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Master’s Thesis

Vlogging South Korea:

An Analysis on the Emergence of Citizen Diplomacy in

Social Media


동영상 블로깅


소셜미디어를 통한 시민외교에 대한 분석

August 2014

Seoul National University

Graduate School of International Studies

Muhammad David

Vlogging South Korea:

An Analysis on the Emergence of Citizen Diplomacy in

Social Media

Professor Geun Lee

Submitting a master's thesis of International Cooperation

August 2014

Seoul National University

Graduate School of International Studies

Muhammad David

Confirming the master’s thesis written by Muhammad David

August 2014


Prof. Seong-Ho Sheen


Vice Chair Prof. Taekyoon Kim


Examiner Prof. Geun Lee



동영상 블로깅


소셜미디어를 통한 시민외교에 대한 분석



이 논문을 국제학석사 학위논문으로 제출함

2014년 8월

서울대학교 국제대학원

국제학과 국제협력전공

Muhammad David

Muhammad David 의 석사학위 논문을 인준함




부위원장 김태균




( 인)


© Copyright by Muhammad David 2014

All Rights Reserved


Vlogging South Korea:

An Analysis on the Emergence of Citizen Diplomacy in

Social Media

Muhammad David

International Cooperation

Graduate School of International Studies

Seoul National University

This thesis analyzes the emergence of citizen diplomacy in social media by looking on selected video blogging activities of several YouTube personalities with specific contents on South Korea. By adapting citizen diplomacy as one of diplomatic practices, this study presents the evolution of vlogging that has been happened by incorporating the condition of social media and South Korea’s cultural resources. For doing so, this study will use grounded theory as methodology and will use in-depth interviews, articles in media, as well as publications that are relevant as the sources of the study.

Based on data that has been acquired, this thesis found that there are three major evolution on vlogging South Korea. On explaining the three categorization, one particular time in the history of YouTube and South Korea’s culture serves as the defining time.

The three categorizations are: the nature of YouTube Partner Program and how the program has been changed throughout the years, the attractiveness for vloggers to start their activities, and the type of user-generated content that vloggers produce. By seeing the evolution and reffering to the definition of citizen diplomacy, vlogging fit the characteristics of citizen diplomacy.The finding of this thesis, which is to give meaning and understanding on citizen diplomacy, will be useful both for academia and practitioners of diplomacy, as well as general public.

Keywords: citizen diplomacy; social media; South Korea; vlog; YouTube

Student ID.: 2012-24098



Table of Contents

Abstract ............................................................................................................................. i

Table of Contents ........................................................................................................... iii

List of Tables ................................................................................................................... v

List of Figures ................................................................................................................vii

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations .............................................................................. ix

Chapter I: INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................... 1

1.1. Background ................................................................................................................ 1

1.2. Problems and Research Questions ............................................................................. 4

1.3. Structure of the Study ................................................................................................ 4

Chapter II: THE THEORY OF CITIZEN DIPLOMACY ............................................... 7

2.1. Public Diplomacy as Starting Point .......................................................................... 7

2.2. Development of Public Diplomacy ........................................................................... 9

2.3. New Actor on Diplomacy ....................................................................................... 12

2.4. Citizen Diplomacy .................................................................................................. 15

2.5. Vlogging as Citizen Diplomacy .............................................................................. 18

Chapter III: SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY ........................................................................ 23

3.1. Social Media ........................................................................................................... 23

3.2. YouTube as Video Sharing Platform ...................................................................... 26

3.3. Social Media and Diplomacy .................................................................................. 32

Chapter IV: ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK ............................................................... 35

4.1. Components on the Analysis ................................................................................... 35

4.1.1. Actors ........................................................................................................... 35

4.1.2. Environments ................................................................................................ 36

4.1.3. Timeframes ................................................................................................... 37

4.2. Analytical Model ..................................................................................................... 37 iii

4.3. Analytical Process ................................................................................................... 38

