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In Korea, Email Is Only For Old People 439

Posted by timothy
from the u.s.-has-officially-been-lapped dept.
_martini_ writes "This short article suggests that, in Korea, email is used only for formal communications, or by older, less tech-saavy generations, while IMs, blogs, and SMS has taken over as the primary means of day to day messages."
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In Korea, Email Is Only For Old People

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  • Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by insensitive claude (645770) * on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:20AM (#10950118) Journal
    I can understand how IM appeals to kids (regardless of nationality), but I find IM incredibly distracting. I guess it's the natural evolution though. As telephones cut into the postal load, so are chat functions overtaking email.
    • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lordkuri (514498)
      I can say that I really prefer IM. How many people do you know that can carry on a voice conversation with 5 people at once?

      A lot of the people I use it to talk with also use it as a "remote post-it" note. Got an idea? shoot it off, and they'll see it eventually.

      overall, I'd prefer IM to just about anything else
      • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yartrebo (690383)
        If people waited one minute between replies in conversations, then maybe they could speak to five people at once.

        The one thing I hate about instant messages is that they are so darned slow. Since you do not see the other person, they can take all the time they want without having those awkward pauses. It might be great for them, and I kind of like it on my side, but I am a very impatient person.
        • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

          by xstonedogx (814876)
          What drives me batty is people who preface every conversation to make sure I'm there.

          Them: "Stone?"
          Me: "Yes?"
          Them: "Check out this URL."

          Why can't they just start out saying "Check out this URL" and realize that I'll check it out when I see the message? It's like they have to have your undivided attention to show you the latest hack animation. The worst of it is that those same types usually do this:

          Them: "Stone?"
          Me: (Not there or ignoring IMs or sound down or what have you.)
          Them: (No message, but
          • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mikael_j (106439)
            Perhaps they just don't want to be another one of the five gazillion people IMing you while you're doing something else, it's really annoying when you get home and find half a dozen messages that you really should answer but all the people who sent them are Away or N/A, it's (IMHO) better if they wait until they know you're at your computer. (There are a lot of people who are online all the time because they forget to set their status to away, and it was even worse around '98 or so when most people were on
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:36AM (#10950477)
        Yeah baby, I'm naked now. The chocolate suace is dripping down my...

        Oh shit! Wrong tab!
      • by RALE007 (445837)
        How many people do you know that can carry on a voice conversation with 5 people at once?

        Everyone I know.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:51AM (#10950288)
      We use e-mail for our help desk for example. You send an e-mail to the help address, it creates a new ticket for your issue. This works well, as we get documentation of everything you say to us, and us to you, and it allows us to deal with your problem when a person with the requisite knowledge has time.

      IM would be totally unsuited for this. When peopel have your attention in realtime, they want results in realtime. If I answer a chat about a Solaris problem, I'm not the one you want, you want the Solaris admin. With e-mail, this is all taken care of. Someone submits their request, and when the Solaris admin is available, he deals with it.

      I certianly don't think IM is useless, but I think young people (I include myself in this category, I'm 24) are a little too caught up with the wow factor. When it comes to bussiness, there are major reasons to want to use e-mail instead.
    • my email looks like a bulletin board! full of crap like "hey look at this", "hey what are you doing tonight?"... i want my email to be for meaningful correspondence.

      this creates alot of email that one has to sort through.
    • by segmond (34052) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:49AM (#10950522)
      I hate IM for this reason, I usually tell people I don't have any IM account till I make sure they are not part of the "i am often bored" group. Else, I tend to give them only email. It's amazing how people who can't find the strength to write a 2 line email can write 5000 lines over IM.

  • by Heem (448667) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:21AM (#10950122) Homepage Journal
    In Korea, (current subject) is only used by old people!
  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:21AM (#10950127)
    How do they get their v4lub13 P3n!s 3n1arg3men+ notices?
    • Re:But... (Score:3, Informative)

      by daeley (126313) *
      How do they get their v4lub13 P3n!s 3n1arg3men+ notices?

      Not to worry, there's always SMS Spam [theregister.co.uk]!
    • by Moraelin (679338)
      Now I'm not a Korean, but I can say I gave up on email too.

