Roundtable: The K-Social Network
Idoldom and SNS can sometimes be a bad mix, but that hasn’t stopped idols from getting more and more involved on various social media platforms, much to their fans’ delight. With Taeyeon‘s Instagram being the latest notable addition to the plethora of idol accounts out there for fans’ perusal, we asked our writers: what is your experience of Hallyu stars on SNS? Which platforms? How about translations? Who is(are) your favourite idol(s) to follow?
Gaya: I used to follow ALL the K-pop idols on Twitter, until I remembered that I don’t understand Korean. My feed would be a constant stream of Hangul I could string together but couldn’t even begin to comprehend — save for “ke,” of course. So I unfollowed the majority of the idols and replaced them with translation accounts, though I prefer reading translated tweets on tumblr; the layout is more user-friendly there.
Lindsay: That is one of the benefits of being a fan of U-KISS and BTOB, English tweeters! Eli, Kevin, and Peniel all tweet in English (as well as Korean) on a regular enough basis to make them worth following. Other than that? Sometimes I follow my biases and just pretend I understand them.
Honestly, any other media sharing venue is better than Twitter for following idols because the posts can be less text based. Bang Yong-guk‘s appearance on tumblr is a good example of this — exciting new music, not much Hangul.
Fannie: To be honest, I never really got into the whole idol-social-media thing. I tried it out early on and ran into the same issues as Gaya (walls of Hangul and ㅋㅋㅋ taking over my Twitter feed), now I just rely on others to reblog the more interesting updates on my tumblr dash.
Nicholas: Same with Fannie here. I like my twitter feed to be short and concise with information relevant to me, and idols taking photos of themselves doing random activities certainly does not exactly scream relevant. Any way if anything is important it would very quickly get picked up by the fancies.
Another issue with most celebrity social media accounts is how they all fall into the same patterns of looking narcissistic by non celebrity standards. I think I will only get into a celebrity account if the photos are either unobtainable elsewhere or if the celeb has a sense if humour about the lives they live.
I will just stick to tumblr for my dose of the pretty pictures and occasional fan art or fan-written insights for now.
Gaya: Nicholas, that just reminded me of Jonghyun‘s tumblr, with his pranks and photoshop competitions using pictures of Minho… and then Minho seeking revenge using SHINee‘s me2day! Does anyone here have a me2day, by the way? Or a Weibo or some non-Western social media account?
Seeing idols interact with each other is what I love most about idol social media, especially between groups. And especially when flirting is involved. It feels a bit stalkerish at times, but it’s interesting to see who’s following who and who… isn’t.
Nabeela: NO NOT JUNHARA WHY
Gaya: Sorry, Nabeela.
Lindsay: I’m with Gaya, I also love how awesome following idols on Twitter is for seeing the best scandals unfold. Idols are always making tweets (and posts on other sites too) that end up getting deleted right away due to their questionable nature. Or, as just happened with the JunHara situation, you get the first scoop into idols’ personal relationship life. Nobody would have had an inkling their relationship was on the rocks if it weren’t for them unfollowing each other.
Gaya: I love how Cube and DSP tried to deny it at first, even claiming that they were just having a lovers’ tiff or something.
Lindsay: Maybe they were still together when they made that stament? I think the companies have handled the news of the break-up in a similar fashion to how they announced their relationship, simply asking the two about their relationship status instead of guessing, and it couldn’t be more refreshing.
This couple never felt the need to hide their relationship — there was no drama and denial. Their entertainment companies were honest and simply stated that the two had a budding relationship and they hoped fans would watch over them. Sadly, with official news of the breakup, there is one less open K-pop idol couple to set a good example for others.
Ambika: No non-Western social media accounts here.
I’ve never gotten into Twitter. I see it, and it looks amusing, but just not my choice of social media. It probably has to do with how I got into tumblr before I realized idols tweeting was a thing people followed. Luckily, there are more than enough translators to reblog or like. I suppose the person whose activity on Twitter that I like to monitor most through tumblr is Bang Yong-guk’s. It’s interesting the types of things he links to and even more amusing to see someone name whatever artwork he posts and supply some extra information about it. And also Seungri. I think I’m still laughing over his entrance to Twitter, tweets in English, and overuse of exclamation points.
Cynthia: I have a Weibo that I never use. I made it to follow Han Geng after he made his account, but I’ve logged on like twice since then. And I think one was so that I could send messages to EXO-M during one of their interviews. Anyway, I now rely on fan blogs to keep me posted on any material from there.
I follow K-pop stars on Twitter for one of two reasons: either to keep up with their pictures/videos or to judge/laugh at their tweets. The first category consists of members of my favorite bands as well as most of the English-speaking idols. The second category consists of people like Jay Park, the members of Big Bang, and Jonghyun because his twitter is hilarious even if I don’t know what he’s saying half the time.
Other than that, I just rely on my friends’ blogs/twitter profiles to filter the relevant updates.