4.4. Selection of Case Studies ........................................................................................ 40

Chapter V: VLOGGING SOUTH KOREA ................................................................... 43

5.1. Eat Your Kimchi ..................................................................................................... 43

5.2. Talk to Me in Korean .............................................................................................. 48

5.3. Hallyu Back ............................................................................................................. 52

5.4. Seoulistic ................................................................................................................. 55

5.5. QiRanger ................................................................................................................. 59

Chapter VI: EVOLUTION OF VLOGGING SOUTH KOREA ................................... 63

6.1. YouTube Partner Program: Invitational versus Open for Public ............................ 63

6.2. Attractiveness: Platform versus Source of Content ................................................. 68

6.3. User Generated Content: Wide Variation versus Specific Theme .......................... 75

Chapter VII: CONCLUSION ......................................................................................... 77

References ...................................................................................................................... 79

국문초록 ..................................................................................................... 87

Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................ 89

Appendix: Interviews Result ......................................................................................... 91 iv

List of Tables

Table 1. Comparison of Diplomacy or Public Diplomacy with Citizen Diplomacy ... 21

Table 2. Selected Case Studies .................................................................................... 41

Table 3. Current and Former Series of Eat Your Kimchi’s Vlogs .............................. 45

Table 4. Cultural Resources for Vlogs ........................................................................ 74 v


List of Figures

Figure 1. Analytical Model ............................................................................................ 38

Figure 2. YouTube’s In-Display Pre-Roll Advertisement ............................................. 67

Figure 3. YouTube’s Overlay In-Video and Display Advertisement ............................ 67

Figure 4. YouTube’s Section with Other Website Links ............................................... 70

Figure 5. YouTube’s Viral Statistics .............................................................................. 70

Figure 6. YouTube’s Comment Section ......................................................................... 71 vii














List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Eat Your Kimchi

Food Adventure Program for Awesome People

Hallyu Back

K-Pop Music Monday

Korean Tourism Organization

Search Engine Optimization

Too Long; Don’t Read

Talk to Me in Korean

User Generated Contents

Video Blog

Video Blogger

Wonderful Adventure Now Korea ix



1.1. Background

“No one is doing Gangnam Style anymore.”, claimed Monocle Magazine 1

on why South Korea ranked 14 at the latest Annual Soft Power survey


. Monocle reported that South Korea was at the top 10 a year before and dropped to its pre-Gangnam Style position within a year. One possible explanation is that the effect that Gangnam Style gave towards South Korea’s image to the world was declined by the time and in a possible future Gangnam Style will not be a relevant cultural object in South Korea’s soft power resources.

Gangnam Style was a big hit in 2012. A music video by a veteran in Korean pop music industry became a global phenomenon; beat all of the younger musicians with glossier music video. Until today, the video was viewed more than a billion times.


It was one of the biggest South Korea’s cultural export and the main reason behind the rise of

South Korea’s brand in the world. But how long can it sustain the effect? Monocle’s survey answered the question and suggested if South Korea wants to sustain it position, or be in a better position, innovation is the answer.


Monocle Magazine is a London based publication on international affairs, business, culture, and design, first published in 2007. More about Monocle on http://monocle.com/magazine/


On the December 2013/January 2014 edition, Monocle published their Annual Soft Power Survey for

2013/2014. The survey was conducted with the Institute for Government, London.


The number is based on the statistic on YouTube’s video link. The video can be viewed on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

Aside from the fact that it became viral and the effect that Gangnam Style gave to

South Korea, one particular lesson can be taken from the phenomenon. Gangnam Style was distributed not in a traditional media channel. Sure that the video was played in television, the song was played in radio, and Psy made appearances in major world events, but it was the internet that became the main channel for the popularity that it has achieved.

YouTube has became the main platform for musician like Psy to spread music and music video. Beside musicians and music labels, YouTube also hosts several South Korea’s television channels, like KBS and Arirang, which have uploaded their contents, mostly with English subtitles, for their viewers abroad. On that note, YouTube has been the place of information for anything about South Korea.

