Monday, December 31, 2012

Visualizing Korea's national image

As readers of this blog are well aware, I've long been interested in the matter of Korea's national image and the efforts of the Korean government to deal with it. To retrieve earlier posts on the topic, use the search box at the right and enter "national image" or look at just this post from 2009.
Today, in what will probably be my final post of 2012, I'd like to introduce a new perspective on Korea's national image, courtesy of Google Trends (formerly Google Insights for Search).  As noted in several earlier posts (e.g. this one) Google Trends is a valuable tool for studying world attention patterns in the information age.
As shown in the graphic below, a comparison of worldwide search activity for "North Korea" and "South Korea" vividly highlights (the peaks on the graph) attention to North Korea's attacks on the South, its nuclear tests and generally emphasizes the military confrontation between north and south.

To test this, use the hyperlink to view the full report in Google trends and hover over the news items indicated by capital letters on the peaks of the graph.
In earlier posts, a few years back, I published separate links that showed patterns in searches for "Samsung," "LG," and "Hyundai," but it is more interesting to include a couple of these companies in the same chart, as below.  I think the relative volume of search for Samsung and LG, versus North and South Korea, provides a powerful message about Korea's national image.  At least it provides food for thought and data-based evidence of relevance to policymakers. I encourage you to explore the data using Google Trends and its different capabilities. The animations that accompany the world map are particularly fun. I will revisit this topic, so your reactions and comments are welcome!

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