patriot Act was a violation of our privacy. Now, it seems, we do the violating ourselves, and by choice!

  • marialarahwang

    That is such an interesting post Christine! You are right…we are letting people enter our lives BY CHOICE! And we love it when people pry just the right amount.

  • Keith Kaplan

    I thought this was a great presentation because it showed cultural differences in digital media. It must say something about Japanese culture, that instead of using personal photos for their Mixi profile, they use animals and toys. Maybe it can say that in America we have a tendency to personal brand ourselves more and try to distinguish our own identity (that is since we are a more individualistic culture as opposed to a collectivist).

  • marialarahwang

    I wrote this on Yuewen’s post and thought it was relevant to your study as well…

    Interesting article Yuewen!

    Coming from Korea I also found FB interesting compared to other prevalent SNS in other countries. RenRen for China, Mixi for Japan and CyWorld for Korea. They all had amazing features and affordances that FB initially did not have a LONG time before FB was even created. And yet, FB is the only one that took off globally though many features of it is very, very U.S. culture based as Bank also mentioned in his presentation. It is food for thought, isn’t it?

  • Jennifer Yuewen Jiang

    Great Presentation Bank!
    It makes sense to me why Mixi is more popular in Japan than Facebook. Language and identity are the first issue, right? Mixi is in Janpanese, and have more friends from the same country, which provides people with the sense of belonging.
    Even though Facebook is banned in China, I have no doubt Renren would still have more popularity than Facebook in China if it’s available.

  • Songlak Svasti

    Nice work Bank, you were great out there! 🙂
    After listening to your presentation I get the sense why FB is not popular in Japan. I also agree that there is a big cultural difference and too many unspoken rules in Japanese cyberspace. But i guess Japanese should get over the using your real name part because a lot of us on FB is not using real names.

  • curiousstuff

    Bank before your presentation i didn’t know about Mixi. Googling Mixi I found out that it requires a valid Japanese cellphone number for registration, which I thought was interesting. That alone could create a sense of security. It also prevents people who are not a resident of Japan from entering the network. Although I don’t know much about Mixi, in terms of security and privacy it sounds like a better designed social network compared to many others out there. (pinar)

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