Social Media in Japan

Mt. Fuji

Mt. FujiI’m in Japan for a few weeks, mostly to see family and do some travelling. Last week my kids and I climbed the irreverent Mt. Fuji which was absolutely breathtaking (pun intended). I had climbed it many years ago with some friends. We did the midnight climb to watch the sunrise at the summit thing.  This time my kids and I took it easy, taking 2 days to climb, watch the sunset, sunrise, spend some time at the summit and make our way down slowly.  Much more fun.

Business in Japan

This week I’ve had a few business meetings and am now killing time until I attend the inaugural event for Japan. Although I’ve been working most days since we’ve been here – one of the many benefits of having an online business model – it feels good to be ‘doing’ business again; meeting with people and exploring opportunities. The best part is that contrary to what I had assumed, the social media scene here is not nearly as developed or mature as I thought it would be, which seems counter-intuitive to most as it sure was to me.

Riding the train I see 9/10 people on some sort of mobile device but it turns out many of them are playing games, using apps or watching videos etc. Twitter and Facebook usage has apparently only taken off in the last year or so. The big platform is Mixi which is a closed network and from what I’m hearing is going out of favour. Apparently it’s for ‘kids and house wives’. Seems to be going the way of the MySpace.

Do you LINE ? 

Line AppThe big craze is a platform called “Line“. LINE is a new social app which allows you to make free voice calls and send free Emoji messages. It reminds me a lot of Pheed but I think Line came out first. According to iTunes it has 190 millions users in 231 countries. Not sure if Canada is one of them as I hadn’t heard of Line before coming to Japan – have you heard of Line? If so, please let me know what you think and connect with me, my handle is “bwest”.

I downloaded it and have been using it a little on my iPhone with the few people that I have been able to connect with. The toughest part has been figuring out how to connect with people as that part is not so intuitive. Hopefully I’ll have a few more “Line Friends” after tonight’s Inbound event.

One interesting and encouraging development (since I’ve been sitting here in the cafe writing this) – I looked up the CEO of Line, Akira Morikawa, on LinkedIn and successfully connected with him  as a potential speaker for Social Media Camp 2014.  I love the speed that business moves at these days, especially in Japan. I may have to bring Chris W. back some Japanese language books… 😉 One thing is for sure, I will be spending more time here over the next couple of years. #SMCTokyo anyone…

Side Note: as I write this I’m sitting in a cafe on the 7th floor of the Hikarie Bldg in Shibya. I just finished an Energy Smoothie and what I can easily say was the best Chicken Burrito I have ever had – seriously – who knew. The sweet sounds of someone that sounds a lot like Sheryl Crow but isn’t, are playing and the place is buzzing with young Japanese people.

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3 thoughts on “Social Media in Japan”

  1. I follow some of the big names in Japanese #SoMe and it always amazes me that they are talking about stuff that we were doing 2 years ago. @YukariP can elaborate much more – but yes they are behind. I also heard that Facebook in Japan lost over 15 million users in the last 6 months, whereas Line is exploding. I’m on Line now too – been meaning to check it out – thanks for reminding me!

  2. Scott – where did you hear about FB losing 15M users in Japan? I’m curious about that as about 95% of the 30+ people I talked to at the Inbound Marketing event said they use FB daily. What’s your LINE handle?


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