NOTE: This begins what may be a regular series kick-started by Richard with his post on Wednesday.
In a manner befitting the Clone Spotting series, this first entry was largely “inspired” by these two posts written last year by Seoul Space’s very own Richard Choi and Victor Ching. So without any further ado…
Twitter – July 2006
me2DAY – February 2007 (acquired by NHN in 2009)
NO. OF USERS:
Twitter – 200 million (3.2 million in Korea)
me2DAY – 5 million
모아보는 (Moaboneun): Basically a Twitter-like timeline, but broken up into different categories
150 character limit on me2DAY, 140 on Twitter
태그 (tags): Though tempting to think of them as synonymous with hashtags, they are closer in function to tags on blogs
미투 (Me Too): A kind of recommendation that posts things onto friends’ feeds, rather like an RT
댓글 (“social posting”): Like posting comments on a blog or Facebook thread
Though you’d be hard pushed to describe any elements of me2DAY as truly groundbreaking, the combination of features and the overall character of the service do set it apart from Twitter. For instance, as mentioned above, the tags and “social posting” are much more reminiscent of blogs or Facebook than of Twitter.
The general tone of comments on the two microblogging services is quite different. Where Koreans (and everyone else) increasingly use Twitter as a news feed or a platform for marketing, the posts on me2DAY have a much more informal, personable feel. This is, in large part, down to the different “following” mechanisms on the two services: whereas anyone can follow pretty much anyone on Twitter, me2DAY (a la Facebook) requires the consent of the person you wish to follow.
All that said, one needn’t be a regular user of me2DAY to see the striking similarities between it and its behemoth rival.
“We wanted to capture that feeling: the physical sensation that you’re buzzing your friend’s pocket. It’s like buzzing all over the world…We came across the word ‘Twitter’ and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds.’ And that’s exactly what the product was.” Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter.
“We got lucky. Doesn’t mean we’re geniuses.” Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.
“We saw that messages comprising around 150 characters were ideal for looking at and digesting with a single glance. Text messages on American phones run to 160 characters, so once you have the called ID of the person sending the message, that’s down to 140. We wanted to make me2DAY ‘SMS 2.0.’ ” Suman Park, Founder and CEO of me2DAY
Though me2DAY is unquestionably modeled closely on Twitter (a fact Suman Park acknowledges in this interview), it has apparently taken advantage of its intimate knowledge of the Korean market — and the enormous muscle of Naver parent company NHN — to produce a hybrid model with genuine appeal to a lot of Koreans. It was surely also helped by recognizing the potential of Twitter early, and building up a sizable user base before Twitter and Facebook started taking off in Korea in late 2009.
As a result, it has been better placed to capitalize on Korea’s smartphone boom than many other Korean SNS sites, and is perhaps the only one to have mounted a credible and sustained challenge to the Twitter/Facebook avalanche so far. And Park, for one, is certainly talking a big game about me2DAY’s future…
[xrr Rating=3.5/5] Definitely in the upper reaches of the cloneosphere, but with just about enough other ideas in there to give it an identity of its own.