Japanese Celebrity Calls for an End to Tweeting after Demos Erupt

Japanese-Celebrity-Calls-for-an-End-to-Tweeting-after-Demos-Erupt-V1.min copy

It was only a matter of time before it happened, but overwhelmed with the sudden and sometimes overwhelming impact that their tweets had on society, some Japanese celebrities are now calling on other celebrities to stop using Twitter.

As social networking websites penetrate every society around the world, every country will at some point be dealing with a variety of issues regarding invasion of privacy, employees getting fired because of their use (or perceived misuse) of social media, and even defamation lawsuits from a tweet.  In Japan, Twitter has become the rage and even Facebook is still challenged in its competition with Mixi to make deeper inroads.  From my own interviews with social media influencers in the Land of the Rising Sun, the use of Twitter seems to be split between professionals who see it as a business tool as well as teens and twenty-somethings who want to follow the latest tweets of the famous celebrities that are so ubiquitous in Japanese society – almost every television, radio, or print ad for a consumer brand seems to feature a famous celebrity.  In fact, similar to the United States, many of the passionate adopters of Twitter have been these same celebrities.

But then something happened – public demonstrations organically started from the act of one tweet from a celebrity.

Sosuke Takaoka, a 29-year old Japanese actor with more than 140,000 Twitter followers, posted a tweet on July 23 that read,

Honestly, I’ve been treated well by Channel 8 (Fuji TV), but I really don’t watch them anymore.  I often think it’s a Korean television station.  We Japanese want to see traditional Japanese shows.  Whenever I see a Korean show on the air I turn off the TV.  ^^ Goodbye.

The tweet was in reference to the popularity of Korean television drama shows on Japanese TV, but Takaoka centered his attention on one of the most popular TV networks in Japan, Fuji TV.  Furthermore, there is obvious historic tension between the two countries.  Either way, because Twitter has become the place where the news breaks in Japan as much as it does globally now, the tweet started to gain attention on what could be considered Japan’s first and still very popular social media website: the 2 Channel message board forum.  This forum is still the 21st most visited website in Japan according to Alexa.com.

The above started a chain reaction where Fuji TV began to be flooded by phone call complaints, and even new complaints from consumers were mentioned in social media because of what was perceived as poor customer service by Fuji TV who didn’t have enough operators to deal with the sudden upsurge in phone inquiries.  Some consumers called out for a boycott of companies that were advertising on Fuji TV.  Finally, on August 7th, a demonstration against Fuji TV at their headquarters was held that attracted 2,500 people.  Although that number might sound small, through the power of social media, the videos that were uploaded to the Japanese version of YouTube, Nico Nico Douga, as well as uStream have had cumulative views of more than 100,000.  The demo organizers are calling for another one on August 21 which could attract far more people than the first.

While the above is an excellent case study of how social media and our present connectivity can lead to social disorder, as we have seen recently in many parts of the world, some celebrities are calling for a boycott against Twitter.

Takashi Okamura, one of the two comedians who form the popular duo of 99, recently appeared onTV where he mentioned this tweet and said,

The problem is that you tweet.  If you don’t want to see the TV programs, don’t watch them.  Why do you have to tell everyone?  The cost of watching TV is only in the electricity that you consume, so why do you need to tweet about it?

Since the original tweet, Takaoka has had his contract cancelled by his talent agency and recently issued a public apology.  Unfortunately with the power of Twitter, many learn their lesson until it is after the fact and the damage is done.  In fact, there is a Japanese Wikipedia page that has already been created and documents the above facts called Fuji TV’s Korean Broadcasting Issue.

As I have mentioned in many Twitter blog posts, the world is watching you on Twitter.   The combination of the public nature of Twitter, the fact that most media outlets (and many companies) have their antennas tuned to our tweets, and the fact that social media has greatly accelerated the speed of communication means that no one’s tweets are safe.

The lesson to be learned, whether you are a celebrity, a business, or a professional, is that you need to create a new “public persona” and stick to it when you say anything on any social media website.  I actually speak about this in my new LinkedIn marketing book where I give the following advice:

It’s easy to say that in creating your public persona you should avoid putting certain things in your profile, but because social media is, well, social, we’re frequently tempted to say things that may catch us off our public brand. Before you post something in any social media channel that may be controversial and therefore affect your future business prospects, ask yourself the following four questions:

  • Would my family approve of this?
  • Would my boss approve of this?
  • Would all of my customers approve of this?
  • Would a court of law approve of this?

Unless you can answer “yes” to all four of these questions, keep your public persona intact by simply not posting your opinions on the Internet.

If only I had a chance to have met Takaoka-san before that tweet.

Have you had, or heard of, an instance where you or someone that you know regretted saying something in social media and are now paying the price for it?  Please share your experiences in the comments section below!

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
Celebrating my wedding anniversary in Carlsbad. Rigatoni alla Siciliana anyone? ;-) #ita... http://t.co/x9CpGvUtMe http://t.co/60fZyQt6Fp - 6 hours ago
Neal Schaffer
OptinMonster

Comments

  1. says

    I agree it’s best to stick to business and let the shock jocks handle the controversial statements.  Social media is completely public and archived.  That’s a dangerous combination who ‘run off at the mouth.’ 