YouTube is a social media that opens for everybody and every purposes. The way corporations and traditional media use YouTube is only the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface, there are millions of individual users that actively engage on YouTube.

Beyond music videos of Korean musicians and contents from traditional media, there is another type of content that being created by the users called video blog (vlog). For those individual users that act as content creators, vlog is one of the most popular forms of contents that they produce and publish. Video blog is the new form of blog post. It combines the usual contents that audiences get by reading blog post in audio and visual form. Thus, vlogs about South Korea might have the same capability to promote Korea as what Psy’s video has.

Because content creation in YouTube is not limited to certain creator groups and the recent phenomenon that YouTube video can affect perception, position, and

attractiveness of a country, an initial thought can be drawn that vlogs, as individual users’ creation, that have been uploaded in YouTube can affect the information that audiences have on a certain nation-state, and in long term effect can change perception, attitude, attractiveness, and image of that particular nation-state to the audiences. Based on this argument, vlogging can be described as citizen diplomacy action. With globalization and the new invention of information and communication technology, to put limitation on public diplomacy as government’s action towards private citizen means neglecting the emergence of private citizens as actor in diplomacy. Such attitude can put diplomacy far from its reality and can be problematic in the effort to broaden up the theory of diplomacy.

Because of that, the emergence of individuals as one of actor of diplomacy in social media is an important and much needed topic to be discussed in order to explain the reallife practice of diplomacy today.

Reflecting back on the argument that Monocle had about South Korea’s soft power, it is reasonable to assume that something was happened before and after Gangnam

Style became the phenomenon that it is. Gangnam Style is only a video in the sea of videos that are related to South Korea on YouTube. Those videos, including video blogs, have been available way before Psy’s viral video. If Psy’s Gangnam Style has been dubbed as the video that change the whole game, how about the other videos? How is the condition before and after Gangnam Style? Does vlogging as a citizen diplomacy action in social media change overtime? These points are the basic curiosity that need to be explore more, including in academic discussion.

1.2. Problems and Research Questions

The problem with the effort to provide the new understanding of diplomacy, by acknowledging new actors and new means of diplomacy, is the lack of the research that has been done to explore the existing actions and give meaning into those actions in the context that is given. Exploration on citizen diplomacy can be presented with explanation on how citizen diplomacy in social media evolve from time to time. By providing a timeline that include crucial momentums of citizen diplomacy in social media, another important factor of the phenomenon can be found and can support the existing discussion on the topic.

To pursue the goals that this study has been drawn, which is to extend the understanding of citizen diplomacy in social media, this study will explain the change that vlogging as a citizen diplomacy tool in South Korea’s case has been through in past couple years until today. In doing so, the main research question on this research is how does vlogging as citizen diplomacy evolve, especially in the context of South Korea? By answering the question, this research is also aim to explain things that are important on shaping the evolution of vlogging as one of the tool of citizen diplomacy.

1.3. Structure of the Study

Based on the background and question that has been raised in Chapter I, Chapter

II, and III will serve as theoretical framework as well as review of previous studies on the subject. Chapter IV will draw the analytical framework for this study as well as

explaining the methodology. Chapter V will present several examples of vloggers as the case study. Chapter VI will analyze the evolution and the reason of the involvement of individuals in citizen diplomacy action in social media based on the case study that has been presented in Chapter V. Finally, conclusion will be drawn in Chapter VII.


2.1. Public Diplomacy as Starting Point

Diplomacy is one of the oldest practices in international relations. Diplomacy is the way political entity communicates with other political entities, be the political entities are ancient city-states in the time of Greece Empire or in the modern nation-states post

Treaty of Westphalia. Diplomacy also can be understood as the tool for political actors to achieve their political interests in a peaceful way, to the contrary with war as being the other tool to achieve political goals. Diplomacy today is also being seen as ceremonials for dignitaries, from king to presidents and all sorts of leader of the world, and series of conferences, from the United Nations to regional and bilateral cooperation conferences.

