It is safe to say that the past decade saw a huge boom in the Youtube industry where it stopped being just a website for funny cat videos and instead became the platform for freedom of expression, art, cinema, music, and most of all, gave birth to vlogging in the mainstream sense of the word today. For some time, Youtube was not even considered a legitimate medium. Still, as the popularity of vlogs and skits and comedy channels took off, Youtube became just that much more alluring, especially for mainstream media. The invasion of television content on this internet platform was not taken very well by the Youtube community since it was only seen as extending PR to the internet. However, the scene today is quite different. Even though typically television content still occupies a large portion of Youtube, it has still retained the personal flavor. This is evident from the number of K-Pop idols that have found their place of comfort through Youtube.
In an episode of Eric Nam’s K-Pop! Daebak Show, his guest, ASTRO’s JinJin, elaborates on his desire to open a Youtube channel and also gives the reasoning behind it. He admits that it is a trendy platform and can be used as personal PR, but he personally wants to have a channel because he wants to use it as a personal storage of sorts. He said, “My Mom said this a while back 'When you were young, you were someone who smiled a lot,' I used to be a very happy kid that smiled a lot, but as I lived my life, I lost a lot of it and my mom said she found that regretful. I want to get back my smile and take videos of my life like vlogs. I want to do things that I like and find the smile that I lost and use it as a memory bank of sorts. But I also want people to know me. Rather than JinJin as a singer but for me, Jinwoo as a person. I think I would like that.”
This is a sentiment that a lot of K-Pop idols and Korean celebrities, in general, can resonate with. The Korean entertainment industry is understandably cutthroat, and celebrities, especially idols have schedules packed, sometimes for more than 20 hours straight. It is very easy to get into a slump while repeating the same schedule over and over again. As such, it is necessary, a prerequisite, even that they know where to find their small but certain happiness from. Youtube has served as this source for quite a few such hard-working individuals. The content that such idols put out is often personal and self-edited, which implies that it is not something they’re doing for commercial or professional gain, but instead, somewhere they go for a little bit of rest. It is also where fans can come face to face with the people, before the idols. They’re brought down from a pedestal onto an equal footing, and a lot of people can find solace in that level of intimacy where their own dreams don’t feel too farfetched and unattainable. With this delicate connection built between the idol and their fans, their music becomes even easier to connect with because the people behind the music are easy to connect with and understand. Glorification creates distance and distance disconnects, but Youtube is bridging that gap quite effectively while also being a haven for celebrities to share about themselves and their lives without feeling the constant burden of judgment. It is only a matter of time before more and more idols create their own Youtube channels. The more, the merrier!
Some Youtube channels run by K-Pop idols and Korean actors, as well as some of their most popular videos that you might want to check out have been listed below!
Amber Liu - 'Amber Liu'
IU - '이지금 [IU Official]'
Sandara Park - 'DARATV'
HyunA - 'HyunA'
Luna (Park Sun Young) - 'Luna's Alphabet루나의 알파벳'
APINK Eunji - '정은지 EUNJI'
Girls' Generation Sooyoung - 'the sootory 더수토리'
Girls' Generation Taeyeon - '탱구TV'
Han Ye Seul - '한예슬 is'
Park Seo Joon - 'Record PARK's'
Jung So Min - '정소민ssomday'
Park Min Young - '그냥, 박민영 Just Parkminyoung'
Ji Chang Wook - '지창욱.Jichangwook'