May 7th, 2005

In South Korea,the world’s most internet connected country,”Cyworld has 13 million residents and visitors,more than a quarter of the country’s population.And with it has come its own currency,slang and social pressure.In Cyworld an address is a “minihompy”, which is short for mini homepage or, between friends, simply a “hompy”.A person with a homepage is called a “mini-me”.When new Cyworld citizens sign up,they get a featureless empty room as part of their homepage package.The challenge is to decorate it and then construct a personality for “mini-me”.For Cyworld’s owners, one of Seoul’s most successful internet companies,the site makes 200 million won ($A258,000)a day,according to the Samsung Economic Research Institute.Money pours in when the Cyworld population goes on a decorating,gift-buying or music downloading spree to adorn their “room”.The more attractive and interesting the room,the more visitors it gets.And in Cyworld,popularity equates to fame and success.The site even measures sexiness and friendliness,which it gauges by the number of gifts a person gives or receives”.
Cyberworld imitates life

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