Mixi and Facebook

by Yui Sawada

Facebook is the most popular social net working service (SNS) on the Internet. However, in Japan, even now Facebook is not number one. Many Japanese people use Mixi. It is the most popular SNS in Japan. Why is this so? What are the differences between Facebook and Mixi? I use both services. However, mainly I use Mixi because Mixi was very popular before Facebook became well known in Japan. But I think there are other reasons why Facebook has not become so popular in Japan.

There are many differences between Facebook and Mixi. The biggest is that Facebook requires your real profile. In fact, many Japanese people use nicknames on Mixi. In addition, some people do not put their photographs onto their page. Internet anonymity is considered important in Japan to protect personal privacy. To make new friends on the Internet, Japanese people tend to hide their real profile. Anonymity promotes freedom of expression of one’s personality. It is very suitable to the Japanese introverted personality.

Recently, Facebook and Mixi’s functions have become very similar with each other. Interestingly, the reason is because Mixi has been improved by imitating Facebook and other SNSs. Mixi has implemented three changes to compete with other SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter. However, I think that it will be impossible for Mixi to decline in Japan because it provides local news and is suitable for the Japanese. Lately, the popularity of SNSs continues rising equally as the diffusion rate of the Internet rises. However, in Japan Mixi is the best for Japanese people because it best fits the characteristics of Japanese people.

Yui Sawada is a third-year student in the Dept. of British and American Cultural Studies.