Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kakao Talk Disaster Strikes South Korea

Kakao Talk, the South Korean messenger app with over 20 million users, was unexpectedly down for maintenance yesterday morning between 5 and 9, causing a cascade effect which overloaded traditional voice call networks, leaving Seoul residents in panic as they sought alternate ways of discovering whether friends and family had survived the morning commute.

The Kakao Talk application, following on from now largely defunct technologies such as voice calls, text messaging, mobile TV, and social networking services such as Twitter, is the latest in a series of ways Koreans have found of using their phones to avoid real life, which has been found to be a major cause suicide within the country.

But the failure was a revelation for some Seoulites. 24 year-old Kim, an office worker in Gangnam said "I've been telling everyone I was living out in the boondocks for years, but when I looked away from my phone this morning I saw a dense network of apartment blocks had been built around my house," adding "I thought it hadn't been sunny recently."

Another office worker admitted that he hadn't realized his company had moved several years ago, and that he had been chatting from another company's desk since at least 2007, although nobody at either company had noticed since both sets of employees had also been too busy chatting to their friends using Kakao Talk. It is not likely to be an isolated case - according to a study conducted by Seoul International University recently, as many as 22% of Korean office workers may no longer be spending each day in the right offices.

But in further proof that the '11-10-7-KaTalk Disaster' - as it has been dubbed on Kakao Talk and old fashioned Internet forums - has not been all bad news. Korea's state energy monopoly KEPCO - which has been suffering from power struggles recently, reported lower electricity usage later in the day as Korea's 2 million Galaxy S2 users didn't need to recharge their phones when they reached their offices.

Related Links
Most Office Workers Do Something Else at Work
Korea’s productivity lags behind OECD
Before long, even texts may be ‘so yesterday’
Voice calls disappearing
Today's Blackouts Caused by Incompetence, Not NK Attack

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