The September issue of The Blue & White is on-campus now, and Bwog will keep on posting the highlights for your reading pleasure. Below, Culture Editor Conor Skelding explains how Bwog accidentally gained a global presence in the Twittersphere.
On August 14th, Bwog published an ostensibly unprovocative post divulging that Jaeseop “AJ” Kim, 21, member of the South Korean boy band U-KISS, and K-pop idol, will spend this fall at Columbia’s School of General Studies (which is known for annually attracting a handful of minor royalty and supermodels). But this somewhat routine excerpt soon spiraled into an unexpected episode of opportunism and heartbreak.
Although K-pop acts are not unlike the N’Sync and Spice Girls of our own bygone tween dreams, fans of the genre are characterized by an entirely foreign ferocity. So our blogging brethren discovered. “@bwog will you please keep update about AJ @ Columbia? we’ll be so much thanksfull with that.. : ) and please take care of him,” requested @vina91KISSme the following day. The Blue & White’s Culture Editor, ever the keen observer of aesthetic trends, saw an opportunity for cultural immersion, and a chance at an international following. He rolled up his sleeves and addressed the KISSmes, as the band’s followers are known.
“Good afternoon @ukisskorea fans tweeting at us from Asia! We will keep you updated on @JaeseopKim91AJ’s time here at Columbia,” he typed, reflecting upon what might be an iron law of Twitter: as followers accrue, the pandering increases. The tween Twittersphere of Southeastern Asia jumped aboard.
“KISSme(s): we contacted @JaeseopKim91AJ for an interview yesterday. We hope he’ll agree! In meantime, what questions should we ask?” The tweets streamed in hot and heavy: Does he miss his fellow performers? If his boy band were all girls, who would he marry, and why? This was Bwog’s bestseller since Operation Ivy League!
Between August 15th and 17th, Bwog received 210 mentions on Twitter from U-KISS fans, and gained more than 300 followers (for more KISSme tweets, turn to this issue’s Bluebook on page 4). At one point 20 per cent of Bwog’s real-time readers were from Southeast Asia—usually, that demographic is less than one quarter of a per cent.
After AJ’s managers at NH Media forbade him an interview, the editor felt sharp guilt for raising the earnest hopes of hundreds of KISSmes. So he hasn’t tweeted anything more at all about it, despite @Valencia0409 plaintively crying, “where is AJ news?? ;A; @bwog.”
He doesn’t want to lose the followers.