Notice from Mixi (or, “How do we know we know each other?”)





Mixi says that my invitation function is currently disabled, notifying that they ban the act of inviting, in public, someone I don’t “know” such as in the bulletin board. In my previous post (a blog, that is), I showed how to set up a mixi account in a tutorial style but I didn’t say that I will send an invitation, even though many have asked me to do so.

I think It is at best ambiguous as to if I am the one who invited the person that I don’t know; and without defining the act of “knowing” means in this context (menshiki no nai or 面識のない in Japanese again still ambiguous even in its original language.) All I can say is many if not most online friends (i dare call so) are those I haven’t met in person. Especially in an ‘open is the new proprietary’ world, I think mixi should be more clear on this.

Update: I think the real question that MIXI should ask is how do we know we know each other? I bet a substantial portion of maimiku (buddy or friend by invitation or by authorization) don’t, in fact, know each other; yet, the meaning of “know” might vary among the users of that particular term.

Update2: I learned mixi joined openID project with a bunch of other prestigious internet players in Japan.  But not sure how they will solve the problem like this.

Find folks via gmail being disabled, tentatively or what?

I have found “find folks via gmail” feature in twitter, linkedin, facebook, and plaxo quite powerful and, as Fred Wilson described, inherent in social networking.  To me, the situation is, in a way, the gmail database being utilized (exploited?)by other platforms especially facebook, which is a threat and do not nesecacrily benefit to Google.

Yet it is a trurism that gmail in particular and email address in general is the engine of social networking platform. It might not be a win-win situation for Google and other platforms.

A few days ago, I just realized this feature is disabled in all the platforms I use and, according to twitter, due to a change in gmail contact system.


What gyao doesn’t get is one of Japan fastest growing free of charge video streaming services, with a registered membership of 9.6 million+. Despite its self-proclaimed success, it, too, has the typical “directory” type user interface, akin to Yahoo’s. Might be comfortable to those who are accustomed to viewing TV by channel. At the same time, it will limit its growth in its own right. What a significant contrast to the user interface of YouTube.

Update: graph In addition, if they’d listen to what Joshusa Schachter preaches here (via himazu blog), would not have made it a mandatory for a new user to fill in all the profile information at the time of registration. It is a total waste of every opportunity; by no means worth the effort of anybody. But I understand a client generally likes it; but it is our job to convince the client not to pursue whatever won’t work. Note amazon would not ask any of these. Nor does flickr, nor does, dor does youtube, so on and so forth. It’s only tagging, not profiling.

MIXI account setup

Update^3: Sorry folks

Update^2: Someone, actually one of my maimiku, told me that such mobile mail address restriction applies only to IP address allocated to Japan. Hence no such restrictions to apply otherwise, it seems.

Update: For those who are getting an invitation, make sure you have a valid mobile mail account from one of those Japanese mobile carriers; notably, docomo, au, softbank, tsuka, willcom, etc. Now, mixi requires both your email account and your mobile mail account validated before they will issue a new mixi account. I know they are concerned about security; however, looking at the entire social media landscape from MySpace to facebook, which are getting open at least on the new member acquisition,

I think this move dismisses the potential of the Internet; that is, the potential being that location doesn’t matter and our hobby and interests (I have noted a lot of anime lovers overseas) distributed long tail across cultures around the globe. Mixi spread via word-of-mouth, viral, just like every other successful social media services. Did you know one of the fastest growing nations are China and India? Not Japan, whose population had just started to decline ahead of other advanced nations like Germany, Italy, US, or France. Now it in effect prevents folks overseas from signing up the new account. How sad.

An invitation letter..


The profile of the person who invites you..


Fill in your profile and apply. This screen shot is the old one. The new one requires your mobile phone mail address right after the PC (or mac) mail account. Both mail addresses will later be validated before activating the new mixi account. That almost means you need to be living in Japan and have a mobile phone with email enabled. Good luck.


Return to mixi tutorial . (for those who have joined mixi already.)

After you’ve set up your account, also refer to other operations:

sending a new message

receiving a new message.

creating ashiato cho in your diary

checking ashiato

disjoining Mixi


I prepared also the Tutorial Home at flickr:



While I have not been explicitly conscious about mixiGraph until a few days ago when one of my MAIMIKU, Ben, introduced it in his diary at mixi, I would say mixiGraph is such an amazingly powerful tool. It shows the diagram of your MAIMIKU families.

