When it comes to the internet, Korea uses almost all it’s own sites. But when it comes to cell phone use, there’s really only one main app they use to chat: Kakao Talk.
When we got this question, it was a pretty straight forward answer for both of us. If you’re familiar with Korea and Korean culture, you may already know this and you might even use Kakao. The Kakao Talk app is about as common now in Korea as kimchi. That’s not an exaggeration.
Kakao talk, according to Wikipedia, was launched in 2010 and is used by 93% of smart phone users in Korea.
The number one reason we can see why it’s so widely used is because it’s a text-messaging app, and text messaging is extremely popular these days. There are other features to Kakao Talk such as group chat and Kakao story, which is sharing photos with friends. There are also other features at this point like making free phone calls Kakao user to Kakao user over wifi. This is a very useful thing! Richard and I were calling each other over Kakao Talk this summer when we were home in the US. The Kakao calling service is as clear as day, and works really well.
Koreans used to use a social media website called CyWorld. It’s still a functioning website, but not nearly as popular as it was five years ago. It’s basically the myspace of Korea. Now if people use Social media on a desktop, laptop, tablet, Ipad or smartphone, they may use Facebook or Twitter. Facebook is probably the most popular here after Kakao, followed by Twitter in a distant third. Instagram is also used by Kpop stars and entertainers in Korea, but we find most people still do not use it. Admittedly, we are not extremely familiar with a large variety of different apps that Koreans use regularly.
I mentioned in the video that text messaging started in Japan. I read that somewhere a long time ago, that Japanese schoolgirls started the text messaging craze. In the video I said that text messaging started in Japan, but the very first text message was actually sent in the U.K. Japan was one of the first countries to adopt text messaging, especially amongst teenagers because it was cheap and an easy way to communicate. By now, text messaging has virtually changed the way society communicates and interacts with each other.
The one thing we didn’t talk too much about in the video, is the actual text messages themselves. That’s a whole different video. ☺
Last week’s LIKE IT video: