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Social networking helps 'Gangnam Style' achieve cultural soft power

(People's Daily Online)

08:36, October 30, 2012

(Shanghai Daily/Illustration by Zhou Tao)

A South Korean music video titled "Gangnam Style" unexpectedly attracted global attention in the past month. Since being uploaded to the video website YouTube on July 15, the MV has been played more than 500 million times, setting the Guinness World Records for receiving the most praises in the world and ranking the top of the iTunes singles chart of 35 countries such as Britain and the United States.

People around the world originally did not know South Korean singer PSY, the character in the MV, and they also did not understand that the words of the song with hip-pop style satirized the extravagant lifestyle of upper class in South Korea. However, they were involved in a carnival belonging to the age of the Internet by following the funny dance steps of imitating horse-riding actions.

It is not difficult to find from the popularity of "Gangnam Style" that social network plays a vital role. The click-through rate was not so high when the video was just released on the Internet. Until the end of July when pop star Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun and rap singer T-Pain commended it, people found the funny performance. Then, world cultural idols such as Britney Spears, Anne Jacqueline Hathaway, Katy Perry and Tom Cruise recommended it on Twitter, making "Gangnam Style" transmit like virus on the Internet. After that, the local versions of "Gangnam Style" launched by stars and netizens around the world became it a global cultural event from a pure cultural product.

Now, the "Gangnam Style" is not just a cultural product, but as the U.S. magazine "Foreign Policy" commented, it has become a cultural brand, helping South Korea to promote the sale of exported commodities including beverage, cosmetics and even electrical appliances.

To the South Korean government, the "Gangnam Style" reached a landmark achievement in construction of soft power and proved that the strategy of promoting the construction of soft power by output of cultural products is right.

South Korea has been exerting every effort to promote their TV shows, movies, music and other cultural products on overseas television since the 1990s and successful set off a "Korean wave" across Asia, which wave now surges to the west by virtue of the social network.

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Leave your comment1 comments

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PD User at 2012-10-30220.245.239.*
Yeah just we need. -A Never-ending Version! Yes, the tune is catchy and his crazed horse-riding dance is a show-stopper. I think this psychologist has it right: If you listen to Gangnam style too much, you risk brain damage

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