Here is how it works (I prepared this especially for non-native-Japanese MIXI users, with win XP, I think for MAC it is more or less the same.):

Make sure you are logged in to MIXI.

1. Go to

2. Click mixiGraph.exe underneath Windows版, ダウンロード&インストール

3. Save the program in your PC and run it.

4. The diagram should come up, with yourself centered surrounded by your MAIMIKU members. The arrow connecting any two faces indicates the MAIMIKU relationship.

5. Click, then, one of your MAIMIKU members.

6. Yet another diagram should expand: now you have two diagrams, one for yourself and another for one of your MAIMIKU members, with you and your MAIMIKU obviously connected.

7. This way, you can track MAIMIKU’s MAIMIKU’s MAIMIKU’s..all the way down until your PC screen gets small enough and might find MAIMIKU’s MAIMIKU’s happens to be MAIMIKU of another MAIMIKU. (Note: Ashitao or footprint will not be notified.) When all the diagrams can not be shown in the screen, use right-click and choose [A]全体を表示 to show them all in the screen.

Not surprisingly, there is the dedicated community inside MIXI with 7,154 members. Of course, I have joined it. It seems mixiGraph itself is developed by its community leader, Koji Sugimoto.

A proposal for MIXI

Since I started reading Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble (not yet finished, because I am very slow), I have been wondering how a blog can be used as a corporate communication tool, especially as a customer contact center. One of the difficulties with using a blog is, however, that any visitors can be anonymous and the comments can be irresponsible. Yet I’ve seen many corporations hesitate to use direct conversation tools such as BBS, as their way to directly communicate with their customers. Historically the corporations have, then, preferred the dialogue to be offline rather than online, which is often public. The inquiries have been handled by telephone and kept private. But now with the ever growing blogosphere, that will be less and less the case as we’ve observed such claims brought up in the blogosphere and got public and largely visible like in the case for Dell made by Jeff Jarvis last summer. That means the corporations will be more and more required to publicly talk with customers online or the dialogue gets public even/especially when they don’t want to. If that’s hard to accomplish overnight, then why not try the somewhat interim solution?

Then I thought of MIXI, Japan’s orkut, which I believe can be modified for that purpose. For, at MIXI the contents are open only inside MIXI (yet quite high in reach), all the participants become member via invitation and identified to some extent, and less worry about unidentified or irresponsible comments. Therefore, the corporations can be more aggressive and honest in talking with the customers, while maintaining quite a high reach. Note, as of this writing, its cumulative membership is 3,360,970 (including withdrawals), representing, in terms of subscription, about 33% of Japan’s largest newspaper, Yomiuri Shinbun (=10,082,425 copies). Inside MIXI, fan communities are abundant and run by, of course, volunteers: YouTube (2,596), COACH (fashion accessories, 5,074), Nintendo DS (6,388), SKYPE (10,564), to give you a few example, note: the number inside () is membership.

Suppose if MIXI were to offer the corporate services such that the corporations officially can have the direct contact point with its customers (blog-alike posts and comments, akin to the personal diary it currently offers for conventional users for free of charge), while making posts and communities searchable via its internal search engine. Then, at a premium, it might even offer the service pretty much like Google’s adwords or overture listing ad, with the search results highlighted at the top of the page inside MIXI.

I believe then it, in a way, answers the scale issue of the social networking ad that Jason Calcanis raised (via MIT Advertising Lab)

The problem with event-marketing is, of course, that it is very expensive (think $100-1,000 a person) and you can only reach a small number of people at a time (think 100-1,000 people). Compare that to a TV commercial, radio ad, or Internet ad where you can reach someone for pennies a person–and millions of people at a time. Clearly the future of social networking is making online event marketing scale.


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Update: Thanks Ben for pointing me at the interesting article.

mixi reached over 3 millon membership

According to the company press release (in Japanese), MIXI has reached over 3-million membership. Addiotional 1 million have just been added over the past 84 days since December 2005. If you are interested in MIXI, please also visit my lens at squidoo.

Here is interesting MIXI user profile included in the press release:


membership growth, originally uploaded by okusour.


age mix, originally uploaded by okusour.

Update: I’ve found, via furl, quite an interesting post by a 43-year old Japanese guy (hey, I am 42 now:)), blogging about MIXI in English.

