Saturday, August 27, 2011

Twitter is more popular in Japan than in America !?

I recently heard that Twitter was more popular in Japan than in America. I found this statement so intriguing that I checked it out on the internet and found some interesting data. According to the data shown below, in December 2010, the Netherlands ranked first in having the highest percentage of visitors to Twitter, with a percentage of 22.3%. Japan ranked fourth with 20.0%. Surprisingly, the US didn't rank top 10. Given that Twitter has been drawing considerable attention in Japan as a useful tool to get information about the 3/11 earthquake, the current percentage in Japan may be even higher.

In China where Twitter is blocked by the government, Weibo/微博 has become very popular in the last year. As far as I know, Weibo is very similar to Twitter. It's been said in Japan that Weibo is the Chinese version of Twitter. A single statement is limited to 140 characters. It's been reported that public opinions which are created on Weibo started having power. About a month ago, it seemed that Weibo played a significant role in running arguments over the collision of the two high-speed trains.

I've been on Twitter for about two years. I've found Twitter helpful in getting information as long as you are vigilant about seeing which information on Twitter is reliable. As a matter of fact, since the 3/11 earthquake, Twitter has been the best way for me to get information on radioactive contamination. I think that 140 Japanese characters can deliver much more information than 140 English characters. On top of that, this limitation inevitably makes statements brief and specific, but it sometimes causes misunderstanding. I think that the practicality partly helped Twitter become very popular. As for the amount of information 140 characters allow you to deliver, the Chinese language is more helpful. A well-know Chinese man who has a good command of Chinese, Japanese and English says that 140 English characters are equivalent to 80 Chinese characters and to 100 Japanese characters.

How popular do you think twitter is in your country, anyway?

As Twitter has become very popular here, I've realized how many people easily believe unfounded rumors and information without representing its sources. We have to always keep in mind that we are required to develop information literacy.