Date of Completion
College of Arts and Science Honors
social media, twitter, transnational activism, k-pop, network analysis, transcultural communication
This project aims to examine social media as a platform for political organization and social change beyond geographical boundaries in the context of K-pop fans and their transnational online communities. Social media, and twitter specifically, have long been a site of activism and popular music has always had a place in social commentary. In this paper, I seek to understand this phenomenon in the context of the large and ever-growing global community of Korean pop fans. In 2020, largely through the Black Lives Matter movement, we have seen, to the shock of many, a rise in political engagement from the K-pop fan community in a number of highly sensationalized events. Using data collected from twitter I will study the expressive sentiments and strategic organization of this population as well as how said action is perceived and engaged with by the media and general public. Additionally, I will study the transnational networks that facilitate this communal activism and the cross-cultural communication required for this level of organizational success and notoriety. My findings expose how, similar to other twitter-based New Social Movements, K-pop community action consists largely of expressive content with consistent efforts by ingroup members to define and monitor the scope of the movement and the rules of engagement. I note the importance of individual accounts with large spheres of influence in creating important community structures for content dissemination. I observe that, in these fan communities, actual transnational mobilization requires very little explicit instruction as these networks were built on shared affinity and thus have built in expectations of mutual aid. In the context of all of my findings, I reaffirm the importance of studying critically social media based community action and the positive as well as negative processes it can represent.
Galantowicz, Sorrel M., "Understanding K-Pop Twitter as a site of Transnational Social Media Activism" (2021). UVM College of Arts and Sciences College Honors Theses. 104.