For many unwitting victims, it all starts with an innocent statement. “I just wanted to know their names!” are the last words you utter before falling down the rabbit hole that is K-Pop standom.
Once you decide to go deep, the sheer amount of content can be overwhelming. What’s a bias? Do I need to make a stan Twitter account? Where are all these YouTube compilation videos getting their content? I’ve been there and I empathize with that, so here are some basic tips to help you get started with your K-pop journey.
One of the first things that every new K-Pop stan learns are the words. Bias, used here as a noun, is the word you assign to your favorite member. You’ll also come across group positions, which are more or less self-explanatory. K-Pop groups are treated as ‘teams’ by their respective agencies, hence the assignment of positions. There are official titles, like the Leader (a.k.a. the one who leads the group and takes care of all the members), the Visual (a.k.a. the one deemed most conventionally attractive), the Maknae (a.k.a. the youngest; its literal Korean meaning), and the Center (a.k.a. the member who appeals the most to the Korean public and is then literally placed in the center during promotions, shoots, etc.).
K-Pop stans can sniff out new blood from miles away. Send out that tweet or post about it on your IG stories and let the algorithm do its work. They will find you and welcome you into their ranks.
Making a stan account (a.k.a. an account solely for your K-Pop group) on Twitter is the choice option if you really want to stay updated on the latest from your favorite K-Pop groups. K-Pop groups also have separate SNS apps where they converse with fans and post content that you can’t find on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.
VLive, or V-app, is definitely a must-download because it’s where all groups do their livestreams. Premium paid memberships, called ‘fanships’ also allow you to chat with certain groups and access bonus videos.
If you really wanna get into fanclub territory, check to see if the group is active on Daum Fancafe, which is where you can join in their official fanclub and access letters, message boards, and more.
Now that you’re signed on to the apps, you may be wondering: how will I understand everything if it’s in Korean? The easiest way is again, through a stan Twitter account. Stan Twitter is a whole other world to navigate through, with different kinds of accounts dedicated to idol updates, voting, and art.
For non-Korean speakers, the most useful out of all these are the translators. These are the real GOATs of K-pop Twitter, as they translate videos, articles, and anything else involving their favorite groups from Korean to English, usually in real time. While many media outlets and agencies are already making an effort to translate their own content, it’ll be useful to follow fan translators for updates during VLives and non-official schedules.
So you’re invested enough to spend actual money on your new faves? Here are some official merch items that you might want to buy:
K-pop albums aren’t the jewel case CDs you might be used to. Oftentimes, they don’t even come in the standard CD case anymore. K-Pop albums come in different shapes and sizes, complete with well-designed photo books reflecting the ‘concept’ of the album, as well as extras like stickers and photocards. The practice of getting a surprise photo card is standard in K-Pop standom — you never know which member you’re going to get. Groups also have their own unique lightsticks that you can bring to concerts and other activities.
Since official merch isn’t always available in stores here in the Philippines and shipping can be pricey, another K-Pop concept is the group order, or GO. These are bulk orders conducted by fellow stans, called GO managers, who offer merch at lower prices since they get them from Korean suppliers. Most of these shops operate on a pre-order basis, meaning that items arrive a month after you order, unless otherwise stated.
You can find GOs by searching on Twitter and Facebook. Fair warning though — always look at reviews and proof of authenticity before ordering from online shops! It would also help to find a shop you trust over time to avoid being scammed.
Watch the full starter pack in the video below!
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