Japanese Blog Queen Tasted Twitter And Gave Up

Shoko Nakagawa (aka Shokotan), one of the most successful Japanese celebrity bloggers, finally started Twitter (@shokonakagawa) on February 24th with a tweet “I begin to chirp…” [J].

This could have been a milestone for Japanese Twitter to show the centre of the celebrity blogging moving from regular blog to microblog. However, after posting 15 tweets sparsely in 2 months, she posted that she “gave up doing both blog and Twitter” [J].

Her blogging style, which make her very unique among celebrities her early days to become popular, is to post a lot of one line entries and/or photos taken by her cellphone, sometimes makes 50 posts per day. You may see those numbers on the left sidebar’s monthly archives. Her style made a lot of followers of Japanese celebrity bloggers.

In the end, what she did on blog platforms (she has been switched her blog hosting twice) is “microblogging on blog”, and if so, she could not find any advantage on Twitter, which does not have built-in photo upload/show features and the Japanese cellphone version of which has room to be improved.

CyberAgent‘s Ameba blog, which holds over thousand celebrity bloggers including Shokotan, has been running its own Twitter clone Ameba Now, to hope to keep their bloggers within the Ameba sites. And this incident may be a hint that they can lean on and extend their clone, as Twitter will not be able to enhance its functionalities only for Japanese celebrity market.

Naver Japan Starts Another Microblogging Service “Pick”

Naver Japan, a bridgehead of Korean search giant Naver, who is challenging Japanese market second time since 2009, released their new (Tumblr-like) multimedia clipping microblog “Pick” [J].

On Pick, user can post text, image, movie and geolocation. It also encourages users to clip others’ post by 1-click “pick” button so “anyone can join the pick community even if you do not write/upload anything. you do not need writing talent” (on release note).

The above point is exactly where Tumblr is getting success in Japanese. Now Tumblr is seeking to gear up for Japan by hiring Japanese consultant, but localization has not been done yet. Naver Japan has possibility to compete as it is not only all in Japanese UI, but also providing cellphone sites covers 3 major cellphone carriers. iPhone application is also planned, they says.

Another twist is “Yuumeijin no Hitokoto”(Celebrities’ phrases) page, which aggregates 6,000 celebrities’ official blogs and twitter messages as a material for users “pick”.

As the popularity of CyberAgent Ameba blog hosting was driven by holding thousand of those well-known people as bloggers, Japanese websphere is fond of TV stars more than in English. The page seems to just reuse RSS feeds, but may attract some web users.

See Also:

Press release [J]

Mobile Giant Gree Remodelled Its Unpopular PC Site With Twitter Clone

gree-logo

Following to one of the Big 3 social networking service Mixi’s clone Mixi Voice, which made Evan Williams “unpleasant”, another successful, probably now most vital among three, social networking Gree enters into microblog service (registration required for all Gree pages besides the top login page).

As once defeated a battle against Mixi on PC web, Gree shifted into mobile web with casual games and avatar, supported by the 2nd biggest cellphone carrier KDDI au. Currently Gree PC site only gets 1% of all users. Honestly speaking, no one are using the PC site.

current PC top page of Gree
current PC top page of Gree

That is why Gree CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka told “It is totally built from scratch. Please forget the current PC Gree site ever existed” with confidence at press conference [J].

The new top page, currently accessible in parallel with the old one, looks much simpler, reminding me both Twitter and Facebook.

gree-microblog-screenshot

Tanaka said the PC Gree will be real-time social service around the Hitokoto (one-phrase) feature, which allows user to exchange what they are doing in 140 letters. It also supports emoji so you may use emoji both on mobile and PC sites. Twitter Japan recently launched Japanese mobile site with Emoji support, but Twitter PC site (which is the same as worldwide version) cannot show/input Emoji.

Besides the Twitter-like feature, Gree ported and porting their successful elements from its mobile version. “Avatars” are shared between the original mobile and PC sites.

gree-avatar-top-screenshot

“News” and social comments are very similar Mixi provides. “Celebrities Blogs” seems to follow successful CyberAgent’s Ameblo blog.

gree-cereblities-top-screenshot

The current Beta only supports Firefox 3.5, Safari 4 and Google Chrome. On the official release in November, they will support Internet Explorer. They will also provide “Twitter Sync” feature. Casual games will be put to PC version, too.

A dedicated iPhone site is also planned in future, on which user can register to and play on Gree, which is a good news for iPhone users who cannot register any of big 3 social networking at this point.

See Also:

Gree report on French TV [Fr]