Online Social Groups in Japan
Social networking services (SNS) have been growing here in Japan, and have been in the news lately because the biggest, Mixi, just went public on the stock market. According to an article in the Daily Yomiuri, there are 7.16 million people using the services as of the end of March this year, up 550% from the year before. Mixi alone has more than 5.7 million users.
In these networks -- like LinkedIn, or Tribe.net -- you have to be introduced by an existing member. According to a TV show I was watching in a doctor's waiting room yesterday, this makes people feel safer. It certainly doesn't mean it's impossible to set up a scam; just find someone in the group and offer them fifty bucks to endorse you. But it should help a little in that respect. More important, to me, is that it should make it easier to build a real community of introduced acquaintances.