      A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, email was a valuable communication resource. I used to actually look forward to receiving email. I used to actually give my email to people, and I used to open emails from strangers. I used my real email on newsgroups. When I wrote a walkthrough for a game, I put both my email addresses at the time in it, so people can write me an email if they have questions. Some of them with attachments too, such as their s
  • On slashdot... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ejdmoo (193585) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:22AM (#10950129)
    On slashdot, engadget is for dummies!

    Seriously though, no credit? Come on!
  • by cbelle13013 (812401) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:23AM (#10950135)
    I wonder how the legal community operates? In this country, you'd be disbarred for sending an SMS to a judge or use AIM to communicate with opposing council (for serious matters). As much as email is used, all the documents we use at our firm are typed up and made official.
    • by Sebadude (680162) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:55AM (#10950305) Homepage
      It would probably be typed up, but it might look something like this

      DEAR AOL KOREA USAR

      IT HAS COMA 2 MAH ATENTION TAHT U HAEV MAED AN UNAUTHORIEZD USE OF MAH COPYRIGHTED WORK IN DA PR3PARATION OF A WORK D3RIEVD THEIR!N WTF LOL I HAEV RESERVAD AL RIGHTS IN TEH WORK FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2003 [AND HAEV REGIST3R3D COPYRIGHT THEIR!N OMG LOL UR WORK IS ASENTIALY IEDNTICAL 2 TEH WORK AND CLEARLY USAD DA WORK AS ITS BASIS.

      AS U N3ITHER ASK3D FOR NOR R3CEIEVD P3RMISION 2 USE TEH WORK AS DA BASIS FOR UR WORK NOR 2 MAEK OR DISTRIBUTE COPEIS INCLUDNG ALECTRONIC COPEIS OF SME I BLEIVE U HAEV WILFULY INFRNGED MAH RIGHTS UND3R 17 USC!!!!11 OMG WTF LOL S3CTION 101 ET SEQ!1!!111! WTF AND CUD B LIABL3 FOR STATU2RY DMAEGS AS HIGH AS $15000 AS SAT FORTH IN S3CTION 504(C)(2) THEIR!N OMG WTF

      I DAMAND TAHT U IM3DIAETLY CEAES DA US3 AND DISTRIBUTION OF AL INFRNGNG WORKS D3RIEVD FROM TEH WORK AND AL COPEIS INCLUDNG ELECTRONIC COPEIS OF SME TAHT U DELIEVR 2 ME IF APLICABLA AL UNUSED UNDISTRIBUTED COPEIS OF SM3 OR DESTROY SUCH COPEIS IMADIAETLY AND TAHT U DESIST FROM THIS OR ANY OTHAR INFRNGEMANT OF MAH RIGHTS IN DA FUTURA1!!1 OMG LOL IF I DO NOT RECEIEV AN AFIRMATIEV R3SPONS3 FROM U INDICATNG TAHT U HAEV FULY COMPLEID WIT THAS3 R3QUIERM3NTS I SHAL TAEK FURTHER ACTION AGANEST U!!!!1!!1 WTF

      URS TRULY, SEBADUDE

      It might be a bit of a challenge to decipher for most of us, but for these highly trained legal experts I'm sure it's nothing.
    • I wonder how the legal community operates?

      The slashdot blurb is but a single sentence and yet you managed to not notice the part that says "email is used only for formal communications". Which part of messages to judges or opposing council for serious matters is not a formal communication?

      And four other people with stunningly limited attention spans rated you "interesting" for this question!!!
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mOoZik (698544) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:23AM (#10950136) Homepage
    SMS still costs some money, IM isn't as formal, and email is more wide-spread. Doesn't mean anyone has to do what HelloKitty loving teens are doing in a place where technology changes daily.

    • Re:So what? (Score:2, Informative)

      by shmergin (679427)
      Here in Korea you can get up 300 free SMS a month, and what do Japanese teens have to do with anything? Hello kitty is about as popular over here in Korea as it is in America...
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spectra72 (13146)
      Spot on. So what? What's the point of this story? Is there some sort of parallel? Only older, less tech savvy South Koreans use email. Citizens of Western Country "Foo" still email...therefore, the citizens of Western Country "Foo" are less tech savvy? Is that what we're supposed to learn from this?

