SNS Stealing a March on e-mail in Korea

New figures from local consulting company SCOTOSS show how Koreans are continuing to move away from traditional media toward the internet. More than that, they indicate an online shift is also under way: from e-mail to a greater use of SNS sites, in particular Facebook and Twitter.

From left to right, this graph shows the changes in use of the following media over the past 12 months: terrestrial TV, cable TV, newspapers, magazines, the internet and SNS sites.

This chart compares usage rates of different media on weekdays and weekends, with some more specific categories relating to internet and SNS use.

The highlighted sections show the lengths of time that respondents said they spend on e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. According to the survey, Koreans spend an average of 18 minutes a day on weekends sending or reading e-mail, and 24.9 on weekdays. The corresponding figures for FB, Twitter and blogs respectively are 12.2 and 11.4; 15 and 13.3; and 19.9 and 19.8. Taken together, this means that Koreans already spend more weekend time on Facebook and Twitter than e-mailing, while e-mail (due to work) shades it on weekdays. Include blogs, though, and Koreans are now spending almost twice as much time on social media as on e-mailing.

When asked whether they trust what they see on SNS, 40 percent said yes, 47.5 were non-committal and just 12.3 percent said no. Bloter speculates that because SNS users have established most of their online relationships themselves, they are more inclined to believe what they read on social media sites. However, these results also jibe with figures I mentioned elsewhere that show very high levels of trust among Koreans for what they see online.

Finally, the survey asked the respondents what their primary reasons were for using SNS are.

Most respondents (69.3 percent) said “to network with various people,” followed by “to get information” (56.6 percent), “in order to keep my status updated” (38.9 percent), and “to manage and store information I’ve found” (31 percent).

The survey took place in early February and included 650 people aged between 20 and 60.

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