Korean Social Media Round-up

Elsewhere in Korean social media land:

  • Despite its problems, social commerce continues to boom in Korea. From ZDNet comes word that a deal between social commerce site Soopang and Burger King, which offered 10,000 Whopper meals for 2,900 won (instead of 6,500 won) a pop, sold out in just 20 minutes. And showing that social commerce is moving beyond the realm of restaurants and beauty salons,¬†ZDNet also reports on wemakeprice.com, one of a new breed of sites offering discounts on luxury brands and household goods including robot vacuum cleaners. “As smartphones and tablet PCs become more mainstream, social shopping could revolutionise the way products are distributed [in Korea],” said a spokesperson from the company.
  • Cruelly exposing my ignorance of women’s sites in Korea, ZDNet has news of another portal aimed at women, ezday, and its new, upgraded iPhone app. “Season 2” of ezday comes with an improved, real-time chatting service, along with all the regular gubbins about childcare, cooking, travel, love and lifestyle.

  • Echoing some concerns I heard when doing my Yonhap piece, ZDNet reports that Han Sang-gi, a professor at KAIST’s graduate school of arts and culture, gave a seminar in which he fretted about the flood of false or unverifiable information circulated via Twitter. He also made the intriguing claim that the problem is particularly acute in Korea because 50 percent of retweets take place within just 30 minutes here, compared with 50 percent in 60 minutes overseas.

    Professor Han said that this indiscriminate retweeting of what is often¬†little more than rumour is becoming an increasing source of controversy. He cited the case of the late indie musician Lee Jin-won, who was said, via a Tweet, to have received royalties in the form of dotori, the virtual currency used in Cyworld. (As Mark wrote over at Korea Gig Guide, royalties from portals are already a very sensitive issue for Korea’s indie musicians.) Though Cyworld’s owner, SK Telecom, rushed out a denial, it was, the professor said, already too late: The original message had already been retweeted thousands of times.

    As for solutions, Professor Han suggested setting up some kind of system that provides information on the Twitterer’s location and posting history. But given that the lack of “real-name” registration has been a key factor in Twitter’s success in Korea, it’s hard to imagine such a system finding much popular support here.

  • Finally, in its weekly portal briefing, Bloter reports that uploads of the YouTube version of Naughty Kiss, a popular soap on Korea’s MBC network, passed the 8 million mark. Remarkably, in the five days since that report went up, the number of uploads has soared past 11 million! I remember writing a piece about hanryu five years ago, and speculating toward the end whether its time might not soon be up. I guess, once again, I have my answer. (See here for more about the show in English.)

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