Mobile SNS from the Perspective of Human Self-Extension
Roman Y. Shtykh (Waseda University, Japan), Qun Jin (Waseda University, Japan), Shunichi Nakadate (Waseda University, Japan), Norihiro Kandou (Waseda University, Japan), Takeshi Hayata (Waseda University, Japan) and Jianhua Ma (Hosei University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2009
Mobile social networking services (MoSNS) are a yet unexplored environment for human networked socialization. By introducing the concept of self-extension in this chapter, we emphasize the necessity for a human participant to materialize his or her daily pursuits that are partially realized through virtual communication and interaction. We argue that mobile social networking services potentially best fit each participant’s self-extension desire as compared to personal-computer-based ones by describing and analyzing the state of the art of mobile social networking services in Japan and discussing mobile SNS peculiarities to support our view. Further, we envision the emerging of new mobile multimedia with the evolution of mobile SNS and discuss challenges and issues that have to be addressed in order to realize a mobile social networking breakthrough.
State Of The Art Of Mobile Sns In Japan
Japan is well known for its cellular phone sales incentive system that makes possible selling multimedia-rich high-tech handsets at discount rates, or even giving them out for free. The system is not unique and can be observed in other countries such as the UK and Germany, but it stimulated the wide use of cellular phones; an increase in a variety of functionalities such as one-segment television, wallet phone, pictograph symbols, and others; and fast migration to third-generation networks. Informally, cellular phone (“keitai denwa” in Japanese) is shortened to “keitai.” This phenomenon emphasizes the decreasing role of the cellular phone as a pure telephone device and accentuates the importance of other nontelephone functionalities. According to the investigations conducted by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the number of people who use cellular phones as a voice communication facility only continues to decrease, while the number of people who access the Internet through their cellular phones increased up to 70.86 million during 2006 (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan). Another interesting investigation is done by MMD Research Institute. Polling almost 10,000 people, the institute found out that about 44% of them almost never use telephone call functionality, and about 35% use it less than three times a day. This phenomenon can be explained by indispensability of the cellular phone as a handy tool for e-mail communication and Internet browsing in Japan, where the spread of the early Internet was rather slow (Matsuda, Ito & Okabe, 2006).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Human Social Self-Extension: Materialization of socially motivated human needs with the final purpose to be socially recognized. Self-extension can be realized in many ways, such as communication, the result of which is an individual’s identity recognition.
Mobagetown: Japan’s popular gaming and SNS site running exclusively for mobile devices with more than 6 million users (as of June 2007).
Mixi: Japan’s biggest social networking service (SNS) with more than 10 million users (as of May 2007).
Keitai: Another name widely used for a cellular phone in Japan. It is thought to emphasize the decreasing role of a handset as a purely telephone device and accentuate the importance of its nontelephone functionalities.
Social Networking Services (SNS): Community-oriented Web site (set of services) supporting and promoting social networks of people with similar interests or people engaged in similar activities and interested in exploring interests and activities of others.
Mobile Social Networking Services (MoSNS): Social networking services (SNS) realized in mobile context.
Self-Extension: Natural behavior of any living organism, the result of which is its reproduction.
Reading Runaway Ban (Reading-only Prohibition): Phenomenon showing the mental gap between old and new generations of social networking service (SNS) users. It is a controversy about whether it is common sense for an SNS user to leave another user’s page without writing any comments after reading it. Those who are relatively new to SNS insist that writing comments is common sense, and old SNS users think differently—it is up to a user whether to write comments.