Hallyu 2.0 refers to the increased popularity of South Korean popular cultural products like dramas, music, food, fashion, language, reality shows, etc post the 2010’s. It is different from the earlier rise of the late 1990s as it offers more pop cultural content backed with extensive distribution (Jin and Yoon, 2014). Hallyu 2.0 has been successful in not only extending greater global appeal (by attracting audiencs outside Asia) through the instrumental use of social media (like Youtube, twitter, Facebook and Instagram) but have also explored the diversification of their cultural products. It therefore can be seen as an interesting example for understanding transnational cultural flows.
In this blog I will be talking about how Hallyu 2.0 have integrated cultural dissemination with social media thereby giving rise to new and interactive social mediascapes. The interaction can be broadly divided into two types, (1) interaction during content dissemination by distributors which is top-down approach and (2) how the consumers/ audiences disseminate the content, with or without changes in order to popularise which is bottom-top/horizontal dispersion. Lets look at few examples for each of them.
It is a very popular concept for South Korean idols/artists to have their own shows which captures their day-to-day activities over a period of time. BangtanTV (for hip-hop boy group Bangtan Boys), the Ranting Monkey (for Amber of girl group F(x)), BlackpinkTV etc that share the concept of giving fans a sneak peek into the artist’s life, behind-the-scenes conversations, dancing to songs by other artists etc. Other modes of creating awareness and promoting artists include appearing on popular variety shows like Running Man, Weekly Idol, 2 days 1 night, we got married and Roommate. After School Club (ASC) is a similar program but in english broadcasted for international fans. It is generally hosted by Koreans good in English and Korean. Big distributor companies like CJ& EM have also started to provide language translations for their viewers across the world.
For bottom-up or horizontal dissemination usually involves fans that make cover dance or music videos, engage in Youtube-based platform by doing reaction videos or sharing analysis of new developments in K- pop. There are fans that also actively participate in creating unofficial fandom sites and pages. Some also buy licenses for distribution of merchandise. Some fans also form groups/fandoms that help in translating the Korean into English, Russian, French and so on.
While both approaches existed for the first Hallyu wave however Hallyu 2.0 has been taken a jump forward by being able to adopt both- economies of scale and scope. With increasing pervasiveness of the internet, accessibility to new content has become easier than ever before. With high-tech algorithms that adapt to every single digital print- one cannot escape the convenience of a user-friendly and user- customised social mediascape (Yes, I am talking about how ‘Youtube suggests lists…’ actually capture your tastes and style truly to some extent!).
Hallyu 2.0 has been able to involve the producers (to make the product), consumers (individuals) and consumers’ friends (sharing of the product to spread more happiness). It’s no wonder that once you enter the hallyu world, there is not going back.
- Jin, D.Y. and Yoon, K. (2014) ‘The social mediascape of transnational Korean pop culture: Hallyu 2.0 as spreadable media practice’, New Media & Society, 18(7), pp. 1277–1292. doi: 10.1177/1461444814554895.
- Jung, S. and Shim, D. (2013) ‘Social distribution: K-pop fan practices in Indonesia and the “Gangnam style” phenomenon’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 17(5), pp. 485–501. doi: 10.1177/1367877913505173.
- Kwon, S.. and Kim, J. (2013) ‘From censorship to active support: The Korean state and Korea’s cultural industries’, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 24(4), pp. 517–532. doi: 10.1177/1035304613508873.