Quoting Oxford English Dictionary, Harold Nicolson believed that diplomacy is

‘the management of international relations by negotiations; the method by which these relations are adjusted and managed by ambassadors and envoys; the business or art of the diplomatist.”


Meanwhile, G. R. Berridge and Alan James defined diplomacy as,

“(1) The conduct of relations between sovereign states through the medium of officials based at home or abroad, the latter being either members of their state’s service or temporary diplomats. .. (2) The use of tact in dealing with people. .. (3) Any attempt to promote international negotiations


Harold Nicolson, Diplomacy, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1950), pp. 15

(particularly in circumstances of acute crisis), whether concerning inter- or intra-state conflicts; hence track two diplomacy. .. (4) Foreign policy.”


One common feature that always appears from various understanding of diplomacy is that diplomacy is a tool that being used by political institutions. There is no sign of the involvement of individuals as part of diplomacy, both as the actor or the target of it, and there is no discussion on individuals’ interests in diplomacy.

As the time goes by, there is a new approach on diplomacy which is public diplomacy. Paul Sharp gave one of the most eloquent definitions of public diplomacy which is ‘the process by which direct relations with people in a country are pursued to advance the interest and extend the values of those being represented.’


This definition is a softer way to define public diplomacy because public diplomacy can also be defined as

“propaganda conducted by diplomats.” 8

Such definition reflected the action on the earliest stage of public diplomacy, when public diplomacy was a foreign policy tool of the United States during the Cold War era towards the public, especially in Eastern

European countries, as one tools to fight against communism. The United States’ public diplomacy efforts during those days were introduction to American music and cinema, broadcast of American television and radio programs, and cultural exchanges among other programs. Moving on from the Cold War era, public diplomacy today is not only being used by the United States, but also by other countries, and being dominated by


G.R. Berridge and Alan James, A Dictionary of Diplomacy, (New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 69-



Paul Sharp, Revolutionary States, Outlaw Regimes and the Techniques of Public Diplomacy, in Jan

Melissen (ed), The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations, (New York, Palgrave

Macmillan, 2005), pp. 106


G. R. Berridge and Alan James, Op. Cit, pp. 218

exchange programs with the emphasize to connect people from overseas with people at home.

One feature that differentiates public diplomacy from traditional diplomacy practice is the actor that involve in the diplomatic practices. Traditional diplomacy is states-only activities. Although in recent years, we can see involvement of non-states actors, such as non-governmental organizations, in traditional diplomatic circuit, the involvement still in an inferior level compare to states diplomatic actions, because diplomacy in its traditional understanding is a tool to achieve national interests. In public diplomacy, non-state actors, especially private citizens are being recognized as the target of states diplomatic actions. Public diplomacy aims to promote, to give understanding about, and to communicate state and interest to private citizen overseas. Public diplomacy plays with people’s perception and the goal of public diplomacy is to change public perception about the state towards more positive perceptions.

2.2. Development of Public Diplomacy

Public diplomacy is something new that will always be developed throughout the history of mankind, as long as diplomacy still exist and become one of the tools in international relations. Because of that, theory of public diplomacy is not a rigid theory that closes its door towards new things and changes that will enrich the theory. Those adjustments do not come without any reason at all. Every new adjustment, critics, and new understanding of public diplomacy come because of inability of the theory to accommodate or explain certain condition under the existing theory today.

The theory of public diplomacy today has been influenced by various disciplines, range from political sciences, communication studies, even marketing. The logical explanation for this condition is best explained by Bruce Gregory that formulated two assumptions when exploring various disciplines that relevant for theory of public diplomacy. Those assumptions are:

“First, that ideas, war globalism, technologies, political pressures, and professional norms have shaped academic and practical inquiry; and second, that the works of scholars and practitioners has progresses largely, but not entirely, on separate tracks.”


