Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cyworld: Myspace, Flickr, Blogger, AIM, and SecondLife in ONE

It looks like the future of Social networking is going to come from Korea in the form of a tool called Cyworld.  O'Reilly has a long post referencing the Business2.0 article on the topic covering many angles.  But as I glossed over the geopolitical discussion and focused on the technology I gathered these bits from the B2.0 article:
"Cyworld, for example, is a social network owned by a subsidiary of SK Telecom, the country's largest wireless provider. To an American eye, the Cyworld service looks like a mixture of some of the hottest US properties: it's MySpace meets Flickr and Blogger and AIM and Second Life.

Users have avatars that visit and can link to each other's "minihompy" - a miniature homepage that's actually a 3-D room containing a users' blog, photos, and virtual items for sale. Cyworld's digital garage sales include music, ringtones, clothes for your avatar and furnishings for your own minihompy.

Cyworld has penetration rates that would make Rupert Murdoch, CEO of MySpace parent News Corp. (Research), green with envy: An astonishing 90 percent of South Koreans in their 20s use the service. Celebrities and politicians set up their own minihompies, and the way to get ahead in twentysomething Korean society is to found a popular Cyworld club, or chat room."

The fact that this little world is also easily used on a cellphone blows me away.  And now I'm thrilled to hear...
"Cyworld is expanding fast. It launched in China and Japan last year, and a US launch is slated for later this year."

Isn't this the platform we have been hoping for? Combining all of the great uses of different social networking tools into one that is portable to many devices. Sounds almost too good to be true. Sounds like the ultimate virtual classroom to me.
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