Global SNS tools have solidified their indispensable presence in Japan, and their popularity continues to grow together with the widespread use of smartphones.
While Japanese SNS users share some common behaviors and trends with the global community, there are undeniably distinct cultural components that set them apart from other cultures.
SNS is an abbreviation of Social Networking Service, also known as Social Media. Though we always had analog communication and networking services like calls and letters, thanks to the widespread use of the internet, we are now able to communicate whenever and wherever using the SNS platform.
SNS has been used to create and expand connections between individuals for the use such as the following.
SNS platforms aren’t limited to individual use; many companies also leverage them as part of their marketing strategies.
In essence, SNS transformed the way we connect, share, and conduct business, becoming an integral part of modern communication and marketing strategies.
Mixi, launched in 2004, was one of Japan’s pioneering SNS platforms. It was a trailblazing social networking platform that introduced the concept of online social connections to the Japanese public. It was initially made exclusively to gain traction from Japanese people, who value privacy and exclusivity.
After Mixi, it wasn't long before mobile gaming platforms like Mobage and Gree rose to prominence by incorporating social elements into their games, marking a shift towards mobile-first networking. These platforms still stand strong in the recent Japanese social networking landscape.
As one of the first global services, Facebook entered the scene in 2008 but faced challenges adapting to the local market's unique language and cultural nuances. Though it is widely penetrated in Japan now, there is a tendency to have older generations as active users. Twitter and Instagram started gaining traction in the early 2010s, with Twitter becoming a favored platform for real-time communication. Instagram became popular among the younger generation by sharing “instagenic” photos.
Yet, it was Line, launched in 2011, that dominated the Japanese SNS landscape. With its emphasis on privacy and localization, Line quickly became an indispensable part of daily life, illustrating the diverse and ever-evolving nature of Japan's social media ecosystem.