It is in the future direction of public diplomacy to use relevant existing disciplines to build a strong framework and understanding of public diplomacy.

One of the supporters of Gregory’s argument on multidiscipline public diplomacy is Eytan Gilboa. Gilboa started his argument by presented the conceptual development of public diplomacy, which translated to several change in definition of public diplomacy over time. He started with Gifford Malone that defined public diplomacy as ‘direct communication with foreign peoples, with the aim of affecting their thinking and, ultimately, that of their governments.’


Malone gave us the simplest definition of public diplomacy that only featured goals of public diplomacy practices. Moving from Malone,

Gilboa then cited Hans Tuch’s (identified actors, which is the governments), Howard H.

Frederick’s (specific content, which are information, education, and culture), Benno


Bruce Gregory, Public Diplomacy: Sunrise of an Academic Field, The ANNALS of The Academic of

Political and Social Sciences, Vol. 616, No. 1, pp. 275


Eytan Gilboa, Searching for a Theory of Public Diplomacy, The ANNALS of the American Academy of

political and Social Science, Vol. 616, No. 1, pp. 57


Signitzer and Timothy Coombs’ (similarity of public relations and public diplomacy, including acknowledgment of new actor), and Gary D. Rawnsley’s (difference target between public and media diplomacy).


Gilboa finally came to Evan Potter’s, Jan Melissen’s, and his, which he believed as more effective approach on public diplomacy based on the expansion and changes that they have been made. Potter focused on the changes of the environment that public diplomacy has been worked on. Changes in media, culture, and diversity widen the approach of public diplomacy more than just foreign policy strategy. Melissen acknowledged the rise of non-state actor and communication pattern between states.

Gilboa gave expanded characteristics of public diplomacy that include soft power, public relation strategy, media framing, nation branding, to mention a few.


The expansion and development of public diplomacy has given room to new development of public diplomacy, and diplomacy in general, in order to stay relevant as a theory and a practice.

Because world is not a static place where everything change, so does theory and practice of public diplomacy, practitioners and theorists of public diplomacy should aware of the new direction of public diplomacy. Gilboa suggested three things that should come into consideration when discussing public diplomacy today. Those things are the

Internet, NGOs, and evaluation.


Internet becomes an important thing in the world today, not only for private citizens but also for government. Therefore, internet cannot be separated with our life, including how diplomacy work. NGOs reflect the emergence of




Ibid, pp. 58


Ibid, pp. 73


new actor in diplomacy. NGOs have been new player in world politics and being dubbed as representation of civil society in international system. Finally, evaluation of public diplomacy practices will be valuable for the development of theory of public diplomacy.

On that note, public diplomacy will always be developed, both as theory and practice, as long as change and new innovation are happening in the world.

2.3. New Actor on Diplomacy

As being explained in the previous part, public diplomacy has expanded the target of diplomacy, which brings private citizens as one of the possible target of diplomacy. While the expansion on the target of diplomacy seems to be widely accepted by theorists and practitioners of diplomacy, expansion on the actor of diplomacy, simply called diplomat, still become a discussion in the realm of diplomacy. With diplomacy in its initial understanding is exclusively reserved as nation-states’ practice, it is hard to add more actors into the actor that do diplomacy although the environment where diplomacy happen has been changed.

Richard Langhorne believed that the need of new actor in diplomacy occur with the fact that,

“At some levels of interstate relations, they have lost independent authority either to external intergovernmental organizations, or areas usually of economic activity which as yet have no representation. The result has been a general sense that states no longer need the kind of diplomatic service


that they once had and that reform and retrenchment were both desirable and possible."


Non-state actors today have the same capability to do what the states can do. Functions that in the old days can only be perform by the government now can also be performed by non-state actors. In diplomacy, not all the function of diplomacy can be performed by non-state actors. Non-states cannot perform representative function of the government overseas in a formal setting. So does with negotiation function. In some degree, non-state actor can take part in negotiation process, with being invited by the formal negotiators or being involve in NGOs. However, for the information and promotion function, non-state actors definitely have the same capability, if not more, than the government. Based on this assumption, the discussion of new actors in diplomacy follows that direction.

