I’ve been reading a lot of Korean blogs in the past couple of weeks to get to know what’s happening and read what other foreigners have to say about life in Korea. As you can imagine a large number of bloggers are English teachers (ESL English as Second Language) . From the 36 I have sampled so far the majority seem to be American or Canadian, with a few Australians and British. Those that are not teachers are either Army, (GI Korea) , Students , Accountants or Attorneys. The current ratio of male to female bloggers is 23 to 10.
Most bloggers post between two and three times a week on average, but the most prolific blogger must be RJ at The Marmots Hole. This blog, which is quoted in the Joog Ang daily newspaper, is probably the one blog most often linked to from other blogs. His regular daily postings cover aspects of the news in Korea often relating to foreigners and items of Korean culture that interest him and the large number of folk who comment. Thanks to his ability to read Korean he can gain a better understanding of current news than I ever will be able to. Today there are already eleven posts, including some from other contributers to the blog.
Other popular blogs that are also referenced a lot include The Lost Nomad, Big Hominid's Hairy Chasms and ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal. All three cover current news items, humour, the ups and downs of teaching, their travels and food and cooking in Korea. The authors have all been in Korea for several years and have built up an enthusiastic following with their wacky and interesting posts.
Some blogs have been around for several years, since May 2001 in the case of David at Staypuff , whilst others have only just started in March . Almost all the blogs include photos of their own and sometimes videos of their exploits or links to youtube with clips of interest. An example blog with no photos is Korean Liberator who focuses on the antics of North Korea and it’s leader. The blog keeps readers abreast of worldwide news coverage of the country. Some blogs are photos only for example Seoul Daily Photo where Kais posts interesting and unusual photos on a regular basis, she also has a blog in Korean on a separate page.
Big Hominid and Seoul Hero get the prize so far for the largest number of links to other sites, I estimated both have more than 200 links. Some sites have no links to any others at all, but the majority of blogs have between 10 to 30 links to other blogs and websites on their blogroll. (That's the list of other blogs the writer has put links to, usually down the side of their blog.)
A lot of blogs have setup RSS feeds which makes life easy for keeping track of new postings. For those not familiar with this, RSS provides a publishing mechanism so that you can use software either on your own computer or create an account at one of the many dedicated websites to enable you to monitor posts from the blogs you read in one place, without having to visit each individual blog website to see if they have posted or not. If you have a blog, it’s not too difficult to setup. I used a third party site feedburner to publish posts from this blog, it's that small orange symbol below the "Power Blogger" logo on the righthand side, and I have installed NewsNetWire to subscribe to the blogs and read them on my computer at home.
Most bloggers main topics are life in Korea, the food, their travels, their work and life , family and friends and items of interest to their readers. The one exception to this is Feetman Seoul who has just started and who has dedicated his blog to photographing and discussing the legs and feet of the ladies of Seoul. Don’t worry, it is work safe, as he focuses strictly below knee level.
Other attributes I’ve not been keeping track of are: Advertising: some do, some don’t. Comments: almost all the blogs allow you to comment on the posts. You have to have a login for some blogs, but quite a few allow anonymous postings. You have to type an antispam code for some, this is to prevent automated programs adding spam comments to the blog advertising other websites.
Surprisingly not everyone who is on the Korean Blog list has a link on their blog back to the site and there are several bloggers who’ve not added theirs to Alan Scully’s masterpiece of a list. I’ve so far only found one dead link and one blogger who has moved on from Korea, in his case to Syria. Almost all the blogs I’ve visited so far have posted at least once in August, so this list is most assuredly a valuable and up-to-date repository.
If you are interested in reading more Korean blogs, due to the sheer number of blogs on the list it is difficult to know where to start. Perhaps Alan would consider adding a few more fields to help make it easier to select based on the material? But, dear reader, I shall be doing my best over the coming months to visit them all. 36 down, 316 to go. (based on the current total of 352)