Social Networks in Asia: Korea, Japan, China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore

Social Media Networks: Unstoppable Growth

Social Media has been rapidly growing in the US in the last few years. Social networks such as Facebook and MySpace are now household names in the likes of Google and Yahoo. 1 out of every 5 people who go online have visited Facebook! It has impacted the way people communicate and relate with one another. People are more connected through easy access, however, as technology becomes more ubiquitous, general social skills and relationship building has taken a hit. It has caused unthinkable issues among the youth, and has even made its mark on our government. As social media continues to make a tremendous impact on US culture how has it impacted overseas in the countries of Asia?

Social Media Networks in Asia: Rising in its Own Way

Social media is stronger than ever not just here in the US but all around the world. The social network users in Asia has grown to an incredible 456 million users. That is almost one third of all online users in the world.

OgilvyOne Asia Pacific, a US based marketing agency came out with a study “Can Brands Have a Social Life” which covered the general differences in the adoption and use of social media by the largest Asian countries. Some are listed below.

South Korea: Gaming Capital & the Ride of Cyworld

Fact: Nationwide broadband coverage and high quality mobile phones has allowed users to post online content at will. South Korea has 92% broadband penetration making it one of the most wired in the world.

Popular Activities: Online Gaming, buying music online, sharing information and interacting wiki-style.

Popular Networks: Majority of users use Naver and Daum, both Korean based search engines. Cyworld, the second largest music and video store after iTunes, has 48% of the market share. Cyworld generates sales revenue of over $100 million just from song downloads.

Online Gaming: Lineage II, Korea’s most popular online game touts 14 million users, double that of the infamous World of Warcraft. The best online gamers become professional game players and are treated like celebrities.

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Social Media effects on Law and the Legal System

Effects of Social Media in Law

In the past few years, the emergence of social media and the easy ability for users to communicate has drastically changed the news media landscape. Social online communities has allowed many users to united over various issues and form strong widespread interest groups. Whether through user generated news stories, opinion blogs, message boards, interest based websites, there is a large shift towards transparency and participation. In the minds of internet users, user reviews and opinions has become the source to get authentic, objective news.

A great example of the impact of social media is the recent Obama campaign. His campaign utilized a full social media strategy posting 1,800 videos on YouTube that generated 110 million views. They created a Facebook group with 3 million fans and a Myspace page with nearly 850,000 friends.

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Facebook vs. MySpace Statistics

1 out of every 5 people who go online visit facebook.

Facebook vs. MySpace Statistics
In November 2008, Facebook recorded 200 million unique worldwide visitors. That is a whopping 1 out of every 5 people who went online in November! Facebook continues to grow in popularity. In December it followed with 222 million visits. That is a 11% growth and 22% of all internet users.

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Social Network – Facebook – Friends Forever

Facebook Logo - Large Square“Thanks to Facebook, I never lose touch with anyone. And that, my Friend, is a problem.”

A perusal of my Facebook Friend roster reveals that I, a medium-social individual of only middling lifetime popularity, have never lost a friend. They’re all there: elementary school friends, high school friends, college friends, work friends, friends of friends, friends of ex-girlfriends—the constellation of familiar faces crowds my Friendbox like medals on Mussolini’s chest. I’m Friend-rich—at least onscreen. I’ve never lost touch with anyone, it seems. What I’ve lost is the right to lose touch. – Wired Magazine

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Surveillance of Skype Messages in China Part II

After posting the entry about Surveillance of Skype Messages in China, I was immediately informed that the issues highlighted in the Citizen Lab report affect only the TOM-Skype software distributed by TOM in China and that standard versions of Skype remain unaffected. [thanks Peter]. This is indeed an important piece of information as to appease the fears of the Skype user base.

It looks like Skype has been active in addressing the public in regards to this matter. Here are some excerpts from their President Josh Silverman.

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Surveillance of Skype Messages in China

The New York Times reported that a group of Canadian human right activist and a computer security researcher has discovered a surveillance system that monitors and archives web text messages and conversations. It is triggered when the conversation includes politically charged words. Researchers in Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto uncovered hundreds of message records after they decrypted the messages. Example words are “communist”, “quit the party”, “democracy”, “Tibet”, “Tiananmen” “SARS”, “Taiwan Independence”, and “milk powder”.

Media Monitoring Controvery
This new discovery again highlights the controversy of media monitoring by the Chinese government. The Chinese government filters out websites, images, stories from the web and makes them inaccessible through search engines. The most notorious was the removal of Tiananmen Square related information. The most recent controversy involved the accusation of the Chinese Gymnastic team being underaged. Hundreds of blog posts with screenshots of records of the Chinese Gymnastic team that was found through Internet research appeared on the web, but soon after each of the online records would mysteriously disappear. The investigation was recently dropped due to the lack of evidence.

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How Safe are Social Networks?

In June, Common Sense Media released a comparative analysis the Internet safety features on the most popular social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, YouTube, Club Penguin among others.

Though there has been significant improvements over time in building safety features for the users, more than half of the sites were deemed not adequate. Also many of the features are not easy to find or too obscure for the users. However it is still too easy for someone (think: children or teens) to lie about their age or access bad or inappropriate sites or videos.

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