Eytan Gilboa expanded the actor in diplomacy by offering three model of diplomacy. Those models are public diplomacy, media diplomacy, and media-broker diplomacy. The last two models are new for the discussion of diplomacy. Media diplomacy refers to officials’ uses of the media to communicate with state and non-state actors, to build confidence and advance negotiations, and to mobilize public support for agreements.


On the other hand, media broker diplomacy can be defined as the time when media serve as mediators in international negotiations.


The difference between media diplomacy and media broker diplomacy is on the activities that media plays in


Richard Langhorne, Current Developments in Diplomacy: Who are the Diplomats Now?, Diplomacy

&Statecraft, Vol. 8, No, 2, pp. 3


Eytan Gilboa, Diplomacy in the Media Age: Three Models of Uses and Effects, Diplomacy & Statecraft,

Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 10


Ibid, pp. 16


diplomacy. On media diplomacy, media pursue the function of media, but on media broker diplomacy they act more like a diplomat rather than their usual job as reporter.


One of the fascinating things with Gilboa’s view on public diplomacy is the variants that he explained as variants that might be adapted in public diplomacy. One of the variants is the non-state transnational variants. Gilboa adapted Signitzer and Coombs’ wider definition of public diplomacy which is ‘The way in which both government and private individuals and groups influence directly or indirectly those public attitudes and opinions which bear directly on another government’s foreign policy decisions.” 18

Gilboa felt that the narrow understanding of public diplomacy, that the government is the initiator of public diplomacy practice, gave a little room to acknowledge non-state actors’ involvement in public diplomacy. However, the condition today make it impossible to omit non-states’ actor as one of the initiators in public diplomacy, and diplomacy in general.


The other scholar that believes in the expansion of actor in diplomacy is John

Robert Kelley. He argued that diplomacy today should be treated as behavior rather as an institution.


Putting diplomacy in a different dimension will allow new actors on diplomacy because as behavior every actors can act as diplomats without focusing whether the actors are the part of diplomatic institution or not. When the actors of diplomacy are being separated from the idea of institution, every action by every actor is




Benno H. Signitzer and Timothy Coombs, Public Relations and Public Diplomacy: Conceptual

Convergences, Public Relations Review,Vol. 18, pp. 138


Eytan Gilboa, Diplomacy in the Media Age: Three Models of Uses and Effects, pp. 5


John Robert Kelley, The New Diplomacy: Evolution of a Revolution, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Vol. 21, pp.



possible to be diplomatic practices. As consequence, governments cannot control diplomatic practice by other actors, except for diplomats in formal diplomatic channel under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or State Department. Langhorne explained this condition by saying that the environment accommodates ‘a wide range of human activities which owe a little or nothing to geographical location, time of day and, most important of all, to government permission or regulation.’ 21

More on the argument to expand diplomacy beyond nation-states as the only actor in diplomacy is John Hoffman that pointed out how problematic diplomacy with the concept of nation-states is. Diplomacy that being recognized as the peaceful conduct of international relations is being conduct based on nation-states’ power relations and because of that Hoffman argued that ‘diplomacy succeeds where the state fails, and fails where the state succeeds.”


If diplomacy will stick to its initial position as peaceful way to resolve conflict or to have relations with other actors in international system, diplomacy should be separated with nation-states.

2.4. Citizen Diplomacy

As diplomacy transforms over the years, it is time for individuals to be acknowledged as one of the actors in diplomacy. The previous part has been laid out in order to give initial background before considering the theory of citizen diplomacy.

