Cyworld, The “Facebook” Of South Korea

Image              South Korea is now the leading country in the world in Internet connectivity with an outstand 95 percent who have high-speed Internet access. Over 19 million people with smart phones look at a similar form of the Internet on a daily basis as well. Men are more common than women to spend time on the Internet while about 60 percent of users are between the ages of 25 and 44. As you can tell social media and the Internet in South Korea are a part of their daily lives. They almost thrive around social media and keeping in touch with one another.
              There are several sites in South Korea that take the reigns over others. There are several blog websites that are popular including Nate, Naver and Daum’s blog, Naver being dawned the “Google” of Korea. Cyworld takes the cake as being South Korea’s most popular social networking site. The every famous Twitter population is growing in Korea as their trendy micro-blogging site. Twitter and Cyworld rule the roost because of their on-the-go mobile apps. 
              Being a college student, the most prevalent site I use is Facebook, but given the choice if I lived in South Korea I would use Cyworld. My choice comes from the similarities between Facebook and Cyworld as a whole and the fact that Cyworld is the closest to Facebook in the Korean world. Cyworld is more of a social networking site as opposed to just a blogging website. I am not a blogger, nor will I ever be which is humorous because I’m writing one for class as I type this. But nonetheless, I like reading other people’s thoughts, not my own. I like the interaction you get from using a site such as Cyworld. You can connect with many people in different ways all on one website. Many people talk about how addicting Cyworld became to them, just like Americans became hooked on Facebook. These people were known as Cyholics and had an unhealthy obsession with this website.
            Many of the features of Cyworld are very similar to those of Facebook, but are uniquely different as well. You can upload and share an unlimited amount of pictures. This feature also includes a built in auto resizing and editing tools. You can build and customize your home page with pictures as well. You can navigate easily back and forth to your friends’ home page. There is even an app on your phone for those people who want to Cyworld on the go. Now lets get down to the nitty gritty!
            ImageCyworld lets you create your homepage that is called your “mini-homepage” where you can personalize it.  Features of your homepage would be a forum, diary, photo album, drawing board, guestbook a mini-board and more. It is basically a virtual room that you can design. It also comes with a virtual user called a “mini me” which you can change the attributes to look like the user. Body position, hair, clothes, facial expression are among the changes you can make to your “mini me.” “I used to spend hours playing with Barbie dolls during my childhood, and one would have thought I grew out of it. Wrong! Mini me was my new best friend,” from a Cyworld addict
           Image Among the several things you can add to your mini homepage such as skins that you can purchase, Cyworld comes with a free music player called a jukebox, where there are ginormous library of free, legal music to play on your profile. Yes, I said free AND legal! You can purchase virtual furniture for your room or more items for your mini me, even a pet to keep it company. The list is virtually endless of items you can purchase for your home page or mini me! There are mini flash games that you can play on your page as well. 
            ImageNow all of these items can be purchased with credits that are called “acorns.” These acorns are equal to 100 Won that is about 10 cents in America. You can only purchase these acorns in a 10 minimum requirement in which would be a dollar in U.S. money. These acorns can be purchased via credit cards or phone account. “Because Cyworld was clever enough to substitute money with a harmless object like an acorn, I rarely felt like I was being a spendthrift,” Jennifer Park exclaims for Cyworld users are drug into the world of accorns and gift giving, sounds like a virtual fairyland with unicorns and rainbows I know! HA! Nonetheless, the head of Cyworld talked about how the made the art of gift giving so big among Koreans. The quote, “the art of living is giving as much as you receive,” was used to explain their mantra for acorn buying. Cyworld’s daily income ranges from 70 million Won to 103 million Won, which is roughly between 60 to 88 thousand dollars. Cyholics buy around one million acorns a day to feed their addictions to their virtual world. This buying of acorns essentially funds the website. People feel compelled to buy new skins for their profiles after the current one expires, not thinking about how much it costs. They simply want to keep their homepage updated to keep the flow of traffic they are receiving. 
            The trend of “touring” home pages became popular in Cyworld. The goal is to visit your friends’ page and leave tracks, or comments, so they essentially come back to your homepage. “They want to show off how famous and charming they are among friends by the comments, written by visitors, on the pictures or notices they posted on their own mini-homepage,” – Yoon Sehee
            It is estimated that Asians spend about $5 billion a year on virtual goods for their websites, that’s an outstanding 80 percent of the global market for virtual goods stated in Reuters. That is ridiculous! It is quite obvious that Cyworld is a business in itself. Virtual items bought on Cyworld generate about 72 percent of its yearly revenue and the presence of advertising has also helped generate revenue. Brand homepages are starting to pop up to encourage users to visit their “mini hompys” in exchange for digital items. 

This entry was published on October 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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