There are many things that I find hilarious about social networking websites. From the glamour shot profile pictures that scream desperation and a degraded sense of self-esteem, to the egomaniacal ‘About Me’ sections (nobody cares that your favorite movie is The Notebook, or that your favorite TV show is Grey’s Anatomy and your interests are ‘dancing and hanging out with friends’ – yeah that’s you, every girl on Facebook). These couldn’t be less interesting if they were a Good Housekeeping magazine.
What I find especially hilarious, however, is the seeming feud between the Facebookers and the MySpacers. Between those oh so misunderstood creative types who expose their often mediocre art and wounded souls on their meticulously crafted MySpace page and the university attending, tight jean wearing, ‘please let these brightly colored Ray Bans, curly, unkempt hair and obscure band t-shirt hide the fact that I am incredibly uninteresting, and worse unintelligent’ Facebookers.
Of course, this is a complete generalization as just about everyone and their mama has some kind of social networking account and don’t necessarily fit into these categories, however I believe it is a fairly valid assumption that those on MySpace are slightly more inclined to wear Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise, while those on Facebook can be spotted wearing those horrible Che Guevara shirts…possibly not realizing that he was opposed to monopolies, commodity fetishism, capitalism and the like. So when that shirt is shipped from the low paid laborers who stitched it, straight to your local ‘cool’ shirt store to be marked up and sold, you kids can be sure that you are helping his cause.
These days, a Facebook or a MySpace is an integral part of youth socialization. These web landscapes spawn, solidify and enhance relationships. As a matter of fact, many people check their pages almost religiously, keeping up to date on the trivial daily status updates of their 456 friends (only 14 of which are actually communicated with). It is strange to think that in Japan, this landscape is totally different. The Japanese aren’t as keen on the Facebook or the MySpace, as they are all wrapped up in a networking site called Mixi. So what does Mixi have that Facebook doesn’t? What exactly is it offering that is drawing Japanese youth to them?
There is an interesting article in TechCrunch which describes some possible reasons why Japanese culture isn’t quite as down with the layout and nature of Facebook and MySpace as we are. It outlines how different our cultures in the sense that the Japanese place an immense importance on the community, as opposed to the individual, so Facebook’s emphasis on using real names and photos might not appeal to a Japanese audience,
A perfect example of a cultural misconception: Mark Zuckerberg recently said in Tokyo one of Facebook’s unique selling points is the usage of real names and photos in profiles. This may be true but it’s exactly what Japanese web users usually try to avoid. And they already have a high-trust, invitation-based social network anyway: Mixi.
This article is a cool read and definitely one of those platform articles that get you looking up a bunch of other related stories. Which I dig. So check it out!