Social Media Barrage

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Friday, Al Jazeera posted a video newsclip about “South Korea’s Pop Wave.” I saw it tweeted from their Twitter account, which I follow, and clicked because it piqued my interest. Hmm, I thought. K-pop is ostensibly gaining exposure in America, and now Al Jazeera is reporting on it? Interesting. I got distracted by other things on Twitter before having a chance to get back to the video, but when I did, I realized that I didn’t feel like watching it anymore. As a [waning] K-pop fan, I don’t need some out-of-touch reporter telling me what to think of the industry. [Apparently I’m still afflicted with sentiments of a teenager at times.]

However, good old AJ just wouldn’t let it rest. Over the past few days, I have seen this story tweeted countless times from the one account — I’ve been following them for some time now, and I guess it just dawned on me that their approach to social media is to highlight stories over and over again like a desperate child with Tourette syndrome trying to be noticed, though it’s especially bad with this story. I mean, sometimes they even tweet the same story twice in a row for no apparent reason. What’s the point? What’s the strategy here? Who manages this account, a horde of robot monkeys?

Was it because the death count rose to more than “dozens”?

Al Jazeera tweets a lot, which not only oversaturates followers’ feeds but also trains followers to ignore the majority of them. I had never paid that much attention before because none of their articles quite caught my eye like the unexpected phrase “K-pop.” And you know what, maybe they’re onto something, for the more controversial of their K-pop tweets [AKA the ones that mention corruption or a “dark side”] get plenty of retweets. In any case, I decided to document Al Jazeera’s gauche behavior as a cautionary tale. I even replied to one of their tweets with a hesitant cease-and-desist, which did absolutely nothing. [Their account never replies to followers anyway.] If you would like to argue in their favor, I’d like to hear it!

These are in chronological order, from the first innocuous tweet to the most recent one, which I believe isn’t the last of them…

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The First Step Is Admitting…

October 29, 2009 § 13 Comments

I have an addiction.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but there have been hints of it here and there.

“Why do you like listening to music you can’t understand?” people have asked.
Well, there are many reasons for that, but my question for them is, why would that inhibit me? Music is aural pleasure; comprehension is not completely necessary.

When I listen to music in English, I listen very intently to the lyrics — as a vocalist, I enjoy being able to sing along. If I listen to a song too many times, however, the lyrics start to get old, and then I can’t stand listening to that song anymore. Foreign songs, though, present a distinct challenge to learn [if I bother trying], and usually take much longer before fatigue settles in. For example, I’ve listened to the same Lee Jung Hyun songs since middle school and still have yet to evict them from my iPod.

If I like a song enough, though, I’ll look up the lyrics to find out whether my impression of the song rings true. Even if the lyrics turn out to be tasteless and puerile, at least it won’t greatly impact my experience — although I feel like America has the most issue with retarded lyrics.

As much as I love French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese music, my addiction is specific to Korean pop.

Why Kpop?
I’ve written before that I’ve always had an appreciation for Korean music, limited though my knowledge of the industry was. I don’t like using the term “fangirl” because of the squealing teenage image it evokes, and I’m not nearly as hardcore as some can be.
I attribute LC as my biggest influence in this area; over the summer and even a bit last semester, she fed me with Kpop photos and videos and the like, fanning what had been steady embers into a full-fledged forest fire. I take ownership of my addiction now, but I couldn’t have made it without her.

Key Kim Kibum

Key from SHINee: love at first sight

Anyone who assumes that all Asian music sounds the same is stupid. The majority of mainstream Chinese music is wimpy. Some of it is lovely, but I have a very low tolerance for weak vocals and pining lyrics. Japanese music is great too but can get comparatively weird [it’s Japan after all]. Although Korea has been infiltrated by our hated enemy, autotune, they don’t overuse it to the point of giving singing careers to people who clearly can’t sing, and Kpop always has a kick to it — I love music I can dance to.

America churns out lively pop music too, you could argue. Of course: Lady Gaga will always be my hero. But the American music industry as a whole is in a disappointing state right now, with very little originality flowing through. Having watched innumerable music videos, I feel justified in saying that Kpop feels like it’s of a higher quality than its American equivalent. What I hear on the radio sounds like people have simply stopped trying, and I refuse to support their half-assed efforts. I can’t fully describe how refreshing it is to go from the countless U.S. music videos of the singer(s) swaying lamely in a club to actually choreographed, visually stimulating music videos from Korea. Even their phone commercials have ridiculous full-length songs with corresponding choreography!

Kpop stars also seem more charming than the drunken deadbeats we have in the States. The Korean music industry is much more controlling of the lives of their stars [living together in dorms and prohibiting dating is unheard for people of such celebrity], which surprisingly doesn’t make them turn out emotionally unstable even if they start their training young. This also means that they do a lot of fun collaborations, makeovers, and variety & reality shows.

More importantly, it means that these stars actually have talent. Kpop stars can sing and dance, AND they’re attractive! These kinds of celebrities are difficult to find in China, which I am very sad to admit. Knowing all this, though, Kpop can seem very contrived, but for those who really care, there are groups that play their own instruments and many who write their own songs.

When I think about the situation, it’s about quality of product [apart from the obvious aural appeal]. And I have found that the most consistent success in caliber lies within Kpop, so I shall unabashedly air my preference. I qualify that statement by noting that I have not completely given in to Korean culture — I refuse to watch dramas or learn the language. Music is all I want.

To conclude, I leave you with a screenshot of me watching a DBSK mv against my DBSK wallpaper [:D ILU JaeJoong!].


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