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Is K-Pop Fan Twitter Dying Now It’s X?

Is K-Pop Fan Twitter Dying Now It’s X?
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The app formerly known as Twitter is becoming harder to use by the day — but what becomes of K-Pop fandom without it? Let’s Talk K-Pop‘s Jenna Guillaume ponders where to from here. 

There are many losses that have come with the slow, painful death of Twitter (or, as it’s now known, X — a name which I stubbornly refuse to use. Indulge me). It’s harder for journalists to do their jobs, it’s harder to stay updated on news, it’s harder to be safe on the platform, it’s harder to limit the spread of misinformation, it’s harder for creatives to get work, it’s harder for social movements to organise. And it’s much, much harder to be a K-Pop fan.

For many people, the loss of Twitter’s central function in K-Pop fandom might not be up there with the worst of these consequences, but for anyone within that fandom (hi, it’s me), it’s a real and upsetting thing. There are a lot of reasons why I mourn Twitter, but the main reason I still cling to its increasingly hollow carcass is because, despite everything, it’s still important to my fandom life, even as it becomes less and less functional.

Of course, K-Pop fandom is spread all over the internet, on every social media platform, but there’s nothing quite like Twitter and the function it serves. There are many reasons why it, alone, is the best platform to keep up with K-Pop:

While most social media is dominated by non-chronological algorithms, Twitter has remained one of the few places you can control what you see, how you see it, and when you see it. Most notably, you can still view Tweets in real, chronological time, meaning there’s no better place for the latest news. Great for actual news that’s happening, of course, but also for finding out instantaneously what your bias is wearing to the airport or who has had a haircut — very important aspects of fandom, obviously.

Live translation

Even more crucial than general news updates, and perhaps quite specific to K-Pop fandom, are the fan translation accounts. Official subtitles and translations aren’t always available on content — including lyrics and social media posts — and multilingual fans frequently step in to fill the void. It’s safe to say that without these fan translators, many K-Pop groups would not have anywhere near the global following they now have. Twitter is especially useful when it comes to livestreams — a popular way for idols to communicate with fans — as you can watch the live while simultaneously scrolling accounts providing up-to-the-minute translations, allowing international fans to experience the intimacy and immediacy of livestreams that they’d never have access to otherwise.

As I already mentioned, Twitter allows you to control what you see like no other platform — even now, as basic functionality erodes away. This is especially useful for stan twt, where you can follow other stan accounts and exist in a bubble of your faves without ever having to think about the outside world. Yes, this is a positive — it’s part of the escapism of fandom, and also important for building community and making very real friendships.

Twitter is first and foremost a text-based platform, but has incorporated video and images so effectively that you kind of get the best of all worlds on there. Whether it’s fan-art, thirst edits, funny clips, or just the latest idol selfie, it’s all there, mixed in with the latest news and opinions you can’t get anywhere else.

It’s no secret that the funniest people on the internet can generally be found on Twitter. It’s where all the nerds who haven’t been able to skate by on their looks hangout. The general humour of Twitter extends into fandom too, and it’s frequently where the best (and least cringe) memes and inside jokes can be found.

Other platforms may offer some of these tools, but no other — including the many Twitter knock-offs that have sprung up in recent months — offers all of them, or, crucially, the real-time function of the former bird app. There’s a reason the K-Pop community has been flourishing on there for years.

That doesn’t mean it’s all been great, of course — the toxicity that has thrived across Twitter is also very much present in K-Pop fandoms, and few other platforms enable the same scale of horrific pile-ons and instant mass harassment. I’ve been subject to a few of these in my time, and it’s always a scary experience — yet the benefits have consistently outweighed the (very real, and sucky) risks for me.

Now, fandoms are floundering as they try to figure out where to move next. People are scattering across different platforms, translators are closing up shop, fan artists are losing their audiences. There’s no obvious replacement for the community to be found on K-Pop twt. And while you can certainly be a fan without it, the experience is much less rich, much less informative, and much less fun. It’s just much less, generally.

I really don’t know where we go from here, and it makes me sad. But one thing’s for sure — you’ll find me white-knuckling my Twitter app until its actual dying breath, desperately tweeting JIMIN JIMIN one last time before the lights go out for good.


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Image Credit: aespa, BLACKPINK and BTS





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