As one of the most wired countries in the world, it is hard for anyone here to stay offline for long, and now even the busiest singers and actors manage to squeeze their time to communicate with fans and express themselves through the Web.
Many celebrities each have their personal blogs, mostly on the famous networking Web site Cyworld. More than 20 million Internet users have joined the site, and thanks to its easy-to-use features and popularity, it has become one of the easiest and effective ways for celebrities to openly express their thoughts.
It started with actors who wanted to show more of themselves as ordinary people, not as the fashionable stars they were presented as through the media.
Actors Lee Hye-young, Hwang Ci-ne and singers Park Jun-hee and Ock Joo-hyun’s blogs were some of the most popular, with photos of their personal life, friends and even pets helping them to get closer to the public.
Now, stars and fans alike are using the simple medium to communicate, support and sometimes even criticize a range of topics.
Communication-wise, many stars have eagerly answered questions posted by their fans, from the places they stayed during trips to the brands of their clothes and cosmetics shown in the photos posted on their blogs.
Support, on the other hand, took an interesting turn when they were going through difficult times, both as an ordinary person and as a famous celebrity.
The sudden deaths Jeong Da-bin, Yuni, Choi Jin-sil and Jang Ja-yeon shook the nation, and fans found a way to express their sorrow in a more personal way ― leaving a comment on blogs.
Many paid a visit to those that lost their owners, showing that the online world can work as a great place to express gratitude and pay respect to loved ones.
“We don’t know her personally, so it’s a great way to show our respect. I have been visiting her blog ever since she started it, and to stop just because she passed away seems too sad and cruel. I visit her blog once a week, and sometimes leave a message or send a note. I don’t know if anyone reads it, but some fans consider it a way of affection,” Kim Ha-neul, a fan of Choi, told The Korea Times.
A total of 10 million have visited Choi’s blog (http://www.cyworld.com/choijinsil) since she first joined, while more than 1,000 fans still visit every day.
Meanwhile, the online world has also become a popular space for stars who have something to say about issues other than fashion and trips, social issues and self-defense. Barely having enough free time to express themselves, blogs have apparently become handy when they need to get away from the glamour and trappings of the entertainment industry.
Shin Hae-chul has been known as a singer who openly and sarcastically criticizes government policies, and he made headlines once again by praising North Korea’s April 5 rocket launch last month on his official Web site.
When fans talked about the Wonder Girls’ Yu-bin’s weight offline and online, the 20-year-old singer wrote that she “loved the way I am and I am proud of myself whatever people say” on her Cyworld blog.
For Nam Gyu-ri, a former member of girl group See-ya, her blog was the last place she could turn to when her former agency and members accused her of walking away from her contract without notice.
“I didn’t want to get into the complicated life that depended on money. I just wanted to sing and act. The contract was officially complete and I felt free to do whatever I liked,” she wrote.
“It’s the way they connect with the real world. As they grow older, they realize that they need a tool to communicate with the world. Young singers are used to using the Internet ― it’s fast, private and accessible in Korea, so it is natural for them to use their own blogs as tools of communication,” an official at an entertainment agency said. (Korea Times)