Age group
10’   6.0%  (4.9%)  [4.2%]
20~24 37.2% (33.8%) [28.8%]
25~29 26.4% (28.4%) [30.3%]
30~34 16.1% (17.6%) [19.6%]
35~39  7.1%  (7.7%)  [8.7%]
40~44  3.2%  (3.5%)  [3.8%]
45~49  1.4%  (1.4%)  [1.5%]
50~   2.6%  (2.7%)  [3.1%]
*inside ( ) stats as of Dec 2005 when the size was 200 million, inside [ ], as of August 2005 when the size was 100 million
Male  51.1% (52.2%) [55.2%]
Female 48.9% (47.8%) [44.8%]

March     600
April     4,300
May    10,000
Jun    21,000
July    36,000
Aug    56,000
Sep    81,000
Oct   118,000
Nov   157,000
Dec   207,000

Jan 2005   257,000
Feb    328,000
Mar    402,000
Apr    494,000
May    588,000
Jun   708,000
Jul    843,000
Aug   1,000,000
Sep   1,168,000
Oct  1,379,000
Nov   1,654,000
Dec   1,948,000

Jan 2006   2,238,000
Feb   2,626,000
Mar    3,003,000
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, originally uploaded by .

What can MIXI do for you ? – Part II

Mixi is a social networking community site operating in Japanese language in Japan. Its feature pretty much resembles in that the membership is by invitation only and it thereby felicitates discussion by diary or interest community and peer-to-peer friendships along the way. Because each member is forced to be identified to some extent by the system, she or he can remain less anonymous and hence is put in more secured environments than conventional internet world or blogging. I particularly like “Ashiato足跡 function, which is the trace automatically notified in the log whenever someone visits my personal page within MIXI, which makes it easy to initiate discussion. Thanks to that, my MY MIXI (or, “MAIMIKU” for short in Japanese, the equivalent of “add me as a friend” in orkut) now grows to 13. Bacause of that nature, I feel the psychological distance among members more close and the conversation more deep inside MIXI than those taking place outside (blogging).

For what it’s worth, its current membership is 2,895,360. In terms of subscription base, it is equivalent of about 29% of Yomiuri or about 35% of Asahi, the two of Japan’s largest newspapers.

Update: This is part I of the same topic in Japanese. Here is a lens called “What can mixi do for you?” at squidoo.

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FON (フォン?)

先日、BuzzMachineで紹介されていたPanelに、あるスペイン・アルゼンチンの起業家 Martin Varsavskyという人が参加していた。そこでの発言がおもしろかったので、調べてみると、FONという無線電話サービスをやっている人でそのアドバイザリー・ボードには伊藤穣一さんも入っていた。そうこうしているうちに、joi.itoでもその話題が。どうもGoogle, Skype, その他のベンチャーキャピタルが資本参加したという。日本ではまだサービス開始していないそうですが、楽しみですね。既存電話会社 vs.インターネット企業という構図も面白いです。



ミクシィのなかにFONというコミュをつくってみました。現在8人です、よかったらどうぞ :)

Join the FON movement!

Update:昨日付けのWSJでFONのアドバイザーになったブロガーへの批判記事が。さっそくその一人であるブロガーが反論 取り急ぎ(←まだ読んでません)Varsavskyが自らのブログでコメント。しかるべき開示は行っていると。さらに、今回の発表がWSJという既存メディア発ではなく、Varsavskyのブログ発だったということへのこだわりの説明も。一枚上手という感じですね。

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ロイターの記事 (英文

ぼくにとって長い間 、謎(=「何が嬉しィの?」) だった、del.icio.usですが最近なんとなく使い勝手がわかってきました。なるほど、folksonomies というのはそういうことですか? や でタグ(tag)という機能がありますが、ようはfolk (そこらへんの庶民)が自分勝手に分類する(Tagをつける)というのがミソみたいですね。

Taxonomy (分類)が識者によるTop-down とすればFolksonomiesはまさしくBottom-Upなプロセスといえそうです。最近やっとその意味がうっすらとわかってきました。そして、今日偶然にも でfolksonomyというタグをたどっていったら出会ったサイトが http://43things.comで す。やはり同じようなソーシャル・ネットワークのサイトです。”やりたいこと”や”行きたいところ”のタグで世界中のいろいろな人とつながっていく面白い サイトです。このブログの右下に、ぼくの” I am doing xx things”というのがありますが、それがそうです。

The reason it is not 26, not 6, not 39, but 43 remains a mystery to me..

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