RCR Wireless reports that Japanese users have thrown over social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter for a more anonymous social networking experience. Japan internet users are, instead, using the website MIXI to do their social networking. MIXI allows it’s users to sign up anonymously as everyone was able to in the early days of chatting. Chatting was the only way to network effectively with people in the early days of the internet. It appears that Japan wishes to continue with that tradition rather than reveal to the entire world who they are.
Anonymity hasn’t been allowed on social networking sites like MySpace, FaceBook or Twitter since their inception. People in the United States and other countries have accepted that as part of the growing and changing world of the internet. Japan hasn’t fallen into that trap as of yet. There is a lot to be said for anonymity on the internet. If you consider how much has changed since the beginning of the internet, you might realize that before everyone knew exactly who everyone else was, things were much “nicer”. People didn’t harass other people nearly as often. There was always the chance that you would run across someone who wasn’t being honest, but that still exists today along with all the other problems of not being an anonymous entity on the internet.
There is nothing wrong with having a web presence. The problem is, you don’t have any privacy when you allow your real identity to be known. Privacy is a different matter than just being anonymous because you want to cause problems. For instance, if you join a dating site, you can have a nickname to use instead of letting the entire world know that you are looking for love on the internet. There are several reasons why a person might choose to remain anonymous. This is a growing concern considering the fact that many employers now use the information they find on social networking sites as part of their decision on whether to hire you or not. Information on social networking sites can also be used as evidence in court cases which is getting more widespread throughout the United States.
MIXI made it possible for Japanese internet users to have an anonymous place to meet their friends and family without repercussions for anything they say or do. It also gives them a chance to meet new people online without the worry about whether that person is a stalker or not. Social networking in the United States and other countries similar to it are very open. Our information is all over the internet. Google your name to see what comes up. Don’t forget to put your town in the search bar as well as your name to get the best results. You might be amazed to find that your name, photos and other items are across the internet in places you never expected to find them. Other sites grab the information and cling to it. You may have never even been on the site and your name can show up on it.
United States internet users could learn a lesson from internet users in Japan who aren’t falling into the FaceBook/Twitter social networking realm. Anonymity should play, at least, a small role in our social networking activities. The only thing about being anonymous is that even the people we know may not be able to find us unless we give them specific information to find us. It sometimes pays to be a little cautious when it comes to our internet activities.