Cyworld, for example, is a social network owned by a subsidiary of SK Telecom, the country's largest wireless provider. To an American eye, the Cyworld service looks like a mixture of some of the hottest US properties: it's MySpace meets Flickr and Blogger and AIM and Second Life.
Users have avatars that visit and can link to each other's "minihompy" - a miniature homepage that's actually a 3-D room containing a users' blog, photos, and virtual items for sale. Cyworld's digital garage sales include music, ringtones, clothes for your avatar and furnishings for your own minihompy.
Cyworld has penetration rates that would make Rupert Murdoch, CEO of MySpace parent News Corp, green with envy: An astonishing 90% of South Koreans in their 20s use the service. Celebrities and politicians set up their own minihompies, and the way to get ahead in twentysomething Korean society is to found a popular Cyworld club, or chat room.