MINA2016 and smart ajumma

I just came back home. MINA (Mobile Innovation Network Australasia) 2016  was an amazing experience to meet other researchers and their fabulous works. I also presented my PhD project in MINA 2016 and I feel glad people who were there know who ajummas are and why ajummas need to be considered as smart ajummas today. 15 mins weren’t enough to talk everythinf about my project in detail, but thank  MINA, I could’ve shared my beloved research project with other researchers.


New blog entries about ajummas will be coming soon.





Any apps especially for ajummas?

Ajummas are now smart ajummas. They do mobile communication through using their smartphones in their daily lives. It is not a special thing to meet ajummas use their smartphones to take photos on the street or playing games in the bus while they’re travelling, etc. They are not outsiders of new technology any more. Who knows? They will be techno-savvy someday soon in the future, I sure. But I think there’s not enough apps for ajummas now! In my mother’s case, she loves playing Anipang and her friends send ‘hearts (lives to play Anipang)’ with each other almost every hour or more than three times per day. (my mum loves Anipang)

Anipang was very popular about 5 years ago and people rarely play that game any more, but my mum and her friends do! My mum said that Anipang is a simple to play but still very exciting. And I just ask her trying other games as well but she said other games are too complicated to play. And she and her friends use almost same apps everyday. I know and you know there are plenty of apps are inventing and developing every seconds and overtime it is so hard to choose one app among thousands of apps. But this story is only for us, not my mother and her friends at all.

Of course, she uses various apps such as public transport tips, schedule, radio, etc. But I think there’s not enough apps were developed that targets for only ajummas, middle-aged women in Korea. The biggest problem (I think) is there’s not enough research about ‘needs for ajummas’ has done yet. Ajummas and Ajeossi (middle-aged married men) are just use apps that were developed for younger people the most, I can say.

If I have any chance, I really want to research and develop the apps, especially for ajummas and ajeossis. I really hope. Then my mother, her friends and ajummas in Korea will enjoy and enrich their mobile communication through using smartphones.

Inspiration for Digital Ppal-let-ter Project

Digital Ppal-let-ter is a new digital space which illustrates the interactively remediated space and time of both the wash place before the 1960s and Kakao Talk’s group chat room in the 21st century. Digital Ppal-let-ter will encourage audiences to consider the existence of  middle-aged and married women’s communal space that has formed and has been developed by those women from the non-digital (pre-smartphone) era before the 1960s to the digital (smartphone) era in 2015.

Digital Ppal-let-ter will take both analogue and digital technology to present a new digital space where ajummas communicate with each other. It is an imaginary space located in a time of coexistence between the face-to-face communication era and the mobile digital communication era. In other words, Digital Ppal-let-ter is located in an in-between space and time of actuality and digitality. For this reason, the creative project of Digital Ppal-let-ter is a converged metaphorical space of communication that transcends time and space among middle-aged and married women in Korea.


I tried to do an installation art but I’ve changed to produce a video instead.


Digital Ppal-let-ter is an imaginary space that does not exist in the real world. However, it asks audiences to think about how communication amongst middle-aged and married women in Korea has always existed even though various communication tools and the locations of communal spaces have changed over time. Digital Ppal-let-ter aims to emphasise that specific features of communication have developed subliminally through continuous interactive communicating among middle-aged and married women in Korea.

Middle-aged and married women used to be considered a peripheral group by the digital technology industry in Korea whereas younger female groups were given attention. However, it is time to look intensively at how these middle-aged and married women, ajummas, communicate with each other in the pre-digital communication era before the 1960s to the digital communication era of today. In general, ajummas used to be considered a group of ordinary middle-aged and married women but they are not ordinary when people look at them with affection. The group ajummas now attract respectful attention from the digital technology industry and Korean society. The creative project Digital Ppal-let-ter presents how the ordinary but not ordinary ajummas build their own communal spaces and have their own ways of communicating which have developed in line with technological developments in communication

Digital Ppal-let-ter is based on Korean sentiment but the convergence of digital and analogue technology in the project is universally relatable. To create this complicated but poetic and new experimental media art project that includes interdisciplinary academic research and mixed media art forms.

