Thursday, December 6, 2007

Japanese blog "beaucoup" yet keep low profiles

The Washington Post, on p A01, Dec. 6 2007, carries a curious story by Blaine Harden, "Japan's Bloggers: Humble Giants of the Web," here.

There is a curious paradox. The Japanese, with a generally high standard of living and not so many extremes of wealth as in our country, tend to enjoy technology but not to use it to stand out or seek fame. Self-promotion is considered rude and disrespectful in Japanese culture, more so than it is today here (although it used to be). So the blogs tend to be about rather trivial things that don't provoke comments or comments. The Japanese are big on mobile blogging and use it as a kind of toy, without taking it that seriously.

Of course, in other entries on my blogs (like Nov. 29 on my main blog), I've written about how the potential access of any one individual to an instant global audience can have surprising political ramifications, and can force more subtle levels of debate (connecting all the dots) out into the open. But many cultures don't see it that way.

To my way of thinking, blogging only about trivia seems to fit in to expectations of social conformity. In the US and to some extent Europe, many people blog to advertise their professional capability, which is a double-edged sword, as it invites the idea that professional "profile management" companies should be employed to deploy someone's Internet public image.

Apparently right now there are more blog posts in Japanese than there are in English.

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