Choi (2006) talks about “Cyworld” which is the most popular personal blog sites in Korea. I have read a Korean news article a few days ago and it was about a survey conducted in Korea regarding the use of SNS among Korean Internet users. The results of the survey reveled that 75 % of Internet users are using Cyworld and 31.9 % use Twitter and 31.8 % use Facebook. 76 % of respondents said that the main reason why they use SNS is to socialize with others and 39.8 % said that they use SNS to gain and share information.
Choi (2006) states that participants of the study indicated some advantages and disadvantages of Cyworld. Below is a summary of it.
• To enrich users’ existing social networks.
• To provide an opportunity users for better understanding of their friends by seeing their self-expression occurring within a Cyworld.
• To offer a ““therapeutic” experience by expressing their feeling, thoughts, personality, or opinions.
• Constant sign-in to upload content such as video or audio. It would be time-consuming.
• Cyworld is mainly used to maintain and enhance of existing social networks rather than to build new social ties. Thus, users tend to jus focus on a limited number of friends.
• Superficiality of representation of users themselves.
I agree with Choi (2006)’s argument that Cyworld is facilitating sustaining and improving existing social networks rather than creating new social networks. This was my concern when I was using Cyworld in Korea; I always went to blogs of my best friends not visiting strangers’ blogs. And, I did not want to open my blog to anyone, only my friends who I invited could see my blog. I think it may be related to the nature of Korean people; usually, they are too shy to express their feeling or opinion in public place that anyone can see and hear their thoughts. However, I think, as many young people are using Facebook or Twitter recently, they has become more comfortable to express themselves. I think if Cyworld add more social networking aspect in it that allows users can establish a new social tie, it will make Cyworkd even more popular among young Korean people.
Jaz Hee-jeong Choi. (2006). “Living in Cyworld: Contextualising Cy-ties in South Korea,” in Uses of Blogs, eds. Axel Bruns & Joanne Jacobs (New York: Peter Lang. 2006), 173-186, http://www.nicemustard.com/files/jaz_c_cyworld_ch.pdf