V LIVE: Contextual Essay (Final)

This is the final segment of my auto-ethnographic study of V LIVE. You can access the first two parts of this study here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Digital Artefact 

For this project I created a Digital Artefact (DA) in the form of a Google Slides presentation which you can access here.

When I was presented with the opportunity to create a digital artefact for the final assessment of #BCM320 Digital Asia, I knew I wanted to do something which would fulfil me with a greater understanding about the Korean entertainment industry. I have always been invested in celebrity culture and the media in the United States, but it was not until recently that popular culture and entertainment industries in Asia began to intrigue me. Over the last 12 months I have become increasingly more exposed to K-Pop (Korean Pop Music) which has led me to an awareness about elements of K-Pop fandom and more particularly the online community of international fans on social media. In turn, this has exposed me to a variety of South Korean platforms, one of which being V LIVE which I chose to be the focus of this auto-ethnographic study.

The Process

Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 8.53.56 pm.png

In order to conduct an autoethnographic study it is important to understand that autoethnography is a mix of process and product. (Ellis, 2011) I began this project by deciding on the key factors (displayed above),  and ultimately deciding on what area of Asian media I want to immerse myself in. Ellis (2011) says, “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand culture experience.” (Ellis, 2004 & Holman Jones, 2005) To understand and learn about the South Korean entertainment industry and idol culture, I began using V LIVE. I recorded my initial experience with the platform in Part 1, where I discovered what the platform is and how it works, and in Part 2, I learnt that the essence and uniqueness of V LIVE lies within the fact that anybody, from anywhere in the world can access and find enjoyment in the platform because of V Fansubs. Over the past month, I have frequented V LIVE, exploring the platform to its full extent, resulting the digital artefact I have created.


Autoethnography draws on a person’s own cultural narrative, through reflection and interpretation of their individual culture. (Chang, 2008) Ellis (2011) indicates an integral part of Autoethnography and self reflection is Epiphanies, known as the “remembered moments” that impact an individual’s journey. When thinking about my experience exploring V LIVE, I had many epiphanies and realisations about both my own experience and the entertainment industry and celebrity culture in Korea. 

Fan Culture 
Growing up, I was actively engaged in fan culture, which meant going to concerts, and being a part of online communities on Twitter and Instagram. This has meant that whilst using V LIVE I have been reminded of the fandoms and communities that I once was a part of. Massimo (2018) explains, online ethnography on social media platforms are largely about observing the relations between strangers in a mediated environment who have a shared interest. In a way, V LIVE is a new form of online community, but it is much more interactive, and technologically advanced; something that I was intrigued to be a part of. (Shaw, 2019) 

Idol Culture
Through using V LIVE I have also come to understand that being an idol (Korean singer) is much more than just singing and performing. To be successful, they need to connect with their fans and a wider media audience. As K-Pop is growing increasingly more popular in the west, this is especially true. Entertainment companies strategically organise live broadcasting events before a big album release or a hiatus. Interaction with online communities, both local and international plays a large part in idol culture and ultimately their success as celebrity figures. 

Finally, a large aspect of fandoms for Korean artists is being reliant on subtitles and translators. Without the fansubs I do not think I would have been able to immerse myself so thoroughly in idol culture and V LIVE as a whole. (Shaw, 2019) Aisyah and Nam Yun said, “Fans’ anticipation of translated versions of K-Pop videos has led to active subbing activities.” (Aisyah and Nam, 2017) Before actively following Korean artists, I was not aware of the phenomenon of fansubbing. After using V LIVE, I realise that without fan translators, it would make connecting with Korean idols difficult and it would alter the entire experience that I had using the platform, and for that I am thankful. 

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, I have really enjoyed exploring V LIVE. I feel as though it has opened my eyes about the entertainment industry in Korea, and I have learnt a lot about idol culture and what it means to be a celebrity in South Korea in 2019. V LIVE is both valuable and important to fans of Korean celebrities all over the world, as the essence of the platform is to connect in real time, ensuring that fans will get to know the idols better. (V LIVE, About) As the popularity of K-Pop continues to spread around the globe, I do believe that platforms like V LIVE will be what largely aids international fans to connect with South Korean media and popular culture.


Aisyah, A & Nam, YJ 2017, ‘K-Pop V Fansubs, V LIVE and NAVER Dictionary: Fansubbers’ Synergy in Minimising Language Barriers,’ 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 112-127, viewed 12 September 2019,<https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0197/9ededda89552182b7dbc016459eddff25a89.pd&gt>

Chang, H 2008, Autoethnography as Method, Routledge, New York.

Ellis, C, & Adams, T & Bochner, A 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview,’ Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, viewed 12 September 2019, <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095&gt  >

Massimo Airoldi (2018) Ethnography and the digital fields of social media, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 21:6, pp. 661-673,

Shaw, L 2019, Autoethnographic Experience: South Korean Live Streaming Service ‘V Live’ (Part 1) , Lydia’s Lens, WordPress, accessed 27 September 2019, <https://thrulydiaslens.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/autoethnographic-experience-south-korean-live-streaming-service-v-live/&gt;

 Shaw, L 2019, Autoethnographic Experience: South Korean Live Streaming Service ‘V Live’ (Part 2), Lydia’s Lens, WordPress, accessed 31 October 2019, https://thrulydiaslens.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/autoethnographic-experience-south-korean-live-streaming-service-v-live-part-2/

V LIVE 2019, About, V LIVE, viewed 1 November 2019,





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