From nowhere, Twitter has come to be an established part of anyone’s presence on the web. First people used static websites, then it was blogs. In parallel, discussion forums and bulletin boards sprung up. Social networking sites followed, and finally came Twitter, the microblogging platform. All represent different ways to reach and interact with different audiences.
Of course, in the Korean blogosphere (also known as the Klogosphere), the majority of the prime content is on the mainstream blogs, catalogued by Alan Scully over on the Korean Blog list – there are now 631 of them.
Discussion forums are critically dependent on the quality of their members and the discretion of their moderators. One of the longest established, koreanfilm.org has international reach, while others are more geared to the English Language teaching community in Korea.
Social networking? This has been less popular with bloggers, though a critical mass of Korean bands now use MySpace as one of their marketing tools. LKL is on Facebook, which provides a ready made discussion forum, the weakness of which is that new posts do not get emailed to a moderator who might respond to the comment. From my own perspective, the power of Facebook (apart from the viral power of user recommendations) is that for me it’s a zero-effort way of running a distribution list so that I can email people about upcoming events. I gave up manually maintaining my distribution list when it got to 20 people. With Facebook, I reach 280 and rising.
An active adopter of Twitter is paradoxically the official organ one of the most web-disconnected countries in the world: the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency. The DPRK is so web-disconnected that its presence on the web uses a Japanese domain suffix. Its use of Twitter has enabled readers regular access to the voice of the DPRK which was nigh-on impossible using their regular platform, because their RSS feed never seemed to work.
If the KCNA has discovered the power of Twitter, tweeting has now gone mainstream in the Klogosphere. Nowadays, no Korean blogger worth his or her salt is without a presence on Twitter. How does Twitter complement the main blog? For me, there’s two main ways:
- At the most basic level, it’s a mini RSS feed. If you set it up right, headings of all your blog posts appear on Twitter as soon as they appear on your blog. Pointless? Not at all. I use my own Twitter account as a blog aggregator to scan what the bloggers I “follow” have been writing about. Quicker than surfing the blogs themselves. Other people do the same, and the more people are “following” you on Twitter, the more people will be clicking through to read the content on your blog.
- In terms of original content, LKL uses Twitter to publish posts that don’t merit a proper article in themselves. The WordPress community calls these mini-posts “Asides”. Often the only thing these mini-articles contain is a link to an interesting external article or a random pithy comment. I’ve chosen not to post “Asides” on LKL as they don’t suit the overall feel of the site, but Twitter is an ideal platform for this type of content. You can even tweet by SMS message. Even better, there’s a little WordPress plugin called Twitter Tools which automatically bundles up all the “Asides” I post on Twitter and publishes them in a single weekly article on LKL: this is the LKL Weekly Tweets post you see every Monday morning. The resulting post is like ROKDrop’s weekly links or Robert Koehler’s weekly links digest for Seoul Selection. I usually subsequently edit these posts to add images and maybe expand on the original comments, but if you look at LKL on Monday morning what you see is an unadorned collection of LKL’s Tweets.
The KCNA, at the time of writing, has one thousand tweets to its credit. Web marketers south of the 39th parallel also, unsurprisingly, have caught on. Of the official agencies, the Korea Tourism Organisation has set up a couple of Twitter accounts. In London, LKL contributor and Meeting Mr Kim author Jennifer Barclay has set up a lively account publicising Korean events and tourism on behalf of the KTO – Cool Stuff Korea is well worth a visit. To my shame, it was Jennifer’s Twitter account which reminded me that the Thames Festival is almost upon us. There’s even a joker impersonating the South Korean government, posting typo-ridden rants about Dokdo.
And so it will continue to grow. Until the next big thing.
Selected official and semi-official Twitter accounts:
- Korea Tourism (since 27 January 09, 289 tweets)
- Korea Society (since 9 Feb 09, 50 tweets)
- DPRK_KCNA (since 24 April 09, 989 tweets)
- Hi Seoul (since 6 May 09, 14 tweets)
- Korea.net (since 24 May 09, 16 tweets)
- Cool Stuff Korea (since 17 July 09, 36 tweets)
Selected Klog Twitterers: