Recently, I was invited by my collaborator, Assoc Prof Michael Netzley from Singapore Management University to speak to his students on the course module “Digital Media Across Asia”. The talk focus on a basic introduction to social networks and its applications to corporate communications for his students. While putting the whole talk together, I wanted to bring forward a couple of insights thru the observations and analysis (with Michael and Nicholas Khoo) that I have done on a couple of social networks in Asia, for e.g. mig33, QQ, CyWorld and demonstrate what a good set of best practices will be. We also tried for the first time do a recording of the talk and it allowed me to learn how to integrate as a slidecast on Slideshare.
A couple of things which I like to elaborate as we did not manage to steer the conversation during the class if you have heard the slidecast:
- Facebook has beaten CyWorld for the South Korea in early 2010: A new datapoint emerged in the beginning of Jan 2010. Facebook, in a very stealth way, has just displaced CyWorld to be the top social network in South Korea. This is probably the first crack in the East Asian bloc where a foreign social network has successfully toppled the incumbent. What is the reason? One probable reason is that a lot of Korean users are playing social games or tapping 3rd party applications on an open platform which CyWorld has not deployed out yet. I probably wanted to pose the question: is the beginning of a domino effect that may hit Japan soon given Mixi and Gree are in dead heat for the 1st place?
- Can the micro-transactions model work in Western based social networks?: We know that Facebook is now on the verge to deploy a beta-tested version of micro-transactions in the platform. The question as posed in the discussion by one of the students during my talk: does reverse engineering of an idea from the East will work in the West? I probably think so, given that Silicon Valley have been holding a lot of conferences of virtual goods and currency and talking about these models which are successful in the Far East. In fact, with the help of the mobile smartphones like the iPhone and Nexus One, it may be the beginning of an era where Western social networks may successfully monetize in their own homeground.