The Real Privacy of Japanese People
There are many myths about Japan and Japanese contemporary culture but one certainty is that "standing out" is still frowned upon. So perhaps it is not surprising that when you ask people about the nature of privacy and their concerns about it given that today's prevalence of social media it seems inevitable that Japanese people do indeed seem more conservative and more concerned than those in other nations.
By Dave McCaughan
There Is No Global Common Sense About Privacy To understand those differences, we recently undertook a global study across 17 nations looking at the Truth about Privacy. The study involved in-depth discussions with people of all groups from 15 to 60 and in six nations including Japan, a detailed internet survey of 1,000 respondents. The results clearly indicate that privacy is not the same anymore, anywhere.
We are living in a world with new privacy norms. Driven by factors like the all pervasive nature of technology, the increased openness of celebrity culture, and the subsequent "end of embarrassment" all revolving around the nature of social networking as a constant in normal life. It is affecting the way we deal with our communities, our friends and our work.
Globally we found that people who do not participate in social media now feel a need to defend this decision because it is now seen as "unusual" not to do so. That was certainly the case in Japan where the great majority of people have been using semi-smart phones with SNS and blogger software for a decade. A few years ago Japanese became the most common blogging language in the world, according to Digerati one third of all blogs were written in Japanese, slightly higher than English. Why? Because unlike mobile phones elsewhere the majority of Japanese people had phones that allowed them to blog on the run. Hence their blog entries were and are much shorter and much more about brief comments on what they were doing "right now" rather than blogs in the West, which tended to be longer and more about points of view. In the last three years smartphones and the rise of Twitter have seen the rest of the world fall into a format of "personally sharing" that is similar to that initially launched in Japan. And of course it is part of the reason Japanese people have so quickly migrated to Twitter.
Meanwhile the majority people around the world have found new ways to indulge their nosiness:
- 4 in 10 people have looked at online photos of people they hardly know. (slightly less in Japan )
- A third have googled people they hardly know to find out personal details. (slightly less in Japan )
- A quarter have read a friend/ partner's text messages. (slightly more in Japan )
- 1 in 10 are reading someone's diary and that is just the people who admit to it. (slightly less in Japan ).
What are some of the significant differences between Japan and the rest of the world? It was very clear from the Truth about Privacy research that while concerns are universal we can see a distinct pattern where "southern" or more developing countries like India