Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mixi is not helping

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it before, but Japan's youth have their own version of MySpace/Facebook called Mixi.

To me it's a bit of a hybrid between MySpace and Facebook, without all the annoying applications. On Facebook, it's kind of expected that you put your real identity to your profile -- you don't get to make believe you're someone else. If you want to join a specific Facebook network, you have to provide proof that you're a part of that network in some way (university networks require a valid university email). You can gain a lot of insight into someone's life just by looking at their Facebook profile. Lots of drinking pictures? Dungeons and Dragons application? Friends spamming The Office quotes? It allows me to fit people into stereotypes that are fairly accurate.

MySpace is a free-for-all these days: a mess of advertising, copy+pasted Facebook features, and fail. You can be who you want to a certain extent. If you're a pretentious emo kid you can be 100x more pretentious with your MySpace profile. I hold onto my account only because I've had it for so long; I'm pushing five years on the same profile. That's longer than like... everyone.

So yeah I buried my lead, sorry. MIXI okay. It's like Facebook in that it's fairly exclusive; you have to be *invited* to Mixi. But I guess after you get in, you can invite yourself over and over again to make new stupid profiles. You can still tell a lot about someone from their friends, their friends' photos, etc. I added one guy as a friend because of the crazy drunk pictures and videos he posted. One thing about Mixi is that you can't make your entire profile private. You will always see some basic information and up to three photos that person uploaded. And the greatest double-edged sword feature Mixi has is profile tracking -- Mixi remembers the last 60(?) people who visited your profile. It made me scared to troll pages at first; I always look at ganguro and pretty boy profiles (they're by far the most entertaining). But now I just don't care.

While I enjoy Mixi and spending hours translating the kanji and grammar found on profiles, it makes me miss Japan. I miss seeing all kinds of crazy hair and fashion, miss the ganguro and the clubs and shopping. It's also become another thing for me to check everyday on top of the other two networking sites, three email accounts, celebrity gossip blogs, and the new non-Blackboard called BlueLine.

But it is fun, provides many LOLz, and may help me remember *some* Japanese. I have some Japanese friends I message using Japanese, so I have to remember grammar and how to conjugate verbs. Even if I can't *write* a certain character, I'm begining to recognize some of the more common ones I never learned in class. And the English... oh it's so funny. The hip-hop boys always have misspelled gangsta terminology, like "huthlerz (lisp much?)" and cuss words that were obviously sounded out. Nothing like doing journalism/grammar/spelling/difficult English all day then sign in to Mixi to see it all thrown out the window.