Why does Korea interpret netizen comments as public sentiment?

This is a really powerful editorial released by OSEN that's well worth the read. The article is long so I'm skipping irrelevant parts.


The picture above is of an 'enter key gun' and was drawn by Solbi to be released at her latest art exhibition.

It leaves a lasting impression in that the enter key is represented as a gun, and the resulting bullet is just moments away from hitting a falling woman. Solbi explained that it was an artistic expression of how every action and word of a celebrity is constantly placed on the chopping board for scrutiny and hate.

Others might think that for someone in a career that earns easy money for being loved by the public, that it's being weak to pay any mind to the hateful replies they sometimes receive. To the people that are on the receiving end, however, the replies crush their hearts harder than ever.

One idol star who's performed on stages all across the world once approached me with a netizen's ID and asked if I knew who that was. Of course, I had no idea. I nagged him for being so caught up in one hateful reply when he was receiving the love of so many, but he was serious.

"This netizen leaves a comment on every article related to me saying that he hates me. What about me does he hate? I really want to just spend 10 minutes and talk with him and see if he still hates me then. I want to know what he wants me to do for him to not hate me. There probably is no other option than to disappear from his eyes, right?"

On the internet, issues like plastic surgery and past photos for females and army enlistments for males are the most scandalous topics. The endless string of hateful replies can instantly crush the feelings of an exciting stage filled with cheers from their fans. It gets worse when the issue stretches to include their friends and family.

One anti has enough power to crush the heart of a star that took 100 fans to make. Although many promise themselves not to read the replies, they can't help but to since their careers are so sensitive to public sentiment. One top star who's earned numerous CF deals for being a 'likable star' with the public is unable to put down his smartphone at any time because he's so afraid of one hateful reply turning into hundreds.

With the development of social networking services, the situation has only gotten more severe. The hate hits faster and deeper into their hearts. Stars open their mentions to find lists upon lists of informal language and criticisms that even the strongest of hearts can't take. Although they know logically that they still have loving fans, that the public still thinks well of them... the damage has already been done.

This, on top of media outlets that abuse them for clicks on their site, can completely turn around a star's career in a night.

What about overseas? Why are there more celebrities in Korea suffering from depression due to hateful replies than in any other country?

One industry insider said this: "The hateful replies are probably worse overseas, but the stars just dismiss them as nothing more than just that: hate. Unfortunately for our country, hateful replies start to get interpreted as public sentiment. Someone with a few hateful replies can be branded as 'unliked by the public' and articles will soon come out about them being on the chopping block. That influences their careers greatly since show producers will be less likely to cast them on their shows. Even producers are scared of netizen comments on their message boards so it's impossible not to pay any mind to them. It's funny because in reality, if you took any of these netizens leaving hateful replies and brought them right in front of you, they'd be on their knees saying sorry."


1. [+280, -43] I really like the last line.

2. [+254, -31] The majority of people are too lazy to leave a comment. It's just the minority leaving comments that people interpret as public opinion.

3. [+221, -40] I want to go and smack the heads of everyone taking a sh*t through their keyboards... Everyone, watch out for your heads.


Source: OSEN via Nate