It is the beginning of a new school year. Students have started their return to Sookmyung Women’s University. New students will probably have thousands of questions just as upper year students once asked their upper year classmates the year before. Where is the MATE testing site? Is my timetable alright? Joining leadership groups or clubs that have associations with other Korean universities, and how to make good friends at university will also be on their mind. Those questions and more can be answered by visiting Sookmyung Women’s University’s online communities. SMT reporters have prepared a guide to Sookmyung’s online communities for first year students trying to traverse the vast ocean of information on the communities.
Welcome to the Sookmyung Community
An online community, also called a virtual community, is a place where people with the same interests, hobbies, or ideas gather online to gather and share information. Since most online communities are created by people who have similar or the same objectives, active communication and interaction is a major characteristic. The world’s first online community is “Well”, which was created in the U.S., and it was for people interested in advanced technology in 1985. Its membership numbers have continually increased and today the global world has hundreds of thousands of online communities for all kinds of purposes. Specifically, there are communities that are aimed at easing university life for students. One representative example is Everytime. Furthermore, a few communities have been established just for Sookmyungians, such as SnoRose, SnoWe, and a variety of official school websites.
Everytime is one of the most widely used online community by students of universities all over the nation. It exists in both a mobile application and website format. Each university has its own Everytime, and students are restricted to interactions only with students of the same school. One of its biggest characteristics of Everytime is that everyone communicated anonymously. Also, Everytime has very few restrictions because there is no administrator. It is therefore one of the truly authentic SNS-like community students can be a part of. SnoRose is another online community constructed by Sookmyungians. Bascially, it is a community of Sookmyungians, by Sookmyungians, and for Sookmyungians. The sign-up process is much more complicated compared to Everytime because students have to prove their identity through a series of multiple steps. A third online community at Sookmyung Women’s University is SnoWe and a number of other official school websites. SnoWe and other official websites are under the administration of Sookmyung Women’s University itself, so they are the most reliable sources of information among all communities. These are sites students visit when searching for official school information or on campus event promotions.
Your Best Guide to University Life
Although some students say SNS sites such as Facebook or Instagram are a waste of time and useless, the online communities introduced just before will change your mind. First of all, Everytime provides students easy access to information. Since Everytime is the most used online community and it has a mobile app version, in a generation where smartphone usage is the norm, it is the easiest and least time consuming way to get information. In addition to those benefits, it is also the most active community. Because of its accessibility, a lot of students use Everytime, so it’s a great place for many Sookmyungians to actively communicate. This SMT reporter has posted and replied to multiple questions on Everytime and for the most part, and was able to receive replies and comments in less than five minutes. Another reason Everytime can come in handy is the fact that all posts are open to all users. None of the posts or comments can be private, so everyone sees everything. This guarantees information is accessible to everyone. For Sookmyungians who share the same interests or hobbies, they can gather on different community boards that were created solely for a specific purpose. For example, community boards like ‘Employment and Career’, ‘Sookinee’—a SHINee fan board, and ‘Stationary Sook’—information on school stationary products, are easily accessible through Sookmyung Women’s University’s Everytime community.
Online communities unique to Sookmyung Women’s University are also useful, especially for Sookmyungians. SnoRose is a representative community composed only of Sookmyungians. The registration process is complicated and it is impossible for outsiders to join, so Sookmyungians do not have to fear information being leaked to people not connected to Sookmyung Women’s University. Sookmyungians use SnoRose as a platform for sharing information on midterms and finals, and it hosts a group that gathers students wishing to purchase Snowflake products. Compared to Everytime, SnoRose is stricter and more systematic, so its information is clearly categorized, making it more reliable and efficient. Official school websites including SnoWe, however, are 100% reliable, and that is their biggest advantage. SnoWe generally centres on providing with students information on school events. Other school websites such as Sookmyung Portal, Snoway, and departmental websites are not exactly communities, but places of information. For instance, Sookmyung Women’s University’s official website (www.sookmyung.ac.kr) contains information about scholarships, course registration, courses, professor contacts, and more. If you need basic information, these are the best places rather than asking a query on Everytime or SnoRose.
Everytime application is basically an anonymous community. For that reason, discussing controversial issues and expressing one’s opinion are easier than on other community. This advantage is also its weakness. There is often scale trading. While originally scale trading referred to the clouding of one’s the main point like the diluting of alcohol by adding water, today it means following the crowd like riding a tide. Kwak Geumju, professor of Psychology at Seoul National University said “with the increasing flood of information, making a judgment on what is wrong or right is being much harder. People are just absorbing information and agreeing with the statements and behaviour of others.”1) For example, when one clicks HOT bulletin board and traverses past comments, the person will find contradictory writings about the same person. That is, one moment there is a good review and the next there is much less favorable writings. Each member of a community can have different tendencies or thoughts, but the main is people excessively express it in sharp way when they are sure it is a major opinion. Sometimes this results in the reproach or cyberbullying of others.
SnoRose, is slightly better than Everytime in this regard with its use of nicknames. However, it does not prohibit unwelcomed guests for accessing the site. For instance, a simple SnoRose search on Korean Google will lead one to various private stories of users that were the topic of gossip on other communities in the past. Those incidents were not caused by users but by outsiders who hacked into the site or who somehow got through the registration system. SnoRose has its own rules and point system. While most communities have regulations, SnoRose is stricter and its point system is more complex. For instance, the site will confirm whether the applicant is a Sookmyungian. It is cumbersome but necessary. The registration method has been simplified a bit from 10 January of this year, but it is still a bit confusing. There is an offline registration session that is held each semester for those who need assistance. SnoWe is an official online community at Sookmyung Women’s University. Some categories like Sookmyung News and Sookmyung Plaza are often updated, but other categories are not. For example, on January 11, in a category called SnoWe CLUB, latest posts were made in November 17 in previous year. This is representative example, and other official homepages of each major are not so different.
Safety for Sookmyungians
Online community boards on SnoWe and official websites need better managing and promotion by the university. Administrators of Everytime and SnoRose should develop better way of prohibiting the registration of domestic exchange students from joining the sites. Renewal certification each semester is an idea consistently being suggested among users. While these two methods may not be perfect filters, they will better ensure the sites are only accessible by Sookmyungians. Also, there must be strict regulations against the leaking of content from the community. Otherwise, merely eliminating outsiders is useless. Strict adherence to rules and etiquette is essential. Remember the saying, ‘There is a person behind that monitor’.
1) Sim Hanui, “New Definition of ‘Scale Trading’ by Looking through Following First Comment Mentality”, Newspim, September 30, 2017