How Twitter is Used In Japan

One thing that I feel is often overlooked by the analysts that discuss social media, is that they think the attributes of the product dictate how it is used, how it can be monetised, etc. However, in reality, the product is only a small part of the appeal of a social media. What is much more important is who is using it, and what they are doing on it. The activity of the users is at least as important as the features of the product itself, and in fact, it is likely to be much more important.

To illustrate my point, I would like to introduce a recent report that looked into how Twitter is being used in Japan. Read it and understand how the different social norms and pressures that people experience in Japan uniquely shape how it is used. Understand that what makes Twitter popular in Japan is totally different from that in the US or other countries.

Also understand that social services, when they enter other countries, are not exporting the same product. When a US-born social media product comes into Japan, at that moment, it is transformed. It is transformed because a social media product is about who is using it and how, and this will change when you enter a new market. Hence a product is not actively localised. Instead it is transformed by the region.

So enough with the introduction; let’s dive into the report. The report in question is from Dentsu Communication Institute Inc. (株式会社 電通総研) and titled “Understanding the Youth, 2015” (若者まるわかり調査 2015).

The first chart that I want to share shows how popular each social network service is. We can see that LINE is very popular among teenagers with about 90% penetration, but Twitter is not very far behind. In particular, Twitter is more popular among teenage girls. Facebook is not very popular among teenagers, but gains in popularity in college/universities and gains as they go into their twenties whereas Twitter popularity decreases.

2015038 0420 pdf 5 11ページ

The popularity of Twitter over Facebook is in marked contrast to the US where 87% of the 18-29 age group use Facebook as opposed to 37% for Twitter. What is more interesting however is why. This is what we will get into in the next chart.

The next chart illustrates how many Twitter accounts Japanese youth have. As you can clearly see, they have close to 3 on average. The reason is because the Japanese tend to possess different personalities depending on the community they are participating in at a certain time, and Twitter allows you to have separate accounts for each.

2015038 0420 pdf 5 11ページ

This article gives us an example of a 11th grader girl who has four Twitter accounts, which I have summarised below.

  1. A real name, front-facing account : For classmates and normal friends. She tries hard to be cheerful and funny on this account because that is the personality that she is showing in class.
  2. An anonymous account that only best friends know about :
  3. An account to collect information on hobbies (anime) : Friends who share the same hobbies may know about this account.
  4. An account to rant on when frustrated : An account that nobody knows about.

This girl also has a LINE account but she uses her Twitter accounts when she isn’t really asking for anybody to reply and doesn’t want to pressure her friends into doing so.

Another 10th grader girl who uses multiple Twitter accounts in a similar way. For her “Twitter is the only place where I can say what I am really thinking.”

With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why Facebook cannot satisfy the needs of Japanese teenage girls. We can also understand why services like Snapchat aren’t really the solution, although a Whisper like solution might work for a subset of their needs. It’s also very interesting to see how there is a definite need to have different services with various characteristics, and that Twitter is flexible enough to serve multiple needs.

However, by far the most important takeaway is how different social media usage can be depending on country and culture, even when the underlying product is exactly the same. Localisation of services is not always something that the service providers have to explicitly provide. Sometimes localisation just happens.



  1. 全調査データ


いろいろ思うことはあるのですが、特にスマートフォンの普及率が興味深いです。高校生のスマートフォン普及率は既に14.9%に達しているそうです。それに呼応するかのように、mixi (23.4%)よりもTwitter (34.0%)の方がすでに利用率が高くなっているとのことです。Facebook (12.7%)も決して少ない数字ではないです。これは驚きでした。





しつこいんだけど、Twitter Client Usageを分析してみた


Twitstatのデータを元にTwitter Clientの分析をしてみました。データはここ。どういう分析をしたかというと、TwitstatはClientの名前は出ているのですが、どういうタイプのClientかが分からないので、それをグループにして分類しました。


Twitter Client Usage.png


  1. Mac専用クライアント(Cocoa APIでつくっているやつ)のシェアがやたら高く、8%もあります。ただしこの中身はTweetieとTwitterifficなので、いずれもiPhone版があるため、Macだけでいうとこの8%よりは少ない数字だとは思います。
  2. Windows専用クライアント(Windows用のAPI、.NETなど)で書かれたクライアントは全くTwitStatのデータに載っていない

ちなみにAdobe Airがすごく多いのですが、これはTweetDeck、twhirl、Seesmicなどで、僕のタイムラインを見ている限り、Macユーザも結構使っています。したがってWindowsユーザは全員Adobe Airアプリを使っていると考えても、Windowsユーザが全然足りないです。


唯一考えられるのは、ぼくがMacと分類しているCocoa APIクライアントが実はほとんどがiPhoneで、iPhoneじゃないCocoa APIクライアントは実は1%ぐらいしかないシナリオ。それでWebとかAdobe Airの合わせて38%あるうちの4%ぐらいがMacというパターン。でもこれも僕のタイムラインを見ている限りでは簡単には信じられないような気がしています。


でもTwitterFon (iPhone専用アプリ)のシェアが1.81%もあるので、あながち僕が考えた「唯一のシナリオ」もあり得るかもしれませんね。そうするとモバイルの人以外は、ほとんどWebかAdobe Airか。でもそんなにtwhirlいいかな…。マックユーザからすると、あのUIはごちゃごちゃしていて好きになれないような気が

Retweet script for Twitterrific

Simple AppleScript to make it easy to retweet from Twitterrific.

It uses GUI scripting to access the text input box in Twitterrific, so you need to activate this by enabling access from assistive devices in the Universal Access Preferences.


tell application "Twitterrific"
	set thisTweet to selection
	set thisText to post of thisTweet
	set thisUser to screen name of thisTweet
end tell
tell application "System Events"
	tell process "Twitterrific"
		tell group 1 of splitter group 1 of window 1
			set value of text field 1 to "Retweet: @" & thisUser & " " & thisText & " "
		end tell
	end tell
end tell

Display conversation from Twitter

2009-04-07: Updated query to so that the result is more like what TwitterFon gives you when you drill down conversations.

I wrote a simple AppleScript to display the conversation history between two people in a tweet in Twitterrific.

I often want to focus on a conversation between two people in my timeline, without the distraction of all the other tweets. This AppleScript makes this as easy as selecting a tweet with an @reply, and running the AppleScript via the AppleScript menu.

All it does is, 1) get the user names of the sender and recipient of the tweet (only of @reply tweets), 2) query for tweets sent from either of the user names.

tell application "Twitterrific"
	set thisTweet to selection
	set thisUser to screen name of thisTweet
	set thisPost to post of thisTweet
end tell

set thisOffset to offset of "@" in thisPost
if thisOffset is equal to 0 then
	display alert "No recipient in Tweet"
	set thisOffset to thisOffset + 1
	set newUser to ""
	repeat until character thisOffset of thisPost is equal to " " or character thisOffset of thisPost is equal to ":"
		set thisCharacter to character thisOffset of thisPost
		set newUser to newUser & thisCharacter
		set thisOffset to thisOffset + 1
	end repeat
	open location "" & thisUser & "+to%3A" & newUser & "+OR+from%3A" & newUser & "+to%3A" & thisUser & "&lang=all"

end if