Yesterday was the first day of the Web 2008 Expo at the Shibuya. The timing was the same as the ill-fated O'Reilly event of a similar name, but this was much more of a grass-roots industry affair.
Because of the timing, I did have the pleasure of meeting Brady Forrest from O'Reilly Radar - he had already booked his Tokyo tickets on the return leg of a vacation when the event was canned, so he came along acccompanied by Andrew Shuttleworth.
Shuji Honjo - the chief of the LLP that runs X-Shibuya SNS, and organiser of the event - kicked things off dressed in traditional Japanese office kimono.
Next Natsuhiko Sakimura from the Japan Open ID Foundation took to the stage to explain their mission - to spread the adoption of Open ID among the general population.
He said that research shows that the average Japanese has 20 sets of credentials, but can only remember 3 passwords. This leads them to reuse the same password all the time, which is a risk in itself. While some people didn't like the idea of one central set of credentials, the foundation needed to communicate to users that it was actually more secure than their current approach.
He said that recognition is increasing, with media exposure and more major players supporting it, but I found his assertion that over 20% of the population are aware of the term a bit of a stretch.
Ito-san from NTT, followed up, talking about the Liberty Alliance. He said that for from regarding Open ID as a competitor to their federated identity efforts, they needed work together to smooth the path for end users.
Japan's Blogs - Panel Discussion
Six Apart K.K. Nobuyuki Seki moderated this discussion with Nagase-san from Cyber Agent, and Tokuriki-san from Agile media on the panel.
Nagase-san talked about his hugely successful Ameblo service, with over 4 million blogs registered, generating 15 million visitors from PC, and 22 million uniques from mobile phones.
The interesting statistic was that over 60% of the total traffic went to 3000 celebrity blogs plus the top 2000 other blogs.
However total traffic had flattened of last year after strong growth in previous years.
Tokuriki-san said that there are three main types of blog in Japan:
1) Diary type Blogs
2) Communication Blogs - people are using the instead of email
3) Media-like blogs, where people are self-publishing
He contrasted blogging in Japan, where it is considered quite an ordinary activity, with the US, where blogging still has a "geeky" image.
Then they discussed monetisation of blogs, and the failed model of pay-per-post blogging. People can see through that scam, the blogger will lose their trust, and they won't bother coming back. Even blogging celebrities don't seem to be stooping to pushing products, as they consider the blog their own "personal media" and don't want to risk losing their readers.
Progess of the Social Web
The next session was moderated by Honjo-san, and saw "Dr. Kim" from Community Research Labo, Masanori Kusunoki from Microsoft and Keita Sonaka from Mixi.
I didn't catch all of what Dr. Kim was saying, but he spoke about how personal generated media was reaching it's limit, and how it would be overtaken by community generated media.
He went on to say how his company wanted to help "Asia Change the world" ... but he was a little short on specifics ;)
Mixi showed off a slide with the three pillars of their new Openness strategy:
1) Open ID
2) Mixi Appli
3) Mixi Connect
..indicating that they do indeed have an openness strategy ... curious to find out more about this.
The event was rounded out with a networking party over drinks and snacks ... including a selection of Oregon Wines from the drink sponsor. The Pinot Gris was bitey!
Well ... I have to run along to the second day now ... here's some snapshots.