      Does their use of SMS enable them to perform feats of superhuman ability? Is leading to a cure for cancer? Is it doing anything to get their northern neighbor to remove the thosands of artillery pieces pointed

  • if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by torrents (827493) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:23AM (#10950141) Homepage
    email is for old people what do they think of those who use the "physical" postal service...
  • by tyleroar (614054) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:25AM (#10950151) Homepage
    From the article: "Email's efficiency falls in terms of promptness, convenience and credibility," observed Yoo Hyon-ok, president, SK Communications. "With the continuous emergence of new communication means, communication formats will develop further in the future."
    How do IMs, blogs or SMS provide any more credibility than E-Mail?
    • Well SMS is verifiable in theory because it has the central telephone service provider that it is routed through. Very few hands touch that message and you can only receive message from one source and only send them to one source, that one source does all the verification. Similar argument for IMs. Blogs typically require a log-in controlled by a central authority and so unless your owned, its verifiable that what you posted is yours and comments by friends are theirs. Email on the other hand doesnt require
    • A wild guess: by "credibility" they mean something more akin to "street cred." Here in the US, it used to be that free online access to your bank accounts was something special; now, most banks offer it. Similarly, it may well be that in Korea, email services are seen as ordinary, while a company that provides services via SMS or IM may attract a clientele which cares about these things - and people who care about always having the latest, best things tend to be rather well-to-do.
    • They provide more credibility because in order to sign up for a blog (or almost anything in this country) you have to input your National ID number. By no means foolproof, but a lot harder to spoof than a standard account.
    • This guy is benefiting from the switch to SMS - so of course he's going to say email is less useful. I'm amazed nobody has said that email, IM and SMS are just different mediums with different strengths. Email is much easier to read later, particularly if threaded. IM could really do with thread marking to make it easier to see which reply message relates to which sent message from yourself - often not obvious.

      SMS has the huge benefit that it's delivered right to the phone and beeps someone, so you are
  • Heh heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daeley (126313) * on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:25AM (#10950154) Homepage
    In Korea, Email Is Only For Old People

    Of course, there is the corollary: IM, blogs, and SMS are kiddy tech. ;)
  • by wrinkledshirt (228541) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:25AM (#10950158) Homepage
    I love Korea a lot, but it's got some drawbacks, particularly in its journalism and media. The impetus behind this article might have a lot less to do with the actual oncoming death of email and a lot more to do with maintaining a tech-obsessed culture -- much easier to do if you're constantly promoting new toys, which Korea is.

    It'd be like a Hollywood tabloid saying that indipendent film is on the way out.

    The ebb of email is confirmed by a diminishing trend in pageviews, a tabulation of frequency in service used by email users. Daum Communication, the top email business in the country, saw its email service pageviews fall over 20 percent from 3.9 billion in October last year to 3 billion in October this year. By contrast, with SK Telecom, the nation's No. 1 communication firm, monthly SMS transmissions skyrocketed over 40 percent in October from 2.7 billion instances last October. Cyworld, a representative mini-homepage firm, witnessed its pageviews multiply over 26-fold from 650 million instances in October last year to 17 billion in October this year.

    This paragraph, for instance, is as much about corporate branding as it is about giving email stats.
    • If this [chosun.com] link is even remotely accurate, I think I'd love Korea too. Where do I sign up for a citizenship? :P
    • AFAIK (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StarKruzr (74642)
      this is the case in the United States, too. I'm 25 and I only use email for formal communications or some large, organized "packet" of information that I need to send to someone. Just about all of my friends are the same way.

      I realize you can't generalize based on your own anecdotal experience... but does anyone really send one or two-line emails anymore when IM is a hundred percent easier and instantaneous?
      • Re:AFAIK (Score:3, Informative)

        by wrinkledshirt (228541)
        I realize you can't generalize based on your own anecdotal experience... but does anyone really send one or two-line emails anymore when IM is a hundred percent easier and instantaneous?

