Work in Japan Advice Board
Facebook only started in February 2004, when then 19 year-old Mark Zukerberg launched a web service from his dorm room at Harvard, which was billed as “an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges.”
Now just seven lucky years later, Facebook is a phenomena that is changing the face of our world, and how we connect to people in it. One in every 12 people on the planet has a Facebook account, and they communicate in 75 languages! An often quoted statistic is that if Facebook were a country, it would have the world’s third largest population, only behind China and India. In 2010 Facebook surpassed Google in the United States for the greatest number of hits, and in addition to its over 550 million strong network, Facebook is growing by about 700,000 people a day, close to 500 people a minute! Though it started as an online network for U.S. College students, now over 70% of Facebook users live outside of the United States.
Now at 26, Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s youngest multi-billionaire. He was appointed 2010 Person of the Year by TIME Magazine, and was featured in the strangely real and partly fictional Hollywood film biography of his life with and since the launch of Facebook, Social Network, which has become a hot topic of conversation, like the phenomenon which he started.
In some countries, a significant portion of the population is on Facebook, 47% of the population in the United States, 44% in England, 45% in Taiwan, 43% in Australia, with other countries such as Turkey, Italy, and Argentina having around 30% of their population on Facebook. Compared to this, only 1.5% of Japan’s population is on Facebook, but that still represents 1,854,800 people, and considering the rate of growth in other countries, Japan is sure to catch up quickly.
Facebook is already changing the way in which people connect and communicate, particularly among young people, for whom accessing Facebook from a smart phone is almost a routine gesture. Facebook and Twitter are gradually overtaking and replacing e-mail as the primary form of online communication.
Japan is no stranger to Social Networks, with Mixi being the largest at over 20 million members, more than 15% of the Japanese population. Not only the Facebook movie Social Network, but the media and new books in Japanese are rapidly lifting the shroud of mystery around this amazing phenomenon.
DIAMOND Weekly, a Japanese magazine covering business trends did a cover feature special on Facebook in its January 29 issue, which you can still purchase from Amazon at http://budurl.com/37ny. And Kumasaka Hitomi has launched a bestseller in Japanese on Facebook for Business, also available on Amazon at http://budurl.com/s6ky. The author claims that one of the reasons for Facebook’s astonishing success is the simplicity and sociability of the Like button (in Japanese いいね！), which makes it extremely easy to share and spread the word about whatever you find that you like, a photo, a video, a blog post, an event, or even a fan page.
If you are not on Facebook yet and you live in Japan, this might be a good time to join, build a following, and catch the wave as it swells. If you use it right and carefully develop your content, Facebook has tremendous potential to leverage your personal brand, or to give your company a socially friendly web presence that can outperform your company website, as well as access to a significant percent of the population!
Mari Smith is one of the leading Facebook champions, and has an excellent article on the Social Media Examiner called Facebook 101 for Business: Your Complete Guide at, http://budurl.com/fwfa, which can get you started and answer many of the most frequent questions, as well as give you a good strategy to make the best of your Facebook presence.
It is so easy to get on Facebook that many people end up using it at far less than its potential, and the same applies to businesses. The key to increasing your leverage with Facebook is to create a Fan Page, which has the advantage of being accessible to people with or without a Facebook account. The Fan Page is more personal than a website or blog, because it allows you to feature photos, videos, background information, website and blog links, as well as host discussions and post events, all in the same familiar format that is easy to navigate.
However, the default Facebook Fan Page template is fairly plain, so that your Fan Page at first will look just like any other Fan Page, except for your photo, and of course the content if people get that far. I have had a Facebook Fan Page for some time, but the default settings were so ordinary that it even made me yawn to look at it. Seeing the movie got me inspired to give my Facebook Fan Page a good makeover, and you can see the difference before and after at http://ping.fm/qG789, or go directly to the new Fan Page at http://budurl.com/thsr
Have a look, have a like, and add it to your favorites if you want to keep up to date. If you think that a Facebook Fan Page can make a difference in your personal or company branding, and if you want to join the Facebook revolution in style, and even get a logo and consistent branding for your Twitter account, then I recommend contacting the Webchicks in New Zealand who created my Fan Page at: http://budurl.com/3smx
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William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.