  2. says

    I agree it’s best to stick to business and let the shock jocks handle the controversial statements.  Social media is completely public and archived.  That’s a dangerous combination who ‘run off at the mouth.’ 

  3. says

    As a PR professional, Neal this post is spot on perfect. I’m just waiting for social litigation to start hitting the fan. People will be in a heap of trouble as soon as the first “snarky” Facebook post for example brings a hefty sum to the person libeled.  Great insight as always.

  4. says

    As a PR professional, Neal this post is spot on perfect. I’m just waiting for social litigation to start hitting the fan. People will be in a heap of trouble as soon as the first “snarky” Facebook post for example brings a hefty sum to the person libeled.  Great insight as always.

  5. says

    Because I am a very involved activist, that I am using my Facebook and Twitter accounts as my soap box and window (reference to the film Network), I bless the instant and open-to-all communication that these services provide. I also have a LinkedIn account that I try to keep as much apart from my activist efforts as possible (even when I have participated on some heated and controversial discussions also in there). I do believe that the “fuse” quality that these services have are the best use of them. For the first time in history humans can, instantaneously and without much filtering, communicate worldwide with friends and strangers alike. As Tunisia and Egypt demonstrated, they can serve the purpose of the clandestine flyers of yore, in the effort to free society of its oppressors. If they are also used for activities that we personally don’t condone (like the flash mob robbery) is a small price for the abilities they allow. Remember that what is a riot for some, is a protest for other. Who is the one to class which is which? I, myself, I’M AS MAD AS HELL AND WILL NOT TAKE THIS ANYMORE! And I am glad that I can scream it through these “windows”.

    • says

      Thank you for your very interesting comment – and I couldn’t agree with you more that, for political activism, social media provides some compelling opportunities to yell even louder than you did in that classic movie that you refer to. Of course, not everyone will listen to those who are just yelling, so it does require an art similar to businesses who want to market to us. Actually, that sounds like a great idea for a new blog post… ;-)

      • says

        I agree that not everyone will listen to the one that is screaming and that, optimally, political discourse requires of calm and rational debate… but, we now pragmatically, that is not the case. At the moment there is a faction in politics that have not done nothing but scream for two years and a half, so in order to be listened (by them and others) we need to scream even louder. So (and the link is for the benefit of those that doesn’t get the reference), ‎”First YOU HAVE TO GET MAD!!!” 
        -see clip at

      • says

        I agree that not everyone will listen to the one that is screaming and that, optimally, political discourse requires of calm and rational debate… but, we now pragmatically, that is not the case. At the moment there is a faction in politics that have not done nothing but scream for two years and a half, so in order to be listened (by them and others) we need to scream even louder. So (and the link is for the benefit of those that doesn’t get the reference), ‎”First YOU HAVE TO GET MAD!!!” 
        -see clip at

  6. says

    The four questions you mention at the end of this post are especially useful when you think about publishing content onto the Internet.

    …It makes you wonder: How will all of this affect us in the future?

    Very thought provoking.

  7. says

    Ah what a slippery slope that advice is. I suspect for many there are few things they could write about that every member of their family and every customer would approve of and what a court of law would approve of is anybody’s guess. 

    I regularly write things that Google, multi-national Corporations, the Global Elite (which I often refer to as ‘The Borg’), and Automattic would definitely not approve of and most likely really wish I would be silent on – especially since telling me I’m wrong and asking for detractions won’t work on me like it does on most.

    Fortunately for me I don’t have to worry about whether an employer would approve of it because I will never have another J.O.B. and I don’t worry about whether potential clients would approve as those of like mind are more likely to work with me based on what I write rather than less likely. 

    Most people have no concept of the unintended consequences of what they tweet because they have little forward-looking vision and little idea how their words will affect the actions of others. This is especially true of those who blindly follow celebrities. 

    With influence comes responsibility. We must each be cautious about how we use that influence.

  8. says

    Ah what a slippery slope that advice is. I suspect for many there are few things they could write about that every member of their family and every customer would approve of and what a court of law would approve of is anybody’s guess. 

    I regularly write things that Google, multi-national Corporations, the Global Elite (which I often refer to as ‘The Borg’), and Automattic would definitely not approve of and most likely really wish I would be silent on – especially since telling me I’m wrong and asking for detractions won’t work on me like it does on most.

    Fortunately for me I don’t have to worry about whether an employer would approve of it because I will never have another J.O.B. and I don’t worry about whether potential clients would approve as those of like mind are more likely to work with me based on what I write rather than less likely. 

    Most people have no concept of the unintended consequences of what they tweet because they have little forward-looking vision and little idea how their words will affect the actions of others. This is especially true of those who blindly follow celebrities. 

    With influence comes responsibility. We must each be cautious about how we use that influence.

Please Leave a Comment!