        There's no doubt that IMing (et al) is huge over here, but a lot of that has to do with the big cell phone culture amongst the youth. They've streamlined it so that it's really easy to send messages to friends and whatnot. But you can also listen to music on cellphones over here as well. Does that mean Korea's going to rep
    • Have to be careful about reading this stuff

      Too it's probably wise to mention that, in Korea, only old people are, umm, ahh, older than 25.

  • Um no... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ReeprFlame (745959)
    THats something that I hope does not evolve here. Mainly because people complain about emails sometimes getting lost, but they are more institutionalized and easier to find/access than blogs, SMS, and IMs. It is also more of an "on-demand" service. That you can send files, reply immediately [even if the user is not online], etc. And best of all is it automatically keeps your messages...
  • ... a lot of old spammers there. A lot of the spam my server blocks is from .kr addresses.
  • by Indy1 (99447) <spamtrap@fuckedregime.com> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:26AM (#10950165) Homepage
    i'm not surprised, korea is one of the worst spam sewers on the net outside the US, and many mail admins just pre-emptively firewall or ACL korean (or all of apnic) net space. Apparently Korean isp's could care less about all the firewalling, ACL's, and blacklists they end up in and their users are just moving on to IM's.
    • by Ilgaz (86384) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:33AM (#10950646) Homepage
      I can't agree more.

      In fact, first thing I do on a new account, I block .kr domain.

      I am against blocking entire country domains in fact, I generally report spam through Spamcop (taking my time) and review report while sending.

      The problem? They do NOTHING!

      http://www.spamcop.net/w3m?action=inprogress

      Look at top spam senders, it will explain everything.

      Oh btw if there are Korean-Americans out there as moderators, spare your time teaching postmasters of your native country at least how to enable smtp-auth instead of marking parent post troll.

      Or, if you can give me my your mail address, I can auto forward 100 spam/week, ONLY coming from hananet etc to your mail address.
    • It is also worth noting that the Korean government knows damn well that they have these issues, including some serious piracy issues. Hell, I can walk 20 feet from a military installation and find a vendor hawking movies that haven't hit theatres yet.

      That being said, it can be interesting trying to get certain internet traffic *into* South Korea. There is a firewall around Korea, and it can suck for an American who is used to not having a whole lot of filters on their stuff. I've noticed this mostly with s
  • naim (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Brainix (748988)
    I came across a nice way to use IM as a primary means of communication. I run naim [ml.org] with GNU Screen [ml.org] on a server on which I have a shell account. This way, naim functions as an "answering machine" when I'm not online, and a normal IM client when I am. Enjoy.
  • Here too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by comwiz56 (447651) <comwiz@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:27AM (#10950171) Homepage
    It's like that here (in America) too. Most teenagers in America use AIM, IRC, or MSN more than they email. Reasons for this are pretty simple. IMs (and chat rooms) provide instant communication (this is comparable to a phone call, or talking in the halls), whereas an email is like passing a note. The reader has to read and respond seperately.

    And as far as blogs, teens like talking about themselves, so this gives them a place to write about themselves as much as they want. Then anyone who knows how to get to it can read it, so its spread to the masses.

    And SMS. Many teens have cellphones, and aren't at their computer 24/7, so an easy way to communicate is to a device that they carry with them all the time.
    • ... blogs, teens like talking about themselves, so ...
      its not just teens (but you prolly already knew that)
    • Re:Here too (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Flyboy Connor (741764)
      And as far as blogs, ... anyone who knows how to get to it can read it, so its spread to the masses.

      Except that the masses aren't really that interested in teenage drivel.

  • by McDutchie (151611) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:28AM (#10950175) Homepage
    Coincidentally, the spam problem in Korea is also worse than just about anywhere else, it's for good reason that much of the world is firewalling the country off. So I wonder how much of the decline in e-mail usage there is due to the spammers.
  • by NoTheory (580275) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:28AM (#10950179)
    Most of the reasons they give for email being shunned for other mediums are pretty flimsy.

