Digital Media and Hallyu

Curator's Note

The Korean Wave, or Hallyu, the name given to the content being produced out of South Korea by the Chinese media, is in many ways, a meeting of two worlds: the “grass-roots” culture of online fans who spend their time and energy sharing content online, and an entire nation - including the Korean government, along with Korea’s powerful business corporations (also known as Chaebol) - who saw the value of marketing Korea’s pop culture to the world. The avenue that allowed Korea to share its culture and “dream society” with the world was the internet, with the many platforms of digital media it provides. The internet is, in many ways, a jumping off or access point for a fan online to pick and choose what they want to engage with on a personal level; the same way a library houses the stories and information in a physical form. The difference the internet brought to the exchanging of culture was making the culture and content available not only in real time and in abundance, but in adding the extra layer where the reader or viewer can fully interact with the material, if they so choose. One major aspect of not only DramaFever (the largest piracy-free streaming site), but of digital media in general, is the fans’ ability to have access to content that might otherwise not have been available to them (with subs, at least), and also to be able interact with their fellow “netizens” (habitual internet users, or citizens of the internet). In the fan forums on Korean focused sites, netizens discuss, analyze and promote their favorite shows, actors, and artists with other fans from all over the world. Fans then connect with each other on other media platforms such as Tumblr, Twitter and Weibo (a popular Chinese microblog site, which is a hybrid between Twitter and Facebook), creating an interconnecting web of shared information. Most importantly, the information they are sharing is not just of a television show or a music group, but also of a nation and its culture.

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