or simply "pissing around and pissing us off", according to a certain individual.

Τρίτη, Δεκεμβρίου 19, 2006

Δύση και Ανατολή

δυο καρδιές που ζουν και αγαπάνε
μέσα σ' ένα ανάποδο ιστό

What did everyone talk about the two days? Well, we learned about the differences between Asian social networks and Western-style ones, for example. For one thing, Oliver Ueberholz told us, Japanese and Chinese traditionally don’t mind the copying of other people’s work... in fact, they honor it, because in the history of their big empire often copying was the only way to make sure tradition is maintained cross-country. Thus, the most popular Chinese social network site may look just like the most popular Japanese social network site – including colors, navigation items, etc. – yet no one will complain.

The biggest difference however for Japanese social network sites may be that Japanese like to stay anonymous on those boards (also see the previous post on 2ch.net). Because, Oliver told us, many Japanese users are afraid of the “great unknown” of web sites and web surfing; afraid that someone might watch them, afraid the web technology may not treat them well, afraid of what happens behind the scenes. And because traditionally, the Japanese society imposes a strict rule set that predetermines your place in life... something anonymity seems to escape.

The process of signing up goes like this; a friend of yours refers you to the invite-only social network. But an invitation, as opposed to a common Western-style procedure of social networks where you basically invite everyone who asks you (as much as time allows), is a commitment to the invited person... you’re basically promising that this person won’t do any bad in the social network, e.g. troll in the network’s forums. If they do, however, not only will they be kicked... you as inviter might now be kicked as well! (There’s even a kind of double opt-in on the Chinese variant of the board, because your friend must not only invite you and wait for you to follow-up on the invitation, they must also approve the invitation again after you did... after all, chatting about you with friends, they might’ve heard something bad and might want to revert their initial judgment.)

Once the user is in the message board, they won’t do what many people in Germany or Europe, the US, and many other places might do now, which is to load up a photo and enter their real name somewhere. No, mostly the profile of the Japanese social network user will now contain an anime character, a picture of a dog, or something else non-personal which will make sure anonymity is preserved. Also, the Japanese users, Oliver emphasized, will never start talking about themselves in the forum, really, in particular not boast about themselves (at least, that’s considered rude, and rudeness will be punished with ignoring the poster). Praise is left exclusively to others who judge oneself in the forum. In other words, saying “I made a cool new website” may be taboo, whereas someone else saying “XYZ made a cool new website” may be perfectly fine.

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