    I know people who set up their AIM client so that you can't tell whether they're idle, and only respond to messages 10 hours after you've sent them, and i know people who watch their inboxes like obsessive hawks.

    as for email being less "fun" than aim... I don't know, i think my gmail account is pretty cool... and conversational for that matter.

    This debate is pretty silly, after all, all we're talking about is persistant electronic messaging. In terms of user experience, email and a client like ICQ aren't -drastically- different. Presumably email will get faster and friendlier, and hell, at some point probably may as well be the same as an IM system.
    • my friends and i have started using gmail like some kind of e-mail-IM hybrid. the mere fact that the message is threaded and there is an empty box at the bottom waiting for the next message make it very easy to shoot things back and forth. works really well for group discussions. someone will send an e-mail the others saying "hey, check this out" with a link, and then we'll all "reply all" with our thoughts and ensuing responses...

      it has the conversationality of IM without the annoying immediate demand for
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:28AM (#10950181) Homepage Journal
    (like I didn't know that) ...and IM and SMS is supposed to be a more credible alternative?

    The one thing I like about email is that I can get to it when I need to. IM basically requires both parties to be at a computer and logged in at the same time. SMS solves that, I guess, but is it as reliable as email yet?

    I'd try SMS if it weren't so much more expensive than email and if I weren't charged to recieve messages I didn't want. I suppose SMS in Korea is a lot cheaper.
    • * SMS solves that, I guess, but is it as reliable as email yet?*

      sms is short, it's not an email replacer.. but it's been more reliable than email all it's life. most im's have probably too, if it says that the message got through then it went through. I treat IRC most of the time as 'get it to when I have time' too...

      (and of course, it would help if your operators had a custom like here.. that you don't pay for unwanted sms, sender pays 99.99% of the time with ordered 'service' sms's being an exception..
    • IM basically requires both parties to be at a computer and logged in at the same time.

      This is why I miss the old ICQ. It used to be able to let you send a message to someone who wasn't online. Quite useful. Then AOhelL swallowed them up...
  • by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:30AM (#10950190)
    You know, writing decent email is an art form, something we used to take pride in. But these days, with these kids texting ungrammatical half-phrases all over the place, it's becoming something of a lost art. I tell you, kids today can't write a complete sentence, and they barely even know how to use an emoticon properly. :-\ It won't be long before people forget how to type. Oh, the inhumanity!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:55AM (#10950304)
      stfu nub th1s is fster f u kan read it then stfu ^-^

      wut r u leik 90!!???!!1111 evry1 i knoe noes wut I say. ^-^; oh shit, moms coming. g2g kay thx bai
    • by dasunt (249686) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:21AM (#10950622)

      Your post was probably intended to be humorous, but the point is valid.

      As we move from traditional letters to email and finally to instant messaging, it appears that we are taking less time and care in the composition of the messages.

      A carefully written message is more effective at transmitting an idea than a hastily written message. Proper spelling and grammar results in easier reading and a better impression of the author and the value of the message.

      I used to work for someone who would always use cute AOLisms in messages (e.i. "b4", "u", etc). While face-to-face conversations gave most people the impression that he was an intelligent guy, online he appeared to be a lot more ignorant, due to how he wrote.

      As I spend more and more time online writing quick messages, I find that my writing skills are slowly degrading. Hopefully, ten years down the road, the quality of my writing won't have suffered too much. But even now, writing this post, I see sentences that could be phrased better, words that should be replaced, etc.

  • by matth1jd (823437) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:34AM (#10950209)
    My grandparents prefer e-mail. Why? Because they have always enjoyed writing letters. It was the preferred method of correspondance to people who they couldn't otherwise call on the telephone. E-Mail for them is just a "new fangled" way of writing letters.
    If shown Instant Messaging they wouldn't use it as nifty as they think it might be, because it's a paradigm they don't neccesarily buy into.

    I would imagine this would apply to many older people. Hell, I even enjoy the eloquence of well written letter.

