Recently the latest membership figures of Facebook in Japan have been released. As imagined, the social network has continued to gain ground in the country. This increase in membership is a clear sign of maturity in the local social media accompanied by cultural change. The type of change that has made people more comfortable about using their real names when joining social sites.
The openness noticed in social sites and the cultural change that has provoked it have been greatly helped by two important factors. 1) Relevancy. We now see people engaged in conversations that relate to connected topics. While once (and still), the social media was driven by particular interests connecting people across communities, social participants are now showing a more prominent interest towards personal topics and naturally social crowds have become much more engaged at the individual level. 2) Influence. At present, it is easier for people to influence each other with their opinions in the social media. This behavior has been helped in great part by corporations taking part in social conversations. Something that was not common in the local social media in the past, has consolidated a behavior not quite heavily noticeable in Japan in previous...months.
At this point in time there is an interesting mixture of owned and social media coming into play at the time of crafting social content. This is something that we see as an interesting trend in Japan that is likely to evolve and become a good mechanism for cross-fertilization of audiences and deeper social participation.