In a K-pop-heavy round-up of Korean tech/social media blogs:
- Bloter.net has an interview with Joyce Kim, who after a stellar academic career (Cornell, Harvard, law school) decided to ditch her job as a lawyer and start up Soompi.com, a site aimed at making Korean films, soap operas and pop music more accessible to English speakers. The article begins with some observations about how hard it is, language issues aside, for foreigners to access sites offering Korean dramas and K-pop music (Korea’s real-name registration system, Korean sites’ insistence on using Internet Explorer, and the dearth of English-language sites in the US).
Kim says her site now gets more than 1.2 million hits a month (of whom only 10 percent are Korean) and that Korean pop culture has enormous potential among American youngsters, who Kim reckons view Hollywood as increasingly stale. About the difficulties facing start-ups in Korea, Kim has this to say:
[In Korea], before you can actually launch, you prepare your presentation material and have your meetings, and six months have already passed. In the US, even if the service isn’t perfect, you get started, fix things later and get it complete. In America, the developers and the founders can comfortably sit down together, exchange opinions and come up with policy. In Korea, the decision-making is all tilted toward the CEO.
- Also on Bloter is the weekly round-up of portal news:
- Nuggets include:
- On Interactive Dialogue & PR 2.0, Juny looks at the curious case of Girl’s Day, a girl band whose fame has arisen almost entirely through social media. They first came to public attention on June 23, when, through Twitter, they released a video of themselves dancing in Hongdae. It was subsequently picked up by the website allkpop, and then parodied by an American Kpop fan. The members of the group started publishing their profiles over Twitter, and then released a video on July 7. On July 9, they had their debut on KBS 2’s Music Bank, but despite the big expectations, the performance — due to “exaggerated facial expressions” and their overwhelming nerves — was a disaster. But things have started to improve, and Girl’s Day released a single on July 22. See below for more on this story story:
In what could be two firsts for Korea, Daum has launched 미즈미, a portal aimed at women, and enlisted the help of a pop group, Girls’ Generation, as part of a drive to get computer users to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8. (Now if they were trying to persuade Koreans to switch to Firefox or Google Chrome, I’d be even more of a 소녀시대 fan.)
In yet more evidence of the iPhone’s inexorable rise, Nate’s popular NateOn communicator now has an iPhone app.
- Finally, from ZDNetKorea, comes news of an Ulleung-do and Dokdo smartphone app. As well as reams of information on nature, history and, in the case of Ulleung-do, the best places to eat and stay, the Dokdo part of the app will be using North Gyeongsang Province’s “Cyber-Dokdo” service to offer bird’s eye view pictures of the endlessly controversial rocks. The report goes on to say that in order to help drum up interest among foreign tourists, an English-language version of the service is on the way too.