What is SNS in South Korea and what are the most popular social media apps in Korea? Is Instagram banned there? Find out more in this article!
Who doesn’t have social media these days? A lot of people spend more time on Instagram and Facebook than they do socializing in real life. And the people of South Korea are no different.
There are several popular social media apps that South Koreans use and these include international apps like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and local ones like Naver and Duam.
Related: Best Dating Apps In Korea
And it’s not surprising that Koreans are so into social media either. Recent statistics show that at least 95 percent of Korean citizens are connected to the internet. Now that is among the largest number of internet users in the world.
In fact, they have also been among the first to embrace 5G technology. As early as April 2019, Korea’s top three internet providers started offering 5G services which were 100 times faster than regular old 4G.
So it’s not surprising that the SNS landscape is growing in South Korea at such an exponential rate.
|Social Media App||Type of App||Local or International|
|Kakao Talk||Instant Messaging/Video Calling||South Korean|
|Line||Instant Messaging/Video Calling||Japanese|
|Photo & Video Sharing App||American|
|Naver Cafe||Social Community App||South Korean|
|TikTok||Short Video Sharing App||Chinese|
|Daum Cafe||Photo Sharing & Microblogging||South Korean|
|Kakao Story||Photo & Video Sharing App||South Korean|
|Somoim||Social Networking App||South Korean|
What is SNS in Korea?
SNS stands for Social Networking Service (written in Korean Hangul as “소셜네트워크 서비스”). It is a group of websites, online service platforms and applications that are created for the purpose of building social relationships between people based on common interests, intentions, beliefs and opinions. So any social media application will come under the umbrella of SNS in Korea.
Most Popular Social Media Apps In Korea 2022
There are several popular social media apps in South Korea and I’ve listed out a few of the popular ones here. I’ve used these apps personally so I’ve also reviewed them in a way. These social media apps include:
KakaoTalk is actually a local South Korea social media app. It was created by the Kakao foundation in March 2010 and is an instant messaging platform.
What’s interesting is that Kakao Talk (also known as KaTalk colloquially) has surpassed other messaging apps like Whatsapp in Korea.
In fact, in the first quarter of 2021, Kakao Talk reportedly had 52.9 million active users in the whole world out of which 46.3 million were based in Korea.
What’s more, this is a free app internationally as well and is available in 15 languages. So it is expected that the users will continue to grow.
Line is one of the rare social media apps in Korea that isn’t Korean or American. While it was created by a subsidiary of the Naver Corporation, it’s actually of Japanese origin.
The company NHN Japan created the app in June of 2011 as a rival to Kakao Talk in Japan which incidentally is South Korean.
What sets Line apart from other instant messaging apps like KakaoTalk or Whatsapp is the use of personalized stickers.
In fact several Korean celebrities have teamed up with Line to create cartoon avatars of themselves to be used in Line.
Korean pop group BTS’ “BT21” stickers are one such example.
Looking at the sheer popularity of Instagram, it’s no wonder that it’s among the most popular social media apps in Korea. According to research, in 2020, about 13.4 million of the total Instagram users were from South Korea.
Fan Instagram accounts or “Finstas” are one of the reasons why this photo-sharing platform is so popular. Most young people in Korea are obsessed with celebrities and use Instagram to create fan accounts dedicated to their idols.
Unlike photo and video sharing apps Naver Cafe is a social media platform that allows users to create their own internet communities based on common interests.
In May 2017, almost 10.5 million cafes were known to be running on Naver. It also doesn’t let you limit your interests as you can create up to 300 cafes on one account.
If you want to learn how to create a new Naver Cafe want, check this out!
I mean is it possible to have an article about social media these days and NOT mention TikTok? Impossible. This short-form video content app has taken over the world.
Most of the users of Tiktok in South Korea are teens. In fact, some of these users have amassed such a large following that they can now be considered celebrities in their own right!
TikTok in Korea is used in a variety of different ways. There are users who share their skills in dance, singing and choreography videos. There are family channels that record their kids growing up. And there are cat videos…now those are always a hit!
Now Daum is a bit different than any other social media app in Korea. It doesn’t focus on sharing videos or photos or instant messaging. Instead, it helps people connect to their interests by joining different “cafes”.
This app is very popular with young people as they use it to interact with their favorite celebrities.
You would actually need a KakaoTalk account to sign up to Daum and after registering you can select different cafes to join based on your interest.
BTS has famously created a “BANGTAN fancafe” on Daum to interact with fans.
Yes, Kakao Story was created by the same corporation that launched Kakao Talk. If the latter was supposed to be Korea’s answer to Whatsapp, Kakao Story is a photo sharing app created as an alternative to Instagram.
While Instagram is still among the most popular social media platforms, Kakao Story recorded more users than Facebook in South Korea.
Thanks to the popularity of short form content, Kakao Story has also added the “stories” feature to the app to combat competition from Tiktok and Instagram Reels.
Despite having a reputation of being an Asian country that respects family values and community bonding, South Korea has increasingly become lonely for working adults.
So in comes the social media app Somoim that helps people get to know their neighbors.
Basically, it’s a location-based social networking app that lets you know if there are any meetings, gatherings, parties or events in your locality.
You can join in and create a sort of community that meets up often to do more social activities like sightseeing, drinking, dining, etc.
It’s supposed to help lonely people connect with others in a no-strings attached sort of way…but with friends.
As per statistical reports dated March 2022, almost 42.31 percent of total social media users in Korea were active on Twitter.
Twitter is popular with not just Koreans but all of the world as it doesn’t require effort unlike Instagram or Tiktok. It’s a microblogging site so you need only 120 words to express yourself which doesn’t take much of someone’s time either.
Here you can see how Kpop remains a topic of “trending” conversation on Korean Twitter!
FAQs about the Popular Social Media Apps in Korea
What is the most popular social media platform in South Korea?
According to research the most popular social media platform this month in 2022 was Twitter with over 42.31 percent of users. Twitter was closely followed by Facebook which amassed over 29.18 percent of users and then YouTube with 19.91 percent social media users flocking to the video sharing site.
Is Instagram banned in South Korea?
What social media do Korean celebrities use?
Korean celebrities like celebs everywhere use a lot of social media apps for PR and to remain connected with fans. In Korea, Instagram and Twitter seem to be popular as there are official Instagram accounts of celebrities and Kpop groups as well as Twitter profiles.
Korean entertainment companies also upload songs of Kpop idols, film their personal lives and showcase their choreography, etc. on their official Youtube channels, so it is a popular app as well.
There are also several Kpop apps that idols use to interact with fans despite them not technically being social media platforms.
So those were some of the most popular social media apps in Korea. The SNS landscape has dramatically changed over the last decade thanks to the introduction of 5g and high internet speeds.
In fact, South Korea is the country with the fastest internet connection. So it follows that mobile applications and websites will take advantage of this fact.
Also, the popularity of Kpop music and celebrity culture among South Korean citizens, especially the younger generation, drives them to get on social media to follow their favorite “idols” and connect with other fans.
While apps which are popular worldwide like Instagram or Snapchat are popular in Korea as well there are several local SNS apps like Naver, Daum, Somoim, etc. which have a large following.
So which is your favorite social media app? And who do you follow there?