Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Korean Media Culture News signing out

An epilogue. The research project on Korean media culture (2006-2009) funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is coming to an end, and thus I will be wrapping up the blog with a final Spring News summary - at least for now. To keep up with the interesting stuff going on in Korean media and new media in the future, visit the blogs such as Korea's Information Society, Web 2.0 Asia, Korea IT Times, Seoul Digital City and Futurize Korea. If you are interested in my future research, please visit my research blog. For my Korean media and new media related research papers, check out my Academia site.


Jim Larson's Korea's Information Society (April 8) compares the boradband policies of the US and Korea. Jim also discusses (April 9) how YouTube in Korea is rejecting real name system for users. As Jim notes: "Korea is the only country in the world where Internet users are required to input their name and resident registration number before subscribing to portals and other Internet services."

Read also Jim's analysis (April 20) of government-Google relations in a follow-up titled South Korea's Differences with Google and Futurize Korea's Google snubs Korean goverment Internet regulation demands and Google Korea responds to real-name identification debate.

Jim has also posted about the ever-fascinating subject of robotics and how Korea Aims for Top Three Nations in Robotics. Also, take a look at the post about "StickyBot", a little robot that can climb smooth surfaces (see also the developer's website).

The so-called Minerva case has also been discussed in the blog. As Jim explains, Minerva was

"the online alias used by Park Dae-sung who attracted a cult-like following over a period of several months last year with his postings about the economy on one of Korea's popular web portals. Minerva quickly became famous based on predictions like the fall of Lehman Brothers and the collapse of the Korean won. When Mr. Park was arrested last January, it turned out that he was 31 and jobless, had attended a two-year college and had never even invested in the stock market. One of his crimes, according to prosecutors, was to state that the Korean government had barred banks and major companies from buying American dollars in a desperate attempt to check the fall of the won. [...] As Choe, Sang Hun correctly notes, the case of Minerva highlights the contrast between Korea's offline Confucian culture in which seniority and heirarchy rule, and the anonymity of cyberspace which allows people to flout decorum." [Read the whole post.]

Jim also writes about Korean "Green IT" (see here and here).

The rapidly growing online tutoring service called is discussed here.

Kim Chang-Won of Web 2.0 Asia has produced a lot of interesting blog-post this spring too (see also his new personal website). For instance, Chang-Won writes about the popularity of Korean online gaming. It so huge that for example an online game company is sponsoring an offline baseball team. Read more about it here. For contrast, read another post about a downsizing Korean online games company.

See also Chang-Won's post on SK Telecom's (rumored) project to fight iPhone and Android and an insightful analysis including the Minerva case and the real name system in the post titled Does the concept of country matter any more in the internet era? Related to Korea's tight Internet user control, Chang-Won has also written about the "cyber exiles" fleeing to foreign internet services.

Chang-Won writes how Korean kids nowadays have a government imposed cerfew of 10PM on all cram school studies (the private tutoring schools used to go on until 11 PM!):

"But that doesn't make the Korean society less competitive all of a sudden. Korean kids still have to make it to good colleges and get a decent job after graduation to even barely survive in this hyper-competitive society. That means they have to study the hell out of themselves, and even if Hakwon now finishes at 10PM instead of 11PM, students have to resume their study after they hit home. Hence the boost of e-learning companies' stock prices; For example, Digital Daesung, a Korean e-learning company, saw its stock price surge by about 25% after the government announcement. They say Korea is a dynamic country. Sometimes the country can be too dynamic. Koreans need some rest (myself included, perhaps), and highschool kids are no exception." [Read the whole thing.]

Other interesting posts from Web 2.0 Asia:
- Wetoku, an online interviewing service.
- "Boys over Flowers" or a success story of monetizing online videos.
- Cyworld to embrace Open Social
- Playstreet lets you walk through Seoul's hotspots
- Korean internet portals join the mourning as the former president dies
- Top Korean sports celebrity to join Twitter
- ViiKii is Youtube for international videos

Futurize Korea writes about SK Telecom Tum Experience Center, a new exhibition space "similar to the exhibits in the Nuritkum Square Digital Pavilion which presents different technologies based around different themes: Play Dream, Play Now and Play Basic."

Other interesting issues from Futurize Korea:
- Synovate research: Korean youth "media junkies": Korean kids are the junkiest of Asia
- Cisco plans Korean research center, ubiquitous city network: ubiquitous is everywhere in Korea
- Korea government passes new copyright infringement bill: the three-strikes law similar to that of France
- Korean police respond to Internet suicide sites: the global phenomenon among youth
- Gangnam Media Pole: a step towards the u-city
- Korean government launches Internet addiction hotline: a website for internet addicts.


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