Twitter main social media choice of Japanese youth, says survey

A national poll of Japanese in the ages of 19 to 20 years shows over 40 percent use Twitter

A poll of young Japanese Internet users showed Twitter is by far their most popular social network, with many saying they want to try Facebook in the future.

The survey shows that 42.5 percent of those around 20 years of age use Twitter more than any other networking site. Only 13 percent of respondents said Facebook was their favorite. The survey was jointly conducted by Nifty, a Japanese search engine, comnico, an online marketing firm, and Lifemedia, a service that pays users to take online polls.

When asked which service they would most like to try, 41 percent answered Facebook. The young respondents said they wanted to use the site for expanding their horizons, such as job hunting and meeting people outside of Japan

Twitter's popularity in Japan is well known, as is the hyper activity of local users. Japan set a record with 25,088 tweets per second in 2011 during a television screening of the movie "Castle in the Sky," and more recently Japan and South Korea jointly accounted for 33,388 on the morning of Jan. 1. Japanese is also the second most popular language on the site.

The survey shows that while Twitter is thought to be most popular with older generations that use it for business and news, it is also a favorite among younger users. One reason for this is the site's ease of use with mobile phones, which for many students remains the main path to the Internet.

The bulk of respondents, 84 percent, said they began using social media within the last two years.

Line, a popular group chat platform in Japan that is owned by a South Korean company, also had a strong showing in the results. Mainly accessed by mobile apps, it came in as the second most popular behind Twitter and rated as the number two new service that respondents would like to try in the future.

The poll was conducted online from Dec. 19 to Dec. 25, with 776 respondents, all born in 1992 or early 1993. It was timed to coincide with Japan's "Coming-of-Age" holiday, a national tradition in which mainly 20-year-olds mark their passage into adulthood with formal ceremonies and parties.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
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