Technology is evolving every day and so is the way people interact. Certain social media outlets have aided in the rise of popularity of certain K-pop artists, and with the activity on sites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram; Korean companies know how to advertise to those viewing as well as reach out to new people who may have never heard of subjects like K-pop or K-dramas. There are also many times that idols interact with their fans through social media. These interactions gain attention, which helps to expand the Korean Wave’s reach in foreign countries that would otherwise not hear about it.
At this point, it is well known that YouTube heavily involved in the reach of the Korean Wave. With every new song that comes out, millions of fans try to stream their favorite group's music videos as much as they can. There are also YouTubers, who film reaction videos, dance covers, Korean beauty, and other aspects of Korean culture. YouTube gives a look into the lives of other people living in South Korea, as well as informing them about topics ranging from social norms/rules or places to get the trendiest clothes in Korea. Most notably, YouTube brought K-pop to the worldwide stage with the hit song "Gangam Style" by PSY, which was the first video on YouTube to ever gain over one billion views.
Fans of all kinds take to Twitter daily, promoting their favorite groups. Every so often the “trending tags” have some kind of reference to various Korean topics. For example, Minseok’s recent enlistment into the military had his name as number six under Worldwide Trends. Another great example of fans spreading the word about the Korean Wave occurs when there are important award ceremonies. Fans posting constantly about their favorite artists at the events as well as foreigners who are also following the award show read through similar Twitter tags. Therefore, people who knew nothing about the K-pop singers in attendance, all of a sudden gain interest. In the case of idols attending American events, Twitter aids yet again in garnering attention for the groups. Some idols even have their own accounts and interact with fans, by liking or retweeting tweets.
Instagram is another great space in which fans have almost direct contact with their favorite idols and groups. Sometimes, artists will interact with their fans on posts just like on Twitter. What is great about Instagram is that it is a place where people can post their own pictorial content. Apart from that, K-pop artists attending award shows or event in America helps them to meet other artists and celebrities. These celebrities then post photos with these K-pop groups. Below is a picture of Lisa, Jennie, and Rosé of Blackpink with Ariana Grande at Coachella has over 6 million likes! If that doesn’t catch people's attention, I don’t know what will. In addition, Lisa has been named the most followed K-pop artist on Instagram with 18.3 million followers.
The social media mentioned and more bring in new fans and solidify current ones. These are only a few that play a large role within the globalization of the Korean Wave. Understanding the concept of globalization is easy, but seeing all the different ways in which it is affected by changing technology is the hard part. If you are not sure of what the term globalization is, or what the Korean Wave is, check out The Hallyu Wave: What Is It Exactly?
People have learned about the Korean Wave from a variety of sources. How did it reach you? How did you first hear about the Korean Wave or aspects of it, like K-pop? Was it from the internet, through a friend, or something else?
Cover Image: PSY (P Nation)
Written by Avery Souders