CyberAgent And SNS Set Up New Company “7gogo,” Develop Public Group Talk App For Famous People

CyberAgent, Inc. [J] has, in partnership with SNS Inc., established the new company 7gogo Inc. [J] (read: nana gogo), and has also announced the opening of a public group talk application for celebrities.

Fujita Susumu of CyberAgent will assume the post of representative director of 7gogo, and with Horie Takafumi as the founder, they will develop public group talk apps allowing you to view opinions and conversations shared between celebrities.  Also, according to a tweet by Fujita Susumu, [J] the origin of the company name is from Mr. Horie’s prisoner number “755.”  They are aiming for 1 million users within the first year after release, and they are currently recruiting members as their business opens.

Translation authorized by VSMedia

One Social Network, Two Different Stories: Qualitative Analysis of Facebook Users in Japan and the US

Since we are getting ready to conduct a large scale cross-cultural survey about social media, as a first step, we qualitatively analyzed how Americans and the Japanese use Facebook. Although qualitative studies are sometimes overlooked because of the small sample size, they tend to provide a deeper understanding of the phenomenon that is studied. To understand the underlying reasons behind why people from different cultures use Facebook differently, we sent an open ended survey to 25 Japanese and 28 American college students. The results were quite interesting and here are the most surprising differences:

#1 HUMOR! When we asked “what kind of messages and photos do you usually like?” The majority of the open ended answers in the American sample included “funny ones” and “humorous messages”. There was almost zero reference to humor in the Japanese sample.

#2 PROFILE PICTURE! When we asked what the respondents thought about Facebook accounts with no profile pictures, most of The American subjects stated that it was “creepy” and “strange.” On the contrary, most of the Japanese respondents thought this was normal and they would think the account owner has privacy concerns.

#3 PARENTS! Facebook hasn’t been used by the older generation in Japan bu we asked how respondents would feel about friending their parents on Facebook. Almost all of the American subjects mentioned that they were already friends with their parents on Facebook. Strangely, most of the Japanese respondents indicated that they would definitely not want to be friends with their parents on Facebook since it would be very embarrassing. Japanese subjects also did not mention family members when explaining what kind of pictures they upload or what kind of messages they post while most of the American subjects did.

#4 PROFESSORS! Two thirds of American students thought it was a bad idea to friend professors. On the other hand, two thirds of the Japanese students thought it was good.

#5 RESPONDING! Perhaps the most important difference was the attitude toward responding to every single message on one’s Facebook wall. The question was “Do you usually respond to every single comment on your status or photos? (e.g. you post a photo and someone comments “you look nice in the picture” and you comment “thank you”) Why or why not? Most of the Americans said they don’t do this because “..they don’t comment just for the sake of commenting.” On the contrary almost all of the Japanese participants thought it is impolite to not to respond to every comment. It also looks like ignoring the person who left a comment.

#6 SMART PHONE! Similarly, both American and Japanese subjects thought PC was more convenient than a smart phone when it comes to using Facebook. While nobody in the American sample showed a preference for smartphones, about a quarter of the Japanese participants thought smartphones were more convenient than computers to log on to Facebook.

#7 UNTAG! Almost all of the American respondents reported untagging a picture of themselves whereas the majority of the Japanese respondents never untagged themselves. While some respondents in the US sample mentioned employment related concerns we suspect that Japanese users don’t untag themselves because they’re not tagged by others that often.

This was my students’ term project. You can see their presentation here http://www.slideshare.net/adamacar/facebook-use-in-japan-and-the-us

Does Marriage-Hunting SNS Treat Men As Women’s Livestock?

CyberAgent's Logo

On Wednesday, A Shibuya-based dot-com venture CyberAgent launched a free mobile SNS, named “Otokonoko Bokujo (a.k.a. Otoboku)” meaning boys pasture, targeting marriage-hunting females.

After a female user signs up for an account of the service, she will be allowed to upload portraits and profiles of her male friends to her own “virtual pasture” set up on the site. She can categorize each of her male friends by his characterestics like flirty / tough, and carnivorous / herbivorous meaning how aggressively he approaches to a female.

According to the service guide developed by CyberAgent, when a female user makes connections with her female friends on the site, they will be allowed to browse portraits and profiles of the user’s male friends. Each of the male friends is represented by an animal icon such as a horse or cow, which may make you think that males are being treated as livestock bred by females.

Otokonoko Bokujo

The pasture SNS allows female users to use several features including a diary, web-mail, bulletin boards and community, and it aims at supporting marriage-hunting activities for females who are looking for the future fiances

In terms of the user’s privacy protections, Asiajin‘s co-founder Akky Akimoto‘s colleague and Japanese famous Pythonista Mr. Hirokazu Nishio pointed out on his blog[J] two faults of the service architecture, which are

  • CyberAgent stated on the terms and conditions that the portraits and the profiles of a female user’s male friends are browsable only among her and her female friends. But the fact is any user is accessible to the portraits and the profiles of whom he or she never knows.
  • CyberAgent stated that the male friend’s portrait and profile will be disclosed after his approval, but the site has no way to confirm if he approves it or not, therefore you see some prank portraits using rabbit and stuffed animals that mischievous users have uploaded.

On the other hand, Japanese bloggers are highly criticizing that males are treated as livestock bred by females as the site title reminds you of, CyberAgent’s public relations blog is under the Enjoh or flaming. Some posts mention it is immoral to represent males by animal icons of cows, horses and lambs.

CyberAgent posted a clarification on the blog in response to blogger’s criticism, and it explained the site title was named after the vegan-type boys boom. Because of no complainment after examining if the title disgusts the company’s male employees, the service supervisor judged it was cleared for launch. Reportedly the company is now taking account of renaming the title.

CyberAgent's PR Blog
An 11 years old PR girl explains the background of the service on behalf of the entire company. It may violate Japan’s labor standards law prohibiting hiring those who are younger than 13 years old. Japanese bloggers believe she is cuter and smarter than Marissa Mayer.

Via J-CAST News[J]

See Also:

Mixi holds “mixi Appli Conference” on April 23rd

mixi-logo

Mixi holds “mixi Appli Conference 2009” [JP] to promote their new app service on April 23rd in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

Speakers are:

  • Kenji Kasahara, CEO of Mixi Inc.
  • Akinori Harada, VP, Mixi Division, of Mixi Inc.
  • Koichiro Tsujino, President of Google Japan.
  • Makoto Asanuma, VP of Namco Bandai Games Inc.
  • Minoru Kimura, Head of Media Technology Labs at Recruit Co., Ltd.
  • Jia Shen, CTO and Founder of RockYou, Inc.

Mixi has already disclosed their app service API for companies under the NDA from November 2008.

In early April, they will launch a beta version of Mixi Appli. Also they will release the API for personal developers too.

Mixi Bans Their Users From Dating

mixi-logo

Social network service Mixi banned users from dating.

Mixi changed their terms of policy on December 1st, in accordance with the “Dating site regulation act”. They are now prohibiting users from “using Mixi mainly to meet with strangers of the other sex”.

Recently, Mixi has deleted many groups which hold group dating or offline meetings.

The decision might also have been influenced by the recent lowering of the minimum age limit for users from 18 to 15.  To be certified as a  “safe site” which can be used by minors from a cellphone without filtering, they had to delete all dating groups from the site.

Japan has already been suffering from very low birth rate, but the National Police Agency wants Japanese to refrain from dating. Very very silly. Is it constitutional to restrict people from dating online?

via J-CAST [JP]