In South Korea, Between has become the most popular social app in the country. It creates a tiny social network–made up two members of a couple and becomes a place for them to store love notes, photographs and other digital ephemera that only they can see.
In the Nov 25 issue of the New Yorker, Lauren Collins traveled to Seoul, the world’s most wired city, to meet two lovers and chronicle their love affair that happened mostly on their Samsung smartphone screens on Between.
The founders of the site call it “an online sanctuary, and a sacred space where love notes don’t mingle with tuition bills.” The highlight of Between is the memory box, which looks like a pine box someone would keep in their underwear drawer. Here is where intimate photos and love notes can be shared for two pairs of eyes only. “If Facebook is a high school reunion and Twitter is a cocktail party, Between is staying home with a boxed set and ordering pizza,” Collins wrote. In the story we follow the love affair between a young Seoul couple, Jimin and Yundi, as they follow each other when one is abroad and during their daily work lives.
South Korea offers some of the world’s fastest internet connections, over WiMax over 50 mps (compared to the average US speed of about 10 mps) and the plans call for nearly ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage throughout the sprawling capital city. More than 80 percent of citizens use smartphones there, versus about 50% in the US.
The intimacy of using text messages and online posts to keep close to a partner separated geographically has never been stronger, Collins quoted Sherry Turkle, of MIT. The couples Collins met who use Between call it a sort of personal trainer for their love lives, reminding them of their commitment and cheering them on when they had reached their goals. When they felt down or beginning to doubt their love, they would open up Between and immerse themselves, if only for a brief moment, in the details of daily lives that they only shared with eachother.