Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The future of Korea's social network Cyworld

Today The Korea Times carried an interesting article entitled "Can Cyworld Rebound?"  The first sentence of the article is shocking enough.  "SK Communications is attempting to revive its aging social networking service (SNS) Cyworld, evidenced by a recent upgrade but is unlikely to reaffirm its hegemony due to the rise of Kakao Story." The shocking part is that a service which was so dominant in South Korea and is still barely more than a decade old (Cyworld was founded in 1999) should be called "aging." Cyworld preceded the launch of Facebook by half a decade and pioneered certain features such as the use of virtual money, called dotori (acorns) which could be used to purchase virtual goods.
 This is a sign of how rapidly ICT and mobile technology is progressing these days. Among the interesting points made in the article, Cyworld received a big boost "... when singer Psy’s video “Gangnam Style” went viral on YouTube. He was SK Communication’s endorsement model before his song became a global hit and still uses his Cyworld page actively, securing some 1.5 million visitors last week for the SNS by himself." Another key argument is that Cyworld apparently failed to shift its focus away from the desktop computing market and toward the new mobile communications ecosystem. You may well want to read the full article.

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