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Cultural Considerations of Facebook

February 3, 2011 - 0 Comments

“The one thing all the popular Japanese social media platforms have in common is anonymity,”

Facebook has more than 500 million active users and is the most popular social media channel in the world. But accordingly to an online article from The Next Web, Japan is one of Facebook’s lowest performing markets. Out of an online population of almost 100 million, there are just 2 million registered Facebook users which represents a penetration of just 2%.

Paul, the author of the article, explores three possible reasons for these statistics: timing, culture and language. He argues that Mixi, another social networking site that penetrated the Japanese social network community around the same time that Facebook was being developed at Harvard, is the most popular social network in Japan because it aligns with Japanese culture. Mixi allows its users to maintain a sense of anonymity and privacy, which are both central to Japanese culture. For legal reasons, Facebook requires its users to register their name, email address, gender and birthday.

As we discussed in the posts Social Media and the end of gender – Johanna Blakley and Cultural insight is marketing’s untapped resource, many businesses are tapping into social media websites to reach out to a larger audience and to extend their market share. But Paul reminds us that although many social media sites have large number of users, they are not reflective of a culturally diverse audience.

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