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Mixi is the largest social network in Japan. With a lot of my friends in Japan, I can't help but use Mixi, but if I had a choice, I would convince my friends to switch to a different social networking platform like Facebook. Here is why.

Mixi Acitivity/Visited Log

Mixi has a feature that displays exactly who visited your page or blog. It sounds cool and you might think it encourages activity but to me, it's annoying because when I read my friend's blog, it leaves me with a sense of obligation to comment. It's visible to them that I visited the blog so I feel like they expect something out of me. This actually discourages me from visiting blogs, especially when I'm lazy and just want to browse people's pages.

The feature also kills the concept of being a secret admirer because it is clearly visible that a stranger visited my website 15 days in a row. The fact that someone I hardly know visited my page 15 days in a row can be either flattering or creepy.

People change their names too often

Another thing that annoys me is that people use nicknames instead of real names and mixi allows you to freely change your nickname. I log into my account and view that Hotdog left me a message. I'm like who are you? Oh, it's Ken from high school. The next day I logging and find that Surferdude left me a message. Who are you? Oh, it's Ken again.

They make it really difficult for me to keep track of who is who and after a while, I start to not care.

Mixi Music
A little while back, I went to Mixi Music, a service within Mixi to listen to music. The radio played something like Madonna's "Rain", which I turned off after about 10 seconds. I then went back to my profile and it said, 'Scott just listened to Madonna's Rain'. I knew some my high school friends were laughing at me.

I have nothing against Madonna but my problem is that Mixi made it sound like I recommended the song and loved it. In fact all I did was listen to the radio and now my friends think I'm a fan of Madonna. I couldn't find a way to remove the notice either.

Mixi Echo -Status Updates
Mixi released Mixi Echo as a beta product. Mixi Echo is basically status updates sort of like what you see on Facebook or Twitter.

The real problem is that they made it so that you had to opt into Mixi Echo in order to write and see the updates. This meant that when I started using Mixi Echo on my page, I was in essence writing status updates to MYSELF and no one else. None of my friends viewed my status updates unless they had actually gone and signed up for Mixi Echo. The feature, to this date, is pointless to me.

I've seen Facebook
I like Facebook much more than Mixi. The fact that they opened to third party developers made it much more dynamic and interesting (although I'm sick of poking, vampired and whatever) and I find that the level of activity is much higher with Facebook.

So after using Facebook, using Mixi makes me feel like I'm using a platform that was built a few years ago. Most recently, the features they add are features already seen in other SNSs and as the leaders of social media in Japan, I would like to see Mixi leading the industry and not following others.

That being said, Mixi being the largest social network in Japan makes it a great place to network and meet people. I enjoy the vast number of groups and members they have. I just really wish they wouldn't publish the music I listened to (^_^).

Note: I'm not saying Facebook will be successful in Japan. In fact, I think they are failing. I am saying that on a personal basis, I like Facebook over Mixi.

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Comment by Marcus Sortijas on March 27, 2011 at 11:12pm
Another informative post!  Good work.  Your impression of Facebook's performance in Japan are on target: Facebook finds relatively few friends in Japan.
Comment by Derek on April 20, 2009 at 9:49pm
Scott - Your sister could not stop laughing when she read this post.
Comment by Scott Murphy on April 20, 2009 at 8:24am
Thanks for the great link. It will be interesting to see if 3rd party mixi app will catch on with the release of their api.
I think Japanese users are generally passive but when it comes to privacy issues (as in Beacon on Facebook), people are almost overly sensitive.
Comment by Gabe Morris on April 18, 2009 at 3:38pm
Interesting post- the "features" you mention would irritate me, too.
I'm curious if the phenomenon of a 'users revolt' ever occurs in Japan - similar to what occurred in response to Beacon on Facebook.

Comment by Daniel Leuck on April 18, 2009 at 9:07am
Mixi is definitely behind the curve, but this month they did a beta release of their OpenSocial support (Mixi apps), which is definitely of interest. You can read about it on Yoichiro Tanaka's OpenSocial blog. Although Facebook has a nice API, they are the only major US social network not to support OpenSocial.

I think the reason Mixi evolved so slowly is that for several years after launch (which was in 2004) they only had one developer!


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