Korean Netizen vs International Reactions to K-Pop News

Korean vs international Reactions

As a Soompi writer, I have the chance to read both comments on our news articles, which come from an international, English-speaking audience, and comments on articles aggregated in Korean search portals like Naver and Daum. Reading comments often befuddle me because international audience and Korean audience sometimes show different reactions to the same issue. Also, when Soompi published articles about Korean netizens’ take on certain issues, I found that many International netizens were critical of Korean netizens’s reactions to the news. So for Soompiers who are interested, I want to give you a way to see some controversial issues in the perspective of Korean netizens, and help you understand them, whether you agree with them or not.

Many factors can affect how a netizen reacts to an issue, such as gender, age, ethnicity, religion, and specifically for Korean entertainment news, whether you are a fan of the celebrity covered in the news or not. In order to see how Korean and international netizens’ opinions are different, I compiled popular comments on articles of controversial issues in 2014. The comments of international netizens were taken from Soompi while comments of Korean netizens from Naver, and they were carefully chosen based on number of likes they received and whether the comment reflected and summarized majority of comments in the article. Also, the selected articles of Soompi and Naver had the same, if not very similar, content.

By comparing comments on these articles, I found that the comments couldn’t help but be different for these two different communities. First, most Soompi readers tend to be young, female, K-pop fans, while commenters on Naver are from a broader demographic, since Naver is a search portal used by more than 25 million Koreans to get news on every subject.  Second, while Soompi’s audience is English-speaking readers from all over the world, Naver’s users are mostly limited to Koreans. This means that the comments on Naver will be from people with a country-specific background and education. What wouldn’t seem like a big deal to an international audience will be a sensitive issue to Korean netizens because of the country’s history.

So, what’s your own opinion on the following issues? Can you say who’s right or wrong?