    --J
  • Hell no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:37AM (#10950227) Homepage Journal
    IM clients piss me off, always in your face. They have pop ups, blink in your tool bar, whatever to get your attention. Then to top it off there are 4 major IM's and the good multi-im clients tend to have bugs and not support all the features. There is a good console multi-IM client that works well under screen, but has proxy issues.

    Email works, hell, I'd rather have an IM2mail gateway so I can use a mail client. Mail is passive and you control it, IM wants to control your life. (No this isnt a in Russia joke.)

    I can also sort mail, pop web mail, attachments, etc. Mail is much more powerful. And newer IM devices include email accounts (POP or Ldap) Even ATT Wireless (Er Cingular now) the Ogo.
  • I'm American. I use IM for normal Internet communication with my peers. The majority of my e-mail inbox (not spam) is stuff for the state executive board of math club (I'm webmaster). I just looked at my inbox; other than mailing lists and the aforementioned math-club e-mails, I can't find a "normal" e-mail since after about early October.

    The nature of e-mail is such that it lends itself to longer, infomative messages. "Chatting" - that is, discussion or talking - is much more suited for IM.
  • How about...both? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laughingcoyote (762272) <{moc.eticxe} {ta} {lwohtsehgrab}> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:54AM (#10950298) Journal

    Each serves their purpose. If I need to speak to someone interactively and immediately, IM is generally a better choice. On the other hand, if I want to send a good bit of information to someone that they're likely going to want to refer back to, or they're not online when I think of something I need to tell them, email is a much better alternative.

    I quite like the way gmail is set up, and that is certainly done well to support a "conversational" format. I don't see why this persistent need in the tech community that one tool is always and for everything better than another. It seems pretty frequent though (Windows vs. Linux vs. *BSD vs. Solaris, email vs. IM, blogs vs. newsgroups, I could go on but I'd fill up the server.)

    Why doesn't anyone acknowledge that, quite like in reality, software is a tool, and one type of tool is generally better at a given job then another? You don't use a hammer to loosen a nut, nor a wrench to drive a nail, and you wouldn't want to be stuck without either when the need arises.

  • If you're going to steal an article and the title, at least steal the whole thing. http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000260021869/
  • by UranusReallyHertz (567776) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:12AM (#10950381)
    Korea is still very much divided into two completely different countrys. South korea is rich, modern, and the most wired country on earth. North Korea is very poor, essentially unchanged in the last 50 years, and the Internet is illegal, along with cell phones. Pyongyang tried an experimental rollout of cell phone service but it was stopped, probbably because the authorities couldn't keep adequate control over it. I've oftened wondered what it would be like if the North actually invaded the South. It would be almost like time travel for the poor Northern soldiers.
  • by Sheepdot (211478) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:12AM (#10950382) Journal
    Think about it for a minute.

    Spam typically COMES from Korea. It would make sense then, that Koreans generally do not use email (which, in most Korean's minds is for SPAM only) as a communication means.
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:18AM (#10950407) Homepage
    What a dumb article. Email is hear to stay in one form or another for very basic reasons that make it different from IM. Each is suited to a different task. Email isn't well suited to saying things like "how did your day go" just like IM chat isn't well suited towards critiquing a paper. Really what this article is about is how email was being used for quick forms of communication where it really was never very well suited.

    Email is a medium best suited to explaining large topics where you need to compose and edit a message. That does tend to be more formal communication. Really it's an inherently different way to communicate because you get to compose a message rather than have a conversation. IM is realtime conversation, whereas email is a form of writing.

    I've had chat capability almost as long as email, probbably started somewhere around 1991. I actually do tend to use email to talk to people that are less tech savy, and IRC or IM to those that are more tech savy, so it's not just a Korean thing. The core reason for the tech-gap is because email caught on much quicker than chat because email doesn't require a constant on connection. With people having broadband connections that're always on more and more it's obvious why IM is becoming a more and more popular a form of communication. Most communication people do is the short "can you do blah" rather than "here's a long winded explanation of blah".
  • There is a program for teens, $25 for unlimited SMSes for a month.

    The cheating via SMS for university entrance exams was uncovered, and investigated. Teens in SK cannot live without the cell phone, especially SMS, that's the major communication device quick and easy.

