Looking for the pulse of Japan's Business SNS Scene at Softbank, Yahoo, and more...

Nothing like the slowdown over new years to spend some time digging around the net (.. as if I didn't spend enough time doing that anyway!).

I've been looking at the Business SNS Scene in Japan, signing up and kicking the tyres for a few weeks.  The lights are on, but is anyone home?


mixi's Open Strategy ... mixi Connect, mixi Appli and mixi OpenID

On the 11th of this month, mixi - Japan's largest social network - released the beta of their Open Web services. In fine closed Japanese form, the beta is limited to "corporate" developers. The site says that the service will be opened to individual developers too, but is not specific about when. Corporate developers can sign up here (Japanese).

mixi had 15.68 million users at the end of September, and has recently relaxed the rules for joining, by removing the requirement to be invited by other users, and lowering the age limit from 18 to 15. This is a bid to revive flagging growth, by targetting high schoolers and people - especially in rural areas - who simply don't know anyone who can invite them.


Web 2008 Expo in Tokyo next week (Dec. 3 & 4)

Next week sees another event in Tokyo, the "Web 2008 Expo". Organised by SNS XShibuya, the byline for the event is something along the lines of "The Vision of a Web Era the Japan Sends to the World" .... fascinating!

XShibuya is an area-based invite-only SNS started in July 2006 by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), designed to match up "Creators" in the Shibuya area of Tokyo for business opportunities. The site is operated by the Greater Shibuya Area Creator Matching LLP (!) ( 広域渋谷圏クリエイターマッチング有限責任事業組合 ) , which seems to be backed by Otsuka Shokai, Takara Tomy, Total Brain and others, and is headed up by Shuji Honjo, a VC from Net Service Ventures.


Presenting ... Twitterlater - the future of microblogging...

... or rather, microblogging in the future!

Recently I have started working on some pet projects around social networking and personal data control. It's been about 4 years since I actually designed, built and released a whole web site, so in order to ease myself back into the whole www-facing thing, I thought I would try wheeling out a low impact app in an afternoon.

I use twitter quite a lot, and find it great for passive news gathering, and occasional communications. I thought it would be nice if you could schedule your tweets in the future, for reminders, or perhaps some kind of game or promotion.

So after lunch yesterday, I set about putting together just such a thing. Several hours later, and http://twitterlater.com/ was born. It is a simple site that allows you to set a time in the future (currently UTC only, but I'm working on it ...) or a countdown timer to a tweet, and have it posted then. If you're interested, please go and kick the tires... it's very beta, but the initial basic functions should be working.

Not 5 minutes after I uploaded the site, I was back on Twitter where Tim O'Reilly and Eric Burke were discussing their desire for a service that would spread out "bursty" tweets - people like Robert Scoble have good content, but sometimes they tweet in bulk, pushing everyone else's tweets off the page... drip feeding tweets to help this issue is now on the road map. Please let me know if there is anything like that you'd find useful.

Oh ... and as you can probably see from the logo, If anyone would like to contribute some high-end pixel-mongering to my look and feel ... shout out!

New Context Conference 2008 - Day 1

Joi Ito and Digital Garage held their 4th "New Context Conference" at Garden Hall in Ebisu Garden Place last week. The event is free of charge, and the fact that DG can pull together such a wide variety of speakers - primarily from companies in which they have an interest - is testament to the breadth of their portfolio.

The theme for this year's two day conference was the "Open Business Network" that the Internet allows.


Business Blog and SNS World 2008

I am at Tokyo BigSight right now for Business Blog and SNS World 2008.   The midday session that Andrew and I led went very well.  Despite the terrible weather and a smaller than expected turnout for the event, we had about 120 to 150 people come along to the session.

After the MC's introduction, first up I introduced the session survey.  I put together a simple mobile based survey system for the event, and projected a QRCode onto the screen.  This went pretty well, and about 30 people responded in the first few minutes.  Then I talked about the network event we are running this evening, and launched into the panel discussion.

Andrew was moderator, and the panelists did most of the talking.  45 minutes was soon up, and I presented the real-time survey results.   Although there was Q&A time at the end, no-one had questions.

In the green room

With Andrew Shuttleworth

The Panel

The eSynapse Booth



Brainstorming dinner for Business Blog and SNS World 08 Session

Last month, eSynapse was approached to put together a session for Business Blog and SNS World 08 at BigSight from May 28th to 30th.

With only a few days to settle on the session content, we quickly decided to do a panel discussion on Open Data and Mashups, and how they relate to the event main topic.  The session is on the 29th (Thu) from 12:00 to 12:45.

I pulled together a collection of industry colleagues to participate, and Andrew Shuttleworth from Tokyo2Point0 volunteered to moderate the session.  


Facebook Developer Garage

CA340028I went along to the "Facebook Developer Garage" at an event space in Harajuku.  There was a fairly basic introduction to Facebook Applications given solely in English :( , followed by free wine and snacks, and then a series of talks from local developers of Facebook apps.  I hung around to see Junya Ishihara present his "Kanji-Fandom" application, and Yuki from OnGMap informs me that there were three more demos after that, followed by a bit of networking time.



Presented LIMS Ecommerce Blogging Platform at Tokyo2Point0

On Tuesday night (2008-04-08), I took a couple of colleagues along to Tokyo2Point0 to present eSynapse to the community.  We just got the call at the end of last week, so we did a short introduction and a demonstration of the Blogging Platform.

Andrew Shuttleworth broadcast the event on UStream, and recorded the session.  The videos are below... We start at about 12:00 into the first clip.


WebCamp on Social Network Portability and BlogTalk2008 Cork, Video Index

Armed with a digital camera and a webcam, I accidentally became a cameraman for BlogTalk2008. Wireless limitations meant that UStream live streaming was shaky at the best of times, and constantly having to shuffle large AVI files off the digital camera meant for a suboptimal experience, but the icing on the cake was accidentally deleting everything from the trip on my notebook the day after I got back to Tokyo! Being too large to go in to the recycle bin, I resorted to buying a utility that got back around half of the videos.

So here we are ... a mixture of my digicam shots and the UStream feed recordings, with a little Picasaweb in for good measure.

WebCamp on Social  Network Portability 2008, Cork, Ireland


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