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.

A blog is a home

to be sure, blog is personal as advocated by many such as dave winer. so i used to think Blog=Person. The notion of “home” and “away” applies here. On the other hand, the emerging messaging tools such as Twitter and Tumblr are making that notion irrelevant, where there is essentially no “home” or “away.” Thats why tumblr not having “comment” feature.

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.


who is mixi id =1?

Interestingly, it is MIXI CTO and id=2 is its president . Obviously, the Word of Mouth (WOM) spread from these two guys, via invitation after invitation after invitation.

By the way, the face of mySpace Tom immediately becomes your friend upon signing up with mySpace:

While Mixi is by-invitation only and mySpace is free to join, seems the key persons at MIXI and mySpace are equally open and friendly to its members. It is interesting to see how mySpace will tailor its openness and friendliness to Japanese SNS market and generate WOM, when they will enter Japan’s SNS market (via Gen Kanai blog) this fall with the 50:50 partinership with softbank.

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.

The bottom page

It might not be Yahoo alone, but most of us have long been accustomed to organizing information in a hierarchical manner, breaking the whole into pieces or parts by directory, so that we are comfortable calling the starting page “the top page.” toppage

It is time to think in the opposite. Why not call it “the bottom page,” from which we initiate queries and update our boundaries as we move up along the way.



reminded me of my favorite quote by Kevin Kelly, which Tom Peters often uses in his presentation slide  (see p19):

The wealth in not gained by perfecting the known, but rather imperfectly seizing the unknown

User interface is a passion

“User interface is a passion.”

No, he didn’t use that phrase in his presentation. Or, might not even think so by himself. But that’s what I read from the presentation made by the founder of, Joshusa Schachter. Somewhat technical, but nothing technical in the spirit, worth listenning even if you are not a web programmer (and I am not) but seriously concerned with the user interface of any consumer technology tool. Follow the link the future of web apps for MP3 audio (about 40 minutes, February 2006), via himadzu blog.

And here is Steve Rubel’s interview with Joshusa Schatcher, December 2005, for your reference.

Why hesitate?

Among Japan’s major newspapers, Yomiuri, Asahi, and Nikkei, I could not find any XML or RSS guidances in their respective top pages, whereas it is so easy with nytimes.  

On the other hand, both (my yahoo) and Google ( personalized page ) make it easy to add Asahi and Nikkei feeds in their RSS feeds readers.  This morning, I found it very hard to add asahi and nikkei feeds into my, which I have been using since then.  Finally I was able to add them only after I googled (for example) “nikkei rss.”  Why would the Japanese newspapers hesitate to promote RSS feeds?


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.