    They can send messages at the same speed as we type on keyboards.
  • There are a hundred emails in my inbox right now. Most of them are communications from my various classes, formal inquiries, mailing lists, and invoices.

    All of these things are very important. I would say that email is meant for more permanent, longer purposes. I wouldn't want to get any of these messages over IM or SMS. I have had delays of up to 20 minutes receiving SMS messages, as well. Why on earth would I want to use a phonen keypad to type a letter?

    Instant Messenger also has its place, but not for
  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:25AM (#10950441) Homepage
    I don't like the immediate interaction of IM for the same reason I don't like phones, cell or otherwise. I don't like people virtually popping in and demanding my attention no matter what I am doing. Most of my calls go to VM and when I tried IM I found that I left it set to 'away' most of the time.
    If you need to get a hold of me, email is the fastest way. I check them every hour or so. I check the VM only 1-2 times a day. If only I could turn off the phone at work as well.

  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:25AM (#10950442)
    I'm in my early 20s, and have some major difficulties with IM. Some of my contacts are younger and do prefer IM for almost everything, but I get the sense that they are suffering from continual distractions. Some have admitted to me, jokingly, that they are "addicted to MSN". I think this isn't far from the truth.

    An instant conversation is nice to have, but if you have ongoing conversations throughout the day you simply can not focus on your computer work!

    People often think they are smarter than they actually are. I am willing to acknowledge that I don't have the mental capacity to seriously work on more than one thing at a time. I prefer the operation of email, since communications get queued up and will be answered at my convenience. Not only are they queued up (Jabber, ICQ does that too of course) but this is the expected mode of operation, so there is no etiquette problem with delays on the order of days before a reply.

    Another thing is, most of my friends who are non-techies have given up on email because: spam, and junk from friends. Well, neither of these is really a problem: wonderful, free spam filtering systems exist that will reliably get rid of 99% of your spam, and simple self discipline (and being politely firm with your contacts) will prevent your inbox from becoming the destination for circulated crap.

    If I want instant conversations, I pick up the phone or go outside. This is coming from a young guy who is plenty literate with computers! Besides, you can't reliably pick up cues from girls behind a keyboard.
    • I agree with most of your points. Especially that you can't read into any inflections over IM regardless of gender like you can with a phone or in person. If the person you are talking to is a good friend, you can normally guess at some of the inflections and sarcasim; but it really stinks for talking to people that are outside of your circle of friends/peers.

      I find IM and SMS usefull for situations where phone is unacceptable, like in church, a meeting, or movie; But in general If i have more than a senta
  • This adds to the suckitude of Korea's Communication Law as it pertains to US Military stationed in Korea.

    As part of this law, many activities (including getting a cell phone contract, or using just about any ecommerce site) require the use of a resident registration number. This is something akin to a social security number in the US, except that non-citizens can get one legitimately when they register as a legal resident. I cannot, however, as US Military in korea cannot register.

    So I'm stuck using a d
  • How does phone use in Korea compare to phone use in the West? What IM service/protocol do they use mostly? (MSN, AOL, Jabber?)
  • It would be helpful to point out that everyone, everywhere, at ALL TIMES (no, i am not exagerrating) is within arm's reach of their mobile phone: on the subway, walking, in the car, meetings, in the hwajongshil, everywhere, always. The same does not hold true for what Koreans consider "email", where you sit down at your desk, open up Outlook, type a message, and send it off.

    The other cultural thirk here is that Koreans, especially in Seoul, are very very demanding of instant answers to the slightest issue. As such, there is no taboo for answering your cell phone in the middle of a meeting (by contrast, this is as bad as farting in a meeting in Japan).