Digital Ppal-let-ter (VIDEO)

Digital Ppal-let-ter is a new digital space where the wash place before the 1960s and a Kakao Talk group chat room in 2015 coexist together. As an imaginary space that has been planned and created based on interdisciplinary research and creative concept of thinking, I have carefully considered how to present the concept of Digital Ppal-let-ter to audiences. Initially I planned for Digital Ppal-let-ter to be exhibited in a gallery or other space in the form of an installation. However, the plan changed to using video due to the difficulty of installing a reproduction of a wash place and the Kakao Talk group chat room. Through the video, the audience can experience the wash place prior to the 1960s with village women and a Kakao Talk group chat room in 2015 with Smart Ajummas at the same time.

The project will also encourage audiences to reconsider the communal spaces, the ways of communication and the communities of middle-aged married women, ajummas, in Korea from the past to the present. Furthermore, it can be expected that this opportunity will increase interest in ajummas and their ways of communication among audiences and the general public. Hence, both the creative project, Digital Ppal-let-ter, and the research project, Smart Ajumma, will awaken thoughts and value about the existence of ajummas and their unique way of communicating that has gone unnoticed.

Digital Ppal-let-ter (Wash place) from Jung Moon on Vimeo.

Kakao Talk and Ajumma (1)

Have you heard about Kakao Talk? For me and Koreans Kakao Talk is an inextricable mobile communication app today. Kakao Talk is an application for smartphones which allow people to have instant mobile chatting without having barriers of time and space. If there is wifi connection with your smartphones, you can have message chatting, voice chatting, video chatting and sending various types of files (e.g. photos) in your chatting rooms. Kakao Talk is similar to WhatsApp , but Kakao Talk has more functions than WhatsApp. For example, Kakao Talk has Kakao Shop (buy gifticon), Kakao Pay, Kakao Style, Kakao TV, Kakao Taxi (you can call taxi through your Kakao Talk app whenever you need to take a taxi) and etc.

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File 11-02-2016, 1 06 56 PMVarious brands of ice cream shops you can choose and send gifticon through using Kakao Talk to your friends or family.

Gifticon has a diverse selection to choose from such as a range of clothes, accessories, foods, e-coupons for cafes or restaurants etc. People who receive gifticon from their friends through Kakao Talk, can simply show the e-code of those gifticon to the counter of the shops when they want to use them.

Kakao Talk is a one of apps for mobile communication on smartphones.  Kakao talk allows people to have constant mobile communication whenever they need and wherever they want to communicate with their contacts. It becomes a huge mobile communicative tool for Koreans. Group chat rooms are good example to explain how Kakao talk became a major mobile communicative application for Koreans. For example, companies have mobile meetings on their group chat rooms, family discusses their next meeting on their group chat rooms and especially ajummas love group chat rooms! Through using group chat rooms in Kakao Talk, people can do ‘group chatting’ with their friends or colleagues easily. They don’t have to send the same messages to each person one by one.

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Y Kim: 

Yes, Kakao Talk’s group chat room is so convenient to organise meetings with friends.

J Han:

All I need to do is just create a group chat room. And then it is very easy to send a message to everyone at once! It’s so easy!

Interviewees responses of a question about using group chat room of Kakao Talk

According to the interview above, the main reason to use group chat room of Kakao Talk was for sending messages to several friends at once and organising meetings as well. As it is easier to send the messages to everyone who are in the same group chat room, it is convenient to organise meetings without hassle rather than send the same messages to each person separately. Besides, people in the group chat room can discuss or manage together to set a place and time for a meeting with ease. This means that, everyone can see the content of conversation at one view and even though they might miss the conversation, people can come back to read those conversations at any time with their smartphones. The advantages of using Kakao Talk’s group chat room attracts ajummas who used to call to each friend to organise the regular meetings.

The beginning of every month, my mom’s smartphone gets busy because of Kakao Talk’s alarming sound. Her friends send Kakao Talk messages endlessly to organise their regular meeting. My mom wasn’t familiar with using her smartphone and Kakao Talk before. But now she is an expert of Kakao Talk! She purchased another cute emoticon for Kakao Talk few days ago. She told me that her friends got so many emoticons so my mom also want to buy another new released emoticon to send her friends in the group chat room. How cute she is! And how cute our ajummas are!


Smartphones for Smart Ajummas

I did focus group interview with 10 ajummas from 2014 to 2015. I asked them ‘How has your life been changed after using smartphones?’ And here are answers of ajummas (aged mid-50 to mid-60). The photos are not related to the interviewees at all. I took photos of ajummas on the street randomly.

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The findings from focus group interview with smart ajummas will be continued via this blog. Thank you.