parity postponed -- pointless pursuits with Twitter

Jonathan Browne

Warning - This may be the most trivial thing I've ever blogged. Stop reading now if you're looking for insights into customer experience, business strategy or anything of value really.

A few months back I started to use Twitter in earnest. (Before that, I only ever tweeted that I was updating Twitter, but some serious people started to follow my tweets and the joke wore thin).

I have to confess, I still don't know why I should Tweet. I do it because I feel a need to be involved with new media and it's there and it doesn't take up much time. However, I don't derive great pleasure from it and it hasn't altered the way I behave... at least, nothing like as much as Digg, Facebook, Delicious, iGoogle and other social media did. Things got easier when I started to use Tweetdeck instead of Twitter's web interface. Pretty soon I intend to download a solution to my mobile device, so that I can take snaps, post them to Twitpic or Flickr and I guess it would be easier still if I used some software to automate Tweets like Guy Kawasaki and other ueber-Twitterers seem to, but that doesn't feel right to me.

More experienced Twitterers, like my colleague Jeremiah, have spent time to work out how firms can use the medium to engage with customers and promote their brands.

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Moving to London

Jonathan Browne

Dear Clients, Partners and Friends,

Please excuse this impersonal message: It seems to be the most efficient way to inform everyone that I am transferring to the Forrester Research London Research Centre. In London I will continue to work as a member of Forrester's Customer Experience research team, supporting Customer Experience professionals. I will be writing research with a European perspective, while keeping an eye on some Customer Experience trends in Japan.

Regarding my schedule - I'm traveling to London next week to find a place to live and set myself up in Forrester's London office. I'll return to Tokyo briefly in early April. And I'll be in London full time from late April. I apologize for not making an earlier announcement of this move.

I want to thank you for your support since I've been working in Japan. From establishing Forrester's presence in Tokyo to becoming an analyst and helping to introduce personas to Japanese companies, the last eight years have been filled with wonderful experiences and opportunities, I feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with so many brilliant and inspiring clients and partners in Japan.

During the next few weeks, the best way to contact me is by email: jbrowne@forrester.com
You can also connect with me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanbrowne
Or follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jonathanbrowne

Please stay in touch.

Best Regards,
JB
Jonathan Browne | Senior Analyst | Forrester Research || e: jbrowne@forrester.com |

007 1/2 - License to drive a 29 seat bus

Jonathan Browne

Today I went to renew my driver's license.

The Japanese system is radically different from the system in my home country. Back in the UK, we take a test at the age of 17 and then the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) lets us drive until we're well past retirement age with no further testing or hoops to jump through. The Japanese system of periodic checks always seemed more sensible to me.

Since I've avoided any accidents or offenses in the last two years, I qualify for a "GOLD" license, which is valid for five years. It wasn't terribly hard for me to avoid prangs and misdemeanors -- I don't think I've driven a car on more than a dozen occasions in the last two years.

Drivers_license_personal_data_conce

The latest generation Japanese driver's license features an IC chip that contains some personal data (the family register location). By encoding this information and not displaying it, the Japanese authorities hope to protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of identity theft. If you want to see the data that's stored on your card, you can view it by using a special kiosk at the license renewal center. However, you will need to remember your 8 digit PIN. (Good luck with that).

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Japan loses interest in Social Networking?

Jonathan Browne

Jeff Lippold at Diamond Agency has written a post to examine some new data from Synovate that suggests that Japan may be losing interest in Social Networking.

I need to read the Synovate report for myself, and I will look at the next results from Forrester's surveys of Japanese consumers to see if I see the same thing... Can't do that right now, I'm afraid.

I think Jeff is spot on with his view that Japanese Social Computing is often Web1.0 at heart. In particular, I agree with his observation that anonymity and lack of segmentation (trying to cater for the "general population") hold back the possibilities for Social Computing.

Could Japan's fickle consumers decide that SNS was just another fad and "move on"?

Somehow I cannot imagine it. (Move on to what? Long socks and tiramisu?). Is it possible to have a "camel" shaped adoption curve...?

Japan & Korea prefer anonymous social computing

Jonathan Browne

Chang-Won Kim reports that Korea's top actress, Jin-sil Choi, has just taken her own life. It seems that she was deeply hurt by anonymous comments leveled at her online:

Chang makes the point that social media need a more robust system of identity and reputation to support online interaction -- so that communities have ways to freeze out irresponsible and hateful individuals.

I think this is a particularly serious issue in countries like Korea and Japan. In these countries, where "real life" society is quite buttoned up, people turn to online forums to let off steam anonymously. For example, Japan's social networks (such as Mixi) tend to be anonymous and the most famous bulletin board, 2-channel is full of posts under the identity "No Name". Many Japanese people feel that this anonymity protects their privacy and liberates them to say what they really think.

I remember a conversation that I had a few months ago with a Japanese technology blogger who hides his "real life" identity. His technology blogging struck me as inoffensive (and brilliant), so I couldn't understand why he asks people to refrain from taking his photograph and why he dons a disguise before making a speech in public. (It sounds like a comedy about the mafia... right?) He told me that he feels a need to stay anonymous, even for his politically neutral blog.

I wonder if it will always be this way? I hope that more people in Japan will see the value of social media where online identities are associated with offline identities. That seems to be the surest way to ensure that people behave responsibly.

[On an unrelated note - I have heard that the email subscription software on this blog has been sending out multiple emails with the same information. I'm trying to get that fixed as soon as possible].

changes to my internet banking account

Jonathan Browne


130 pages of information from MUFG to tell me about changes to my internet banking account

Bloggers' Dinner in Tokyo - Oct 22, 2008 (Wed)

Jonathan Browne

Jeremiahowyang_5My colleague, Jeremiah Owyang is coming to Japan so we're going to have an informal, no-host bloggers' dinner on Wednesday, October 22nd in Tokyo.

Jeremiah is a senior analyst at Forrester Research. He helps interactive marketers get to grips with Social computing, Social media measurement, Web marketing, and Interactive marketing. He also writes an excellent blog of his own - Web Strategy by Jeremiah.

Our plan for the evening is that Jeremiah will talk for about 20 minutes to share some insights on trends in social computing. And then we hope to have a stimulating discussion on any topics that interest us -- in other words, all things social. No sales pitches allowed!

If you want to attend, please contact Ritsuko Tague at rtague@forrester.com with your name, company name, email address and the URL of your blog by October 3rd.

<Bloggers' Dinner in Tokyo>

Date & Time :  Wednesday, October 22nd,  19:00-21:00

Location:  FUJIMAMAS, 6-3-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo    MAP

Tel: 03.5485.2283

Cost:  4,000JPY - includes an Asian Tapas buffet and free bar (nomihodai).

Attendees: 20-25 bloggers

Agenda:

19:00-19:20 Jeremiah's welcome speech

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Categories:

Chinese food scandals

Jonathan Browne

A change in tone for my blog today. This story with links is more to do with Corporate Social Responsibility than Customer Experience. It just happens to be what's on my mind right now...

If it weren't for the financial melt down, I'm sure that the tainted milk scandal would be top of the news agenda in Japan today. This isn't the first time that the safety of Chinese products has come into question - and it won't be the last.

If customers don't trust your company, it's bound to be bad for business. The FEER blog points to a noodle shop in Hong Kong, which is seeking to reassure customers by printing expiry dates on the noodles themselves.

But how does one deal with a collapse of trust in an entire country? Whenever a new scare threatens Chinese exports, we hear about new legislation, increased inspections, and draconian punishments. But it seems that the underlying problems are endemic and can't be easily rooted out.

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