Monday, January 17, 2011

What does Facebook's slow adoption in Japan mean for #techcomm?

Apparently Facebook has not caught on as widely in Japan as it has here. I found this article fascinating:
Facebook Wins Relatively Few Friends in Japan -

Being in the telecommunications field for so long, I've been used to thinking of Japan as on the leading edge, not the trailing edge. I've also been used to thinking that having a strong presence in Japan was crucial for business. Also, I've been reading recently that tech companies are starting to adopt Facebook as the portal to their technical documentation.  Much of what I've been reading in the techcomm groups on LinkedIn or in the blogosphere not only has content migrating to social media, but also has context senstive help going the way of the dodo. So in my tech writer head, I got to wondering how migrating technical content to Facebook and Twitter is going to play in Japan.

Will American companies have a hard time getting Japanese customers on board with turning to Facebook for instructions on how to configure their switches/routers/SBCs/firewalls or test their enterprise VoIP systems? For that matter, how well is the move to social techcomm going over with American customers in that space? It's one thing to have hitting F1 in your application take you to the company's web site instead of to the online help, but it's a whole 'nother thing to have F1 take you to a Facebook page, especially if you're not a Facebook user.

In addition to taking translation into account when we're creating content, will we now have to take into account different attitudes toward social media? I don't have an answer. I'm just asking the question.  Have any readers out there in the techcomm community had experience with migrating your doc portal to social when you have a large market presence in Japan? I'd love to hear about it.

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