Japan is known as one of the most difficult countries for Facebook.
However, there has been sudden Facebook buzz happening in Japanese websphere now for about a week. Tokyo-based social media consultant company Looops Communications counted that there were over 11.7% Japanese Facebook users increase observed in 11 days last week. According to them, the number of users shown on FacebookAds stats moved up from 1,426,480 to 1,593,440, which now reaches 1.26% of Japanese population, 0.14% up only in 11 days.
As far as I know, this “boom” began by couple of influential Japanese bloggers, including @amachang, @hamachiya2, @yusukebe and @holygrail, who tried to rediscover Facebook around October 6th, with calling their Hatena/Twitter friends back to Facebook and taught how to organize your Facebook home page by dismissing too much information. Many Japanese early-adopters made friends networks on Facebook when it was first introduced, and had had chances to maintain it, which makes the information on their home page overloaded.
Most of those Japanese web-savvy people had Facebook accounts for 2-3 years, but they never returned. After this “rediscover Facebook” day, many people expressed that they are surprised with its changes, for Japanese people, Facebook today is so “fast and light” from the one in their mind since 2 years ago.
After the day, the top page of Hatena Bookmarks, the most popular Japanese social bookmarking service (which also has some social news aspects like Digg/reddit), has many Facebook-related blog entries. Links (all in Japanese) with number of bookmarks. If the number of bookmarks is over 300, that means quite buzzed among Japanese net-savvy, I could say.
- What parts of Facebook is so advanced?
- Facebook seems rising
- I tried to call Facebook API
- Facebook is getting active recently
- How to create a Facebook fan page? – by Netafull
- Facebook is quite interesting.
- How I felt that I ran an offline meeting with Facebook friends
- Will Facebook be exploding soon in Japan? The reason explained, and how to start.
- How to use Facebook, in 11 chapters
- Facebook is dangerously addictive on its feedback in brain
- I noticed that Facebook is yucky (in a positive sense)
- Facebook has so changed from what I knew
- Bear in mind before jumping on Facebook
- Facebook, which has been failing over 2 years, now getting flamed with suspicious stealth marketing
- Facebook won’t be popular in Japan
Before that, most of hot topics about Facebook were like how Facebook succeeds in U.S. and West translated by online news and analysis by Silicon Valley watcher blogs. But suddenly everyone is writing about Facebook this week.
As there were too many blogs and tweets mentioning Facebook, there were even people who claimed that this must be stealth marketing by a big advertising agency such like Dentsu. But those popular bloggers are the farthest ones who write something in exchange for money.
For me, it is understandable that some people who cannot track down the source of buzz misunderstand this kind of word of mouth storm could be lead by single hidden will. Another points out that the one who claimed that conspiracy theory belongs to Mixi, a direct competitor of Facebook Japan (which seems true, but I’d support that he tweeted that skeptical view as an individual, not by Mixi’s hidden will).
There is also an online-meetup on Facebook planned. A facebook event “Facebook Douji on kai”(Simultaneous Meetup on Facebook) which organizer amachang says, “you will not know joy of Facebook without having many of your friends online”, will be held on October 15th night (Japan Standard Time). The event already got about 800 Japanese users answering “yes”.
Today, a best-selling business book writer Kazuyo Katsuma, who made a huge contribution on spreading Twitter to her book readers, i.e. non-techies, in Japan, said [J] that she has been trying Facebook for a week, opened her official fan page.
Yet I am unsure if this time Facebook boom will continue weeks later. As many newcomers followed influential users still seem puzzled with Facebook interface and complain how they are different from Mixi and Twitter.
But anyway, this is a good chance for Facebook Japan to assist this momentum, by helping those novices, putting their staff as evangelists and let them interact with those re-testing users, having some offline meetings and let media cover them, all such kind of things which Mixi, Gree and Twitter did when they got popularity in Japan.