Japanese flock to Twitter, make social poetry

08/8/2011 | San Francisco Chronicle

Twitter is booming in Japan, with experts saying the service offers a rare means of uninhibited personal expression in Japan's buttoned-down society. The similarities between tweets and haiku -- both of which limit the length of a entry -- helped the service catch on as a means of externalizing emotions, argues Stanford University linguist Richard Dasher. "Japanese society does tend to reward stoicism and oftentimes emotion is not expressed as vividly as it is in American society. So I think that Twitter ... provided a platform that allowed a nonthreatening way to present your own emotional state," Dasher said.

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