- mixi / SNS / Social Media
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The social media landscape is a little different in Japan than in other countries. While smartphone penetration is nearly ubiquitous and internet accessibility is notably high here, several platforms have uniquely caught on in the land of the rising sun.
Take online messaging, for instance. In contrast to America and some European nations, the clear heavyweight is LINE, which reportedly has nearly 80 million users. That's roughly 75% of the Japanese population. While options like WhatsApp are used, they are effectively marginal players.
The social networking landscape has it's own peculiarities as well. While behemoths like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook are popular now, that wasn't always the case. Japan was particularly late to experience widespread use of Facebook despite being introduced to the service in 2008. Only in around 2014/2015 did the SNS site began to dominate the landscape.
Until that time, Mixi was the go-to social networking website. Founded in 2004, the company had a distinct first-mover advantage. Although its popularity was limited to Japan, it was the most popular such services throughout the country. However, as Facebook's international dominance grew in the 2010s, the platform eventually found itself unable to compete.
Perhaps owing to a decrease in interest, many netizens were surprised by a recent announcement by the company. Although relatively straightforward, the announcement led to many online obituaries for the social networking site that, needless to say, were a bit premature.
The End of Mixi ‘Page’
On May 18, Mixi announced that it would stop providing its “mixi page” function come August 31st. The function had been experiencing low usage, the impetus behind the corporation’s decision.
With the mixi page, users could freely create their own page in order to share information and communicate with other users on the website. Functioning like a lot like a Facebook page, the service, which began in 2011, was popular with individuals and companies at its peak.
Yet, the service is soon to be discontinued. In their announcement, the company explained to users that they could still download their mixi page content. Users simply make a request with the admin, and they will be notified when their data is prepared. However, certain sections like the comment and like sections will not be included in the package.
Confusion Trends Online
As the company's announcement spread online, many netizens mistakenly misunderstood it to imply the end of the social networking site. #MixiEnds trended on Twitter as confused tweets bemoaned the end of the platform while others sought clarification. Have a look for yourself:
“Hold on a minute, Mixi is finished? That's bad news. It's like an album vault I've been using since I was 20 that holds all of my memories. It also holds my amateur photos. From the first one I took, there are quite a lot.
“Finally, Mixi is over.”
“Since Mixi will be ending 8/31, I tried logging in for old time's sake. It said “last updated six years ago!!!”
“There seem to be a lot of people confused that this is the end of Mixi, but is there anyone still using it!?”
For a brief moment, it seemed everyone was saddened by a nostalgic service they thought was no longer available. But now that they know better, will Mixi experience a revival. That, unfortunately, remains difficult to imagine.