How I probably should be doing social media

Adding to yesterday's chemical-induced excitement was the fact that Zico of Block B released another single. (That you can't pay for. Because it's a remix of another song. That you can't pay for. Because while the label went to the trouble of making a music video, they never actually released that song to iTunes or anything. Did you know that the Korean music industry has a huge problem with people illegally downloading songs and not paying for them? I wonder why that is?)

I found out about the new song through the English translation of Block B's Twitter feed, which I check religiously at this point. (Another song came out today!) The group is currently on hiatus as they sue their label, but as Zico writes (translatedly), "Who said it's an absence period when things are coming out all the time [Korean character indicating laughter]."

Anyway, this got me thinking about the fact that, hey, I do check this random Korean hip-hop group's translated Twitter feed pretty much every damned day. And that's something, because 1. it's not like the translators update it every day, and 2. I'm incredibly lazy about Twitter and never follow anyone on it who I don't actually know--I've certainly never followed a music group before. (Yes, if you follow me, I will follow you back. And then I will totally ignore you. I am a Twitslut, sorry.) In addition, people keep remarking on how Block B has managed to maintain its fan base despite the fact that they're on hiatus and not doing standard promotions, and I think their use of social media has a lot to do with that.

So, I thought I'd take a crack at analyzing how Block B uses Twitter, with the vague, gauzy notion that, if I were a more-industrious sort of person, I'd actually apply these lessons to my own use of social media. Keep in mind, though, that what I see is the English-language feed, and that's both compiled and curated by these guys.

Here's what I notice:

1. They talk about something other than themselves. In their case, music. As a result, the feed never degenerates into boring pictures of what people ate today. They don't assume that you're there because you're an obsessed teenaged fan with no life--they're willing to assume that you and they share a common interest, which is not How Totally Awesome They Are, OMG, Squee!

2. They both fulfill and subvert expectations. The members of Block B still must cater to fans (and expectations in Korea are actually pretty rigid in this regard). So when fans send them presents, they Tweet pictures and thanks.

They also post "selcas," which is short for self camera--a phrase that is utterly meaningless in English, but has been adopted by Koreans to mean a picture you take of yourself. Teen idols post flattering selcas all the time.

So, when Block B's Jaeyho goes for a hike, he posts a flattering selca. And then, because he's with Block B, he posts an unflattering selca. He and the other members do that all the time--they call them anti-idol pictures. Taeil gets a bad haircut? Selca. Here's an anti-idol photo of the whole group.

3. The primary goal is entertainment. If it's funny, it goes public. Jaeyho's brother is pissed because Jaeyho won't answer the phone? It's a Tweet.

Because of that, the feed is like a little treasure hunt: You never know what you'll find, and it's sometimes really funny, cool, or otherwise rewarding. It's intermittent reinforcement, which psychologists will tell you is even more motivating for people than the predictable kind of reinforcement, and which emotionally-abusive douchebags will tell you is also way less demanding of your energy and time.