Dr. Lee Jee Young: Active Contribution of K-POP Fans in Social Media Activism

More than simply supporting their idol’s work, South Korean Music Industry (K-POP)’s fans today work hard to mobilize the community of fandom and contribute to several online (political and social issue) activism in social media.

This phenomenon encouraged Universitas Padjadjaran’s Faculty of Communication Sciences’ Public Relations Study Program (Prodi Humas Fikom Unpad) to collaborate with the University of Canberra, Australia in holding a public lecture regarding “K-Pop and Social Media”, Friday (03/09/2021).

The main speaker in the virtual lecture is Dr. Lee Jee Young, a lecturer of the Faculty of Arts and Design in the University of Canberra, whose main interest is in “Digital Media and Society”. Dr. Lee Jee Young found an interesting fact, that K-Pop fans are not only consumers, but also contribute to the society by framing the participative culture in the digital realm. 

In her lecture, Dr. Jee explained that K-Pop fans have progressive values and had succeeded in creating such an online activism. Under the name of their idols, they actively contribute to political and social digital activism, such as humanity, social and environmental campaigns, and up to education. Dr. Jee then exemplify the huge success of Army (BTS Fandom), who gathered $1 million fund in their #MatchAMillion campaign for the Black Lives Matter movement in only 25 hours. 

The popular culture wave from South Korea, especially K-Pop, began in the 1990s and spread wide to Indonesia. Based on data from Twitter (July 2020 – June 2021), Indonesia ranked first as a country who talked about K-Pop the most on Twitter. That achievement shows the strength of K-Pop industry fans in the digital realm. Data from Statista (2020) even stated Indonesia as the second highest country who watch K-Pop Video on YouTube. Furthermore, Dr. Jee said that BTS fans in Indonesia have made positive movements in social media, such as crowdfunding for victims of disasters. 

The Head of the Public Relation Study Program – Fikom Unpad, Centurion Chandratama Priyatna, PhD hope that the theme of this lecture could give the students and lecturers new insights regarding K-Pop Culture in public relation’s perspectives. “This public lecture about K-Pop and Social Media had brought to us fresh references, not only for the students but also for the lecturers over the importance of knowing K-Pop Culture in public relation’s perspectives. Dr Jee Lee has done a really good job in elaborating K-Pop not only as a phenomenon but also from the point of view of scholars.” 

“This public lecture is also the beginning of collaboration between the Public Relation Study Program Fikom Unpad and University of Canberra. Hopefully other collaborations like assessment of double degree or student exchange can be implemented in the future.”

Written by Eny Ratnasari
Translated by Dea Wulandari

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