To say technology is present in Korea would be an understatement. Big-time tech companies Samsung and LG can certainly attest to that statement as they are the major providers of communications and machinery in Korea. Every where you turn, there is someone with a cell phone in hand, either enjoying music, talking or texting. It’s a well-known fact that texting has become quite popular over the years, and is perhaps one of the easiest and quickest ways to communicate. However, the texting app KakaoTalk is what keeps Koreans and Korean tourists well-connected. KakaoTalk is the most widely used application amongst Korean natives with over 100 million users registered. Not only are users able to instant message one another for free, but video calling and phone calls are of no charge through the app as well.
If you’re like me, you may be worried about the data charges that could take place when accessing all of these apps, well there’s no need to fear. 9 times out of 10, wherever you land in the city, there will be Wi-Fi—FREE Wi-Fi. Not only in local coffee shops or big businesses, but at the bus stops as well. Korea, Seoul in particular, is so far advanced in the technological aspect. You cannot even ride down the street without seeing advertisements for Samsung (way more popular than Apple here) and Korean telecommunications service Olleh.
As for social media, Facebook is a popular source of entertainment and information about Korean citizens. After talking to students and some of the employees at my office, I learned that Facebook is probably the most widely used social app in Korea, right after KakaoTalk of course. Facebook is so prevalent, that it is the main tool I use for my internship. Sharing information about my travels via Facebook as well as the Korean blog and hosting service, Naver, are the central means of communication flow between foreigners and Koreans.
Technology outside of social media is astounding here too. Being the blossoming city that it is, Seoul has moved away from traditional lock and key. Most buildings, new and old, do not feature dead bolts and locks, but are equipped with computerized dial pads or locks that are opened with chip-enabled key fobs. Overall, I’ve been amazed with how advanced this city and this country is.
America may have some catching up to do!