Twitter popularity grows in Japan

SF Gate

Benny Evangelista, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, August 8, 2011

Twitter users in Japan have generated some of the biggest traffic spikes in the microblogging service’s five-year history.

Now a new study may help explain Twitter’s growing popularity in Japan – the short, 140-character tweets may have struck a deep cultural chord because of structural similarities to the country’s traditional, emotive haiku poetry.

“Twitter could be something like haiku was 400 or 500 years ago when it first emerged,” according to Stanford University’s Richard Dasher, an expert in Japanese linguistics.

Dasher was one of several experts who participated in a study that analyzed millions of tweets from Japan in the weeks before, during and after the disastrous March 11 Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami and nuclear crisis.

The study, which also included interviews with experts and citizens in Japan, was conducted by brand strategy company Bassett & Partners of San Francisco and interTrend Communications, a Long Beach agency that specializes in marketing to Asian countries.
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