I’ve been wanting to make this post for a while now, but –yes– I didn’t have time til now~ ^^’ Let me tell you a bit of what I know about Cyworld, and how to sign up for the new service — Global Cyworld!
DISCLAIMER: This isn’t a ~comprehensive guide~ whatsoever, and is mostly based on my own experience as a Cyworld user. A bit of something for other fangirls out there who’d like to know more about the service~
What is Cyworld?
Cyworld is a social-networking website launched in South Korea back in 1999. Cyworld started their “Minihompy” service in 2001, and it was a huge hit, with majority of their users aging from middle school to university students. Using one’s Minihompy, users can add “ilchons” (friends), design their “minirooms”, post and edit photos and so much more. It was a fun way to update about one’s daily life.
The downside about their service during that time was that it was exclusive only to Korean netizens. They required a person’s Social Security Number for sign-ups, one that every Korean citizen has. Cyworld did accept foreign members, but the registration process was a bit complicated and arduous, especially for those who can’t read and understand Korean. You’re lucky if you have a friend who can help you in signing up, otherwise, it would be impossible to join.
Cyworld: Country-specific Services
In 2005, Cyworld launched their service in various countries — China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, US and many more. These catered to the citizens of the specific countries, offered the service in their native language and had different platforms. Signing up in Cyworld US meant that you can only add other ilchons who are in Cyworld US, but not users on Cyworld Korea, China or any of the other countries.
This produced varying results. While it was taken well in the Chinese market, the other branches slowly lost popularity due to new social-networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, and eventually had to be taken down.
Cyworld for the Fangirls (+ my experience^^’)
If you’ve been in the KPOP world for a while now, you must have heard a lot about Cyworld already. Even before Twitter / Facebook shot into popularity — there was CYWORLD. Most idols had a minihompy they often updated with photos and diary entries, and fans, may it be overseas or Korean, flock to their hompy’s to see these updates. In a sense, through these personal minihompy’s, the fans feel a lot closer to their favorite idols. Popular hompy’s back then (and well, up to now~) would be those of Super Junior’s HeeChul, LeeTeuk, HyukJae and other members.
When I got into the fandom back in 2004, it was all the rage. I myself wanted to sign up for my own account, but since I had no knowledge of Korean, and didn’t really know whom to ask help from, I was content with reading the translations shared by other fans in the forums I was a member of. In 2006 though, a dongsaeng helped me out with signing up, and also told me about the Cyworld Tutorials on Soompi : D
Signing up wasn’t easy, seriously — you had to input your mobile number, and Cyworld will call you and a voice operator will dictate a series of numbers IN KOREANNNN and you must be able to jot it down because they will ask for it when you sign up. I think I had to do that thrice, or four times because I couldn’t understand ;_; And then after signing up you have to send them a scanned ID / Passport. It also took days before the account was activated.
The thing is even after you’ve finally signed up for the account, you won’t really have it easy. Try navigating it when you can’t even read / understand Korean. It was seriously difficult at first. Everything was trial and error, and because of this it was hard to fully utilize the service. Anyway, it was still great though — I met new friends, I got to visit the minihompy’s I wanted to visit, leave comments on their photos, entries and guestbooks, send them messages. I enjoyed it even though I didn’t get to really customize my hompy at all.
(Also there was that sense of glee that heyyy I got Cyworld, I can comment on YooChun’s hompyyy! You know, simple things that makes fangirl squee. LOL)
Apart from Cyworld Korea, I also signed up for the China, Taiwan, US and Japan services when they had them. Each one had unique features, and Cyworld really tried their best to adjust to be able to cater to the interests of their users.
Cyworld China was most different out of all the services~ It was always, always bursting with features you can tinker with. Cyworld Taiwan was a bit more like Cyworld Korea, not that much fuss, but still has all the fun features. The Japanese version was more minimalistic, in a way it reminded me of Ameblo~ It definitely was one of my favorites! Cyworld US initially had the same format as the rest, which made it such a hit amongst mostly KPOP fans, but once they changed and adapted an interface similar to Facebook, it lost its fun — seriously.
As of now, only Cyworld China remains, and is also hosted by Ifensi. ^^
Okay let me explain why KJJ is down there — one of the best features Cyworld has is their PHOTO EDITOR. ~hands down~ It was what all the services had in common, with a little variation per country. ^^ With it you can customize the photos you upload, doodle on it, write messages, decorate with stickers and edit with coloring effects. It was my personal favorite. Also partly because of this boy:
2011: Global Cyworld
Despite the failure of their initial attempt to get into the overseas market, Cyworld is back, and is now offering a new service — GLOBAL CYWORLD. This time around, it’s a universal platform they’re using. Which means it’s hosted on the same platform used for Cyworld Korea, and is now available in other languages — English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Dutch. Global Cyworld is open to everyone, no need for SSNs or Passport IDs! This also means everyone can sign up, and yes, you can finally comment on YooChun’s newly posted photo, or Heechul’s diary entry!
How to Sign Up for Global Cyworld
01 Head over to http://global.cyworld.com. The site language will be in English, if you prefer to use it in another language, make sure to click on your desired language located on the site’s footer.
02 Fill out the form with the required details. They will ask you to check if your email is okay for use, hit okay, and make sure to complete the form. Click on the sign-up button and wait for the confirmation email : D
03 Upon receiving the email, click on the link provided. They will ask you to key in a verification code / CAPTCHA and then you’re done! ^^
04 Login! Upon logging in, you will be taken to your account homepage. Click on the orange button that says “Go to My miniHome” (make sure that pop-ups are enabled)!
05 Once you click that, your minihompy window will pop-up and you can start customizing it : D This is how your hompy will look like at first ^^~
Here’s a list of some of the things you can do over at the new Global Cyworld: (It’s still on Beta, so the features are limited as of now, but enough for every fangirl to enjoy the service!)
- Minihome (Minihompy) – Customize your minihompy with skins and menu effects!
- MiniMe – Create your own minime~
- Miniroom – Design your miniroom with backgrounds, settings, and furnitures!
- Music – Create a playlist that will serve as your hompy’s background music~
- Photos – Create albums and edit your photos with Cyworld’s photo editor — this is probably my favorite feature out of everything! You will definitely enjoy this one 😀
- CyStar – Cyworld’s made a section wherein all the hompy’s of celebrities can be found. Be a fan of your favorite idols and celebrities who are on Cyworld. ^^ You’ll be able to track their updates, and leave comments on their minihompys ~
- Add Ilchons – Meet and connect with friends by adding them up as your ilchon~ If you’re lucky, maybe one of your idols will also add you back *cough* Block B boys *cough*
- Join Clubs – Cyworld has clubs for everything, so you’ll be sure one that would suit your interests~ It’s a good way to get to know other users ^-^
See you there!