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New Network Communication Technology - New Challenge for CRN's Japanese-language Website

Blogs quickly become popular after journalists started using them in the Iraq War in 2003. According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, nearly 3.35 million bloggers in Japan were using domestic blog sites as of March 31, 2005. About 950,000 are active bloggers who update their blogs at least once a month, and 16.51 million users view at one or more blogs a month. (Internet users in Japan numbered 79.45 million in 2004.) Blogs make use of Application Service Providers (ASP), a service offered free of charge and the fact that they are easy to start has been one reason for their rapid popularity.

With the spread of blogs, methods of information gathering by Internet users have also changed. Websites that accommodate RSS*1 for blogs, etc., have increased, leading to the growth of information gathering using RSS readers*2, and this trend continues to grow due to convenience. Because our CRN website does not yet accommodate RSS, it has been difficult to make ourselves known to bloggers who use this new technology.

Amid the rapid emergence of new communications technologies on Internet, CRN's website, now ten years old, seems a bit dated. Websites like ours will now have to decide how to adapt to the new technology.

CRN's Japanese-language website is maintained by a few staff members and an annual budget that is hardly ample. Given these circumstances, it is not easy to undertake large-scale system overhauls and renewals, but if, for this reason, we ignored the latest technology and trends, CRN would fall behind the times and become history. On the other hand, we do not know how long the popularity of blogs and RSS will continue. Why are blogs so popular? Why do so many people use them?

Recognizing blogs are so overwhelmingly popular today, CRN decided to set up some of its own blogs in June. They include a journal kept by the staff, information about Kodomogaku, and reports on CRN activities. Because we relied on a free service, setting up the blogs was easy to do, and staff members make time during the work day to update each of them.

See: http://www.crn.or.jp/cgi-bin/TOPICS/disp_msg.pl? &msg=00085 (Japanese-language)

But, setting up the blogs has not necessarily increased the number of people accessing the website. This has made me realize the informal quality of blogs compared with maintaining conventional home pages.

We hope to set up an English-language blog in the near future. Do you have any favorite English blogs? Do you have your own blog? We'd like to hear from you about English-language blogs.



*1 RSS
Acronym for Rich Site Summary. Sometimes called Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary. These are file formats installed on the particular site with summaries of the latest articles, news, and blogs.

*2 RSS readers
Software that collects all RSS automatically.

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