    I will say that email is still used for "official" stuff: official sales responses, bids, inquiries, and for formal appointment arranging.
  • by mabu (178417) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:51AM (#10950533)
    We've blocked every IP block from Korea at the router level. The level of spam originating from their IP space is simply astronomical. Maybe if their telcos got their act together, more of their citizens who might want to contact people outside the country might be able to do so. Otherwise, I suspect the reason most people don't use e-mail is because it's completely unreliable due to spammers taking over their networks and being RBL'd.
  • by SunofMan (829776) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:29AM (#10950642)
    Here's my take on the issue:

    In America, e-mail is more widely used because it has a longer history. It's been around since the beginning of the Internet, and e-mail was a much better method of communication during the dial-up era. If you're getting charged by the minute (which is what used to happen on dial-up), you want to download your e-mail, read it offline, compose replies (still offline), then connect to send them so that you're not getting charged for nothing. Even after broadband became more popular (and dial-up cheaper), e-mail remained popular because it was well established.

    In Korea, Internet access exploded onto the scene with broadband access almost from the start. Imagine a situation where barely anybody uses the Internet, and then one day everybody's on a DSL or cable connection. Also imagine that these users have never been exposed to e-mail. Sure, some of them will use e-mail (especially in the academic circle), but most of the users will be drawn to the communications applications that are more interactive, less boring(?), and require more bandwidth. E-mail just has that much less of an established reputation in such a situation.

    Another eason may be cultural. E-mail is time consuming (compared to cell phones or IM), and it is a much more private medium. Koreans are very impatient, and they are also a very community-oriented nation of people. E-mail just doesn't cut it for these types of people, since you never know how long it'll take to get a reply back. Message boards, blogs, IM, and cell phone conversations do, however, satisfy the need for instant communication and community-oriented communication.

    Just my $0.02 (or roughly 20 won)
  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:33AM (#10950647) Homepage Journal
    ...they'd better send us this fad [chosun.com] as well.

    Mal-2
  • I'm living in Beijing, China and have a lot of friends from Korea (both North and South)

    What you have to remember is that in this part of the world, not everyone can afford a computer desktop, but even my maid has a mobile phone, with SMS messaging.

    Another important factor is that young people don't always have a personal computer that is private from their parents, while their mobile phone is typically very private. Also, most younger people don't like to hang around the house, they are typically out meeting with friends in some youth oriented location. This is both personal preference and the fact that they want some privacy. So SMS get's really popular because you can always have your mobile phone around.

    There are some political issues. Lots of people are more concerned that the gov't is checking emails servers for what is classified as subversive activity. Not that SMS is more secure, but I think that the gov't hasn't quite caught on to it yet, dispite what happened in the Philopeans a few years ago :)

    Another thing is that SMS and IM are more interactive, and during that time of life you are working a lot to develop your interpersonal skills, so you want to spend a lot of time chatting.

    Why not just call and talk? Well, typically SMS messagin is very cheap compared to talking on the phone. Actually when I first got to Beijing I really annoyed some people when I was calling them, because I was costing them a lot of money.

    You can also type SMS with your hand hidden in a coat pocket or in a purse, which is something that a lot of younger people in class do. You can SMS your friends while sitting in class much more easily than calling them on the mobile.

    When you get older and have your own apartment you don't mind spending so much time there because your parents are not peeking into your bedroom. So you will be more comfortable to use technologies like email with a desktop, that is tied to a single location. I don't worry that my parents will walk in and see me blowing kisses at my girlfriend when we talk online, for example.

    But yeah, this can be a big generation gap. I run a couple of social groups that I use email mailing lists to organize, and several of the younger people in the group are always sending me SMS's because they don't read the emails. So I guess I will look into some sort of SMS to email gateway, since the whole point of having the mailing list is so that I don't spend too much time organizing the projects.

    Anyway, just remember that tech is always evolving and that if you want to keep of the lines of comunication you need to stay on top of it.
  • Hardly new.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chiller2 (35804) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @09:34AM (#10952307) Homepage
    This isn't new. Around 1993/94 my school friends and I had CB radios, as phonecalls were charged by the minute in the UK local or not. When uni started in 95 we left our irc clients running. IM came along and I use it all the time.

    The whole time though, for anything I want to pay serious attention to I'll use e-mail or the phone.

    It's just kids wanting instant gratification, same as ever. Nothing has changed; rather they just have more toys to play with. Patience is a virtue.

The ideal voice for radio may be defined as showing no substance, no sex, no owner, and a message of importance for every housewife. -- Harry V. Wade

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