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Communications The Internet

In Korea, Email Is Only For Old People 439

_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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  • by cbelle13013 ( 812401 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:23AM (#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.
  • if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by torrents ( 827493 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:23AM (#10950141) Homepage
    email is for old people what do they think of those who use the "physical" postal service...
  • by Indy1 ( 99447 ) <> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:26AM (#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.
  • naim (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Brainix ( 748988 ) <> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:27AM (#10950170) Homepage
    I came across a nice way to use IM as a primary means of communication. I run naim [] with GNU Screen [] 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.
  • by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:28AM (#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 Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:28AM (#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.
  • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lordkuri ( 514498 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:29AM (#10950183)
    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
  • by PurpleFloyd ( 149812 ) <> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:52AM (#10950290) Homepage
    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.
  • by shmergin ( 679427 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:56AM (#10950309)
    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.
  • AFAIK (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StarKruzr ( 74642 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:04AM (#10950347) Journal
    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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:08AM (#10950359)
    As mentioned email and IM have thir own uses. Email is more like an answering machine while IM is like your telephone. As far as help desks go (not to be insulting to the all-knowing tech guy) but IM is the way to go. Help desks exist in order to solve problems and if you guys are not there and available to answer problems you apparently do not work there. (I have seen a lot of people getting fired over stuff like that when I used to work at a help desk).

    Anyway, just like with a phone number if you know the number of a person that you want to talk to you call them. If not you leave a message to someone that can convey it to the person. Same thing pretty much should apply to emails and IMs.

    As far as South Korea goes, man those are the people that had problems with youngsters (12-13 years old) being addicted to the internet, so no surprise there ...
  • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yartrebo ( 690383 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:09AM (#10950367)
    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.
  • by UranusReallyHertz ( 567776 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:12AM (#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 Ray Alloc ( 835739 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:46AM (#10950509)
    How about plucking a feather from your pet goose, and starting a long love letter by scratching its inked tip on the surface of a ruguous sheet of yellowed paper instead?

    Now _that's_ writing. Forget about emoticons, let your emotions flow instead.
  • by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 ( 812236 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @03:15AM (#10950603) Journal
    You can still use the "old" ICQ. I'm currently using ICQ 2003b. Even ICQ 2002 works.

    Click here [] to download.
  • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xstonedogx ( 814876 ) <> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @03:28AM (#10950637)
    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 often bring it up the next time.)

    It reminds me of people waiting to hang up the phone until after the voicemail has prompted them for a message. Why listen to the message just to hang up?
  • by hypatia ( 86372 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @03:33AM (#10950645)
    North Koreans who escape to the South actually have special adjustment schools they can go to. It's not just about tech, but also teaches the Northerners, who've experienced famine, about things like dieting.
  • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @03:54AM (#10950730)
    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 modem connections, with those of us on broadband showing it off by being connected 24/7, so a lot of times you don't know if someone is there or not.)


  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @03:54AM (#10950731)
    No, sorry, doesn't work that way. Help requests are not processed in the order recieved, they are processed based off of importance, policy, skill, and time.

    If you submit a request to have a handholding session for how to use Power Point 5 minutes before someone else submits a request to fix their desktop that won't boot, you aren't getting processed first. The most important work gets done first. Someone having no access is more important than some training.

    There is alos policy as to order of requests. Critical systems are first, then professors, then staff, etc (university here). This is departmental policy, not somehting we control. So if a student asks for something, and a professor asks for something, the professor gets help first.

    Then there is skill. Not all the tech staff are skilled at the same thing. If you send in an advanced Solaris problem, I am not going to attempt to solve it simply because I am the one who saw it first. I'll hand it off ot the Solaris admin, who is likely to fix it right, and fix it efficiently.

    Finaly there is time. If your job is something like installing 10 systems with an OS and apps, and another job comes in that is the quick update of a single app, the quick job gets processed first. Your job is a long endevor anyhow, there isn't any reason to make 5 minute work wait a day on it.

    Logging is important in all this, which e-mail is good for. If you sumbit a request for 10 systems for install, we need to have a record of what you wanted on them. It's not going to happen in 10 seconds, there needs to be a reference for what was needed.

    It's also important since, as I noted, the first person to read the ticket isn't necessiarly the one who does the job. You don't want second-hand miscommunication of information, you want an accurate record of what was requested.

    Of course I think the main problem here is you have a self-superior incorrect picture of what a helpdesk is. This is not a reference to a group of people that sit behind desks and do nothing but take calls. This means the entire technical department, the manager, all the admins, and so on.

    There is no gaurentee that any of us are at our desks at any time. If someone needs support on their desktop and I am the one who is best to provide it, I must go and support them. If an issue then comes in that I am uniquely qualified or at least the most qualified to deal with, it needs to wait until I get back.

    Perhaps it's different where you work, but where we are, e-mail is essential. E-mailing a ticket to help is a great way to ensure your job is done fast and correct. Stopping the tech manager in the hall is a great way to ensure he adds it to his already overloaded plate and it may never get done.

    Getting a person in realtime may provide more instant satisfaction, but it doesn't necessiarly get what you want done. Also, we have a phone line (and office to visit) for such requests, but that doesn't lessen the usefullness of e-mail.
  • by Amata ( 554796 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @06:14AM (#10951131)
    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 some games/their associated websites.

    That and getting sent to automatically gets kinda annoying after a while.
  • Re:Greasy Kids Stuff (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cougem ( 734635 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @07:09AM (#10951251)
    Yes, but I don't get porn over IM. Well OK, I don't get porn I didn't ask for over IM.

    I just feel sorry for all those old Korean Women, who are constantly being sent e-mails with english text they don't understand, and pictures of pills and some naked guy with a photoshopped penis.
    Must be a great way for them to experience Western culture.
  • by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @10:18AM (#10952158)
    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 attention, and it has the non-time-critical-ness (?) of e-mail without making a bazillion e-mails in your box to have a conversation
  • by UranusReallyHertz ( 567776 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @03:11PM (#10955138)
    Iraq is hardly a point of pride, but I can honestly say that the initial ivasion wasn't so bad, and it's really not the US who is makeing the situation so bad. The completely phsychotic element of the insurgency is doing that all on its own. Honestly getting beat by the US worked out pretty damn good for Japan and West Germany, theres no reason it can't do the same for Iraq.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.