Time was when I thought reading blogs (and writing my own) was taking up too much of my time. Then this summer a friend introduced me to Facebook, which started out as a social networking site for university students. Having no time for the vagaries and vicissitudes of MySpace, at first I didn’t really think it was for me. However, I got hooked pretty easily, and tracked down a load of international students I knew from Kansai Gaidai. I think the great advantage of systems like this is that it enables you to keep in touch easily with people you know but haven’t seen in a while. I don’t email that much, and it can be easier to leave a few words on someone’s wall than to compose a long letter to them.
Then, at the start of this year, our Japanese teacher signed us up to Mixi, a Japanese social networking site. I knew about it from a recommendation by the guys at Mutantfrog, which is certainly good enough for me. Mixi has gradually crept into my life, until it threatens to become a full-time obsession like Facebook. It’s a good way to improve your Japanese, as you’re navigating your way through a completely Japanese-language interface, and rather than, say, translating a news story that you can get from the English-language site of that newspaper, Mixi is full of stuff you want to read, from your friends and in the groups you can join.
Of course, does all this virtual socialising leaves little time for a real-world social life? I don’t know. I’ll answer that question when I get back from the Japanese Society Halloween party.