Judging from the super-heated Twitter exchange between Marxy and Chris Salzberg, you might think the Japanese web were in CRISIS. But in fact this all stems from a recent interview with the author of ウェブ進化論 (Theory of Web Evolution) and IT industry executive Mochio Umeda. In the interview he responds to critics of his recent Twitter that “there are too many stupid postings on Hatena” (a popular Japanese blog/social bookmark service) by saying that “the Japanese web is a disappointment” for reasons he ends up failing to really detail, but that involve a) A basic agreement with critics of the web that it is dominated by “stupid people” b) The failure of the web to develop as a platform for high profile professionals or alpha bloggers (he says that whatever alpha bloggers there are in Japan, there are 100x more in the US), and also has not developed as a system that creates such people or offers chances for advancement, and c) The Japanese web continues to be dominated by “sub-cultures”
The two positions seem to be thus:
Chris: There’s a lot of great stuff going on in the Japanese web, so it doesnt really make sense to criticize it as not working
Marxy: The Japanese web needs to evolve into a place where people can use their real names and have an influence on public discourse instead of hiding in anonymous communities. (A continuation of his Fear of the Internet article)
I for one am not married to one position or another (I feel like I fall somewhere in the middle), but it is definitely a topic that fascinates me. Obviously two Twitterers are not only ones responding to this. A few notable Japanese responses:
Ichiro Yamamoto (writer and former 2ch mucky muck): Umeda was being incoherent (even staying dead silent when asked the question “what areas are wrong with the Japanese web?”) but basically he is just complaining that the web hasnt developed in the way he would like to see it.
Anonymous blogger: Umeda just ran away from the key questions by citing his position as a Director of Hatena. He should not be consulted as someone expected to actually create anything since he is only taking potshots.
Actual Japan alpha blogger (and former Livedoor director) Dan Kogai: Actually there is plenty of noteworthy stuff on the Japanese web, like Cookpad for housewives.
And on and on. Anyway I am just setting this post up so people can post comments on “the state of Japanese web” longer than 140 characters…