You Have A Blog in South Korea – No One Cares
English bloggers in Korea can be special creatures. Let me rephrase, English bloggers who take themselves too seriously about blogging in Korea are ****. Now, before we all jump to conclusions, let me preface this by pointing out that I’m obviously not talking about all bloggers in Korea – only a select few. However, as I delve deeper into this mystical black hole of self-depravity and crushed dreams, I’ve encountered those who fight voraciously for their small piece of cyber space as they vastly over emphasize their importance to Korea, the world, and the day-to-day lives of normal people who might actually follow their blogs.
As a blogger, there is nothing wrong with blogging and writing about topics that matter to the author. For me, Kimchibytes has always been a healthy form of self-expression. Yet recently, I’ve encountered bloggers who take this too far. They say things like, “honesty is the currency of blogging,” “I can’t mislead my readers,”or “I look down upon blogs where people do silly things like write about events or their personal lives.” They get upset because more people look at posts about a fire in Itaewon ( an event of actual substance that impacts a lot of people) as opposed to their efforts on some journalistic endeavor that they think should matter. They tear down events they have never attended and often try to stab the hand of Korea that is reaching out to build bridges with its foreign community. Worst yet, they police other blogs and accuse bloggers of being immoral according to their own self-righteous standards of . . . blogging – are we being serious?
If we were competing newspapers, maybe I’d get this. But hold on, we’re merely English bloggers in Korea. The world doesn’t care about our opinions – especially Koreans.
Most of the old school English bloggers in Korea are pretty awesome people. For the most part, this older school of bloggers really enjoy writing expositions on their personal thoughts, topics they deem newsworthy, cultural milieu, etc. Some great examples include The Grand Narrative and The Marmot’s Hole. Many older blogs in Korea have an editorial/news approach.
When I met Simon and Martina from arguably the most successful English blogging site in Korea, Eat Your Kimchi, they attributed their success to the fact that they did not focus on news and social commentary. Simon and Martina claimed they were successful because they did something different from other bloggers when they began. I agree. Not only do I agree, but I believe numbers don’t lie. They make a living off of blogging because people truly value what they say whether some of us find their videos annoying or not.
However, there are those bloggers who have been in Korea for a while and haven’t been as successful. Yet, they feel like they are the master’s of their universe with keen insight into the Korean and expat world. When they discuss their blogs, they talk about loyal followers and how they are good shepherds. They proclaim that they are moderators or administrators of Facebook groups and believe that power really means something or grants them some type of relevant authority. They only value serious writing, reject anything of conservative nature, and are quick to pass judgement to those who fall below their blogging standards of excellence. They think that any blogger who receives payment for going to an event or is paid to write an article is forsaking his integrity and risks betraying his faithful followers. They think when a blogger gets paid, this blogger must inform everyone if he was payed. If not, the blogger will have to answer to the English blogging gods who communicate with a few musok-ins on Inwang-san. These vain bloggers honestly think they possess some sort of intellectual, moral, or popular authority and that people should value their opinion because they… have a blog. As their minds and thoughts focus on the center of their blogging universe, real people in real life are simply passing by unaffected by their fictitious gravitational pull.
On Kimchibytes, I don’t post hard news. I rarely write serious articles. I am no where close to mastering the Korean language or understanding the culture. I don’t exclude myself from writing about Korea, but I tend to avoid the topic because my point of view is very limited. This is why I cover events, talk about my personal life, and create fun posts like this one about UFO’s. I’m qualified to do these things; I’m unqualified to write about much else. If I do write something serious, dissecting my articles is a complete and utter waste of time. I don’t take myself that seriously and neither should you.
I solely write for my own enjoyment and that’s the bottom line. I don’t have time to monitor what other people are doing. This business of looking down upon other bloggers because their topics of interest are more personal or because they haven’t been here in Korea as long should stop. Also, if you blog in Korea and take it too seriously, chances are you’ve suffered massive failures in other parts of your life. Let me humbly state this does not include everyone, but it certainly includes myself.
There are more important things in life to worry about – finding love, continuing education, improving job prospects, and even having a good time. I hereby state that reading English blogs by people who live in Korea will not contribute to self-actualization. If it does, we have a major problem.