Knowing what is the position of individuals in traditional diplomacy and public


Richard Langhorne, The Diplomacy of Non-State Actors, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Vol. 16, pp. 332


John Hoffman, Reconstructing Diplomacy, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol. 5,

No. 4, pp. 527-533


diplomacy with exploration of the development of each theory will give understanding on the urgency of citizen diplomacy, both as a theory and as a practice. Majority of the study on non-state actors in diplomacy focuses on non-governmental organizations and media as the actors that can be effective initiator of diplomacy. Somehow, individuals are still being placed as secondary actor in diplomacy, with emphasize on being target rather than being initiator.

Paul Sharp’s study might be the best option to explain the theory of citizen diplomacy. Sharp presented four types of citizen diplomat as an actor in diplomacy. The four types are:

1. The citizen diplomat as go-between, meaning that individuals act as intermediary actor for the government in places that the government does not have access to conduct their own diplomatic practices;

2. The citizen diplomat as a representative for a sectoral, regional, or local economic interest, meaning that individuals being the part of government representation on economic issues overseas, being part of trade negotiation envoy or being part of trade chamber best illustrated this type;

3. The citizen diplomats as a lobbyist or advocate for a particular cause, meaning that individuals engage in advocacy for causes that important for them and the causes are international issues, whether the cause directly affect their lives or not, and;

4. The citizen diplomats as a subverter or transformer of existing policies and/or political arrangements, domestic, and/or international, meaning that


individuals engage in activities to present the image of their countries that is different with the overseas public conception of their countries.


However, those four types of citizen diplomat above are still in certain functional relations with other actor, which make the diplomatic practices that they do are not fully being acted for themselves but also for other actors’ interest, being the other actors are their government, their local economic institutions, or the civil society organizations that they work with. Because of that reason, Sharp offered the fifth conception of citizen diplomat, which is ‘the citizen diplomat as an autonomous agent in international relations.”


In this final conception of citizen diplomat, individuals can act in international level and being viewed as diplomatic practice with the resources that they have, act as their own selves, without representing anyone but themselves. Autonomy as individuals in this conception can be described as liberation of individuals to choose and shape their own identity. This understanding opens an opportunity for individuals to do diplomatic practices in issues that are important for them and act as diplomats for their own interests.

Citizen diplomat as autonomous diplomatic agent is being explained by the ‘all change’ perspective. The ‘all change’ perspective believes that individuals as autonomous actor is happening and should be happening because of changes in the environment surrounding international relations. Several conditions that has been changed throughout the years including change in information and communication technology, change in the


Paul Sharp, Making Sense of Citizen Diplomats: The People of Duluth, Minnesota, as International Actors,

International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 2, 2001, pp. 137-140


Ibid, pp. 141


way of thinking, and change in the owner of resources. Because of the fact that individuals grasp all the changes, even have a better understanding comparing to the government, change in diplomacy is inevitable and citizen diplomacy is the answer of that change.

Based on the definition that has been formulated by other academia, the working definition that will be used in this study is heavily affected by the Paul Sharp’s definition of citizen diplomat because citizen diplomacy is the act that citizen diplomats do.

Therefore, in this study, citizen diplomacy will be defined as action of individuals or group of individuals, as autonomous agents, that reflected one of the functions of diplomacy, whether it is to conduct negotiation, gather information, provide information, become their own representation in international arena, and the action aim to serve their interest without any attachment with other actors, including attachment with nation-states and their governments.

2.5. Vlogging as Citizen Diplomacy

There are two things that is important from the definition of citizen diplomacy that can be the justification of vlogging as citizen diplomacy action. First, the action is being done by individuals or group of individuals as autonomous agent, without any attachment to other actors. From the case studies that have been presented in previous chapter, all the actors is individual or groups of individuals. When producing their vlogs, the actors do not have any attachment with other actors, including the government of

South Korea, business entities, or even YouTube. Although they all are part of YouTube


Partner Program, it does not mean that YouTube has full control over their vlogging activities. YouTube Community Guidelines, which is the most important thing that content creator should obey in order to distribute their video through YouTube, