Cyworld: User Segmentation and Targeting
TMBA BBUS 506 A
Michael Cavelero, Joel Engstrom, Nesreen Zadah, David Tobey
Introduction Smoke signals, telegraphs and telephones: communication in the modern world evolves quickly. The 21st century has been no exception. The rise of the internet heralded the growth of so called “online social networks” or simply “social networks” – websites where individual users carved out their own niche. Many of these networks have become household names to Americans: MySpace, Facebook, Linkedin and more. For many Koreans between the ages of ten and thirty, social networking has meant one thing: Cyworld. Cyworld, a small social networking ...view middle of the document...
Why People Use Social Networks Knowing why people use Cyworld is fundamental to understanding how to retain users and attract new ones. Qualitatively, our team understood the need to connect with other people as a basic human need. Other “old media” types, such as radio, music and television, are “passive” – offering users a one-way conversation: the media broadcasts and the viewer consumes. These old medias may connect with a person on an emotional level, but do not provide real time feedback and are not dynamic. This leaves the most established part of the human social psyche unmet: relationships. One of the most powerful differentiators for social networks is feedback, assumedly, from friends and family. On Cyworld, and most other social networks, a user can send messages, write on people's “walls”, or blog about any subject they deem important. Through other features, such as Twitter, a user can instantly communicate what they are doing, thinking, feeling, or experiencing through a text message on their phone. This leads a user’s friends (and "followers") to reply with their insights. This, in turn, creates a feeling of connection beyond what any other informational internet site, movie, or song can provide. This connection often transcends differences in geography, gender, age or economic position – critical barriers to relationships that, according to our analysis, persist in modern East Asian cultures. Indeed, social networks are often criticized by authority figures in China, Korea and elsewhere for encouraging “inappropriate discourse” between young men and women. Additionally, through these endless connections, a user has the capacity to explore what others are interested in. If, for example, a friend posts a new song, the user can listen and make judgments. A user can find friends who have seen a movie or visited a new restaurant. Based on their reviews, the user can make better purchasing decisions. Social networks expose other's experiences, helping to reduce the number of decisions a consumer has to make. Not incidentally, advertisers are awakening to the marketing potential of these living opinion forums. Social networks are also playgrounds of creativity. Social rules define a limited public acceptance of creativity and speech. In traditional mediums, different points of view are met with high levels of judgment, creating a fight or flight sensation that limits many from expressing themselves. Social networking alleviates that with a sense of detachment. Individuals can express themselves in new ways that are seemingly not bound by the same public social rules. This gives creatives an opportunity to communicate their feelings and create new forms of expression with less fear of judgment. Examples of such forums for creativity include deviantArt.com, highly popular with Asian artists, where anyone can upload any artwork for free and have it commented on by friends and followers. Much like American employers that now...