P2P interview #7 with Chang Kim (Google) : " web plays a big role in social relationship in Korea"

by Laurent François

Chang Kim is a great Korean blogger that I daily read

  • Who are you and what are you doing online ? :)

My name is Chang Kim and I work at Google’s Korean office. On the online, I write a blog called Web 2.0 Asia (http://web20asia.com) that deals with web innovations in Korea and in the rest of the Asia.

  • What made you start blogging ?

I was one of the organizers for Korea’s first Web 2.0 Conference back in 2006, called “Next Generation Web 2006″. I was responsible for inviting foreign speakers. One foreign speaker hailing from the Valley was asking the audience questions like “How many of you have heard of the term Web 2.0?” or, “Do you know what Flickr is?”. Being asked such basic questions in a room packed with web industry experts, I felt Korea’s web industry is perhaps very little known outside of the country. In fact, Korea had been ahead of many other countries in terms of broadband infrastructure and accordingly created many new web based business models. But the problem was that not many people made an effort to introduce those early Korean web innovations to people outside of Korea, probably due to language barrier and the necessity of tenacious, dedicated effort. So I decided one day to start the effort, and here I am.

  • I know that you travel a lot abroad: if you had to briefly explain the social web in Korea, what would you say?

Turns out I don’t really travel that much these days :) But anyhow, web plays a big role in social relationship in Korea. Now the rest of the world (including US) has pretty much caught up, but Koreans have embraced social networking (mostly through Cyworld) since the late 90’s. That was possible because Korea was a highly wired country even then – helped much by the aggressive government effort to put in place the nationwide broadband infrastructure. But now Cyworld and social networking service seems to be stalling a bit, failing to create new value other than checking out what friends were doing (their photos etc). Meanwhile, on the other hand, social media including blogs and citizen journalism have seen a dramatic growth in Korea during recent years. For example, during the massive anti-US beef import rallies last year, many people did blogging and video casting at the scene – still a relative rarity in other countries, I assume.

  • If you could achieve a dream or a kind of utopia thanks to social media, what would it be?

I want to see everyone having their media page – a URL – and use it for identifying themselves. When you give a business card today, it contains telephone number, email address, and physical address. Why not a URL of your own blog or homepage? I think everyone will soon become a brand / media. When we were running a startup, the best way to find good people was to follow/read that person’s blog, not looking at resume — so your URL best represents you. Putting in good content over a long time isn’t something you can do in a short time. Of course there will be a privacy issue, but there will be a privacy controlling system where you can easily distinguish public content and private content.

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