Japanese people and Twitter: the social gap

by Laurent François


2 news which can be faced.

The first one I’ve read: the great Fondapol study on the worldwide youth. Insights are crucial:

Japanese youths are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the general situation in their country (75%), and while three-quarters of the world’s youths claim to be at least satisfied with their personal lives, it is still dissatisfaction which prevails (51%) among the Japanese. Nothing seems to mitigate this pessimism: young Japanese are just as discontent with their finances (74%) as they are with their work (60%). Only 32% of them believe they will have a good job in the future, as compared to an overall mean of 70%. The way they rank their family and friends is even more troubling. Although the world’s youths are satisfied with their family circle (85%), only 69% of the Japanese share their opinion. Similarly, although 78% are satisfied with their circle of friends, only 62% of the Japanese agree. They reject their era: a clear majority (61%) of the Japanese indicate that they are not satisfied with
the age in which they live, even though 59% of the world’s youths are satisfied with it.

On the other side, everybody seemes pretty impressed by the twitter stats  (read Techcrunch) of the Japanese for New Year’s Eve.

The problem is that it has not much to do with the explosion of an amplified social link.

  • it is true that you can express much more in 140 signs in Japanese than in any Latin language (kanjis have deeper sense)
  • but Twitter is essentially used by fans who want to express their love to a J-Pop Band
    During the year, TV news and drama featured Twitter, and it gained many high profile users, including ex-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. There were also about 100 books published with “Twitter” in the title.
  • Only 3,6% of the Japanese accounts display the real names of the people (because of the cultural reluctance to not use alias…)
  • Japanese users declare that they only follow 51% of close-friends. Because they’ve been pushed to use it not through implicit networks (their friends, for instance to use Twitter as SMS tool) but by media

So to say: you can have a social situation close to anomie and freakily use Social Media: it’s not a good or bad news on your society. Brands should consider this point when it comes to digital or contact strategy: people they try to outreach are not all happy-face, supra-socializers. They are real people with real troubleS.

2 Responses to “Japanese people and Twitter: the social gap”

  1. Thats what sorted out also to my chat with our 90:10 Group team in Japan. Seems Twitter was the main topic on 2010 (more than Facebook) but as you note they still use Twitter in a really personal way. Social media are more and more a mirror of personal feeling of a country/people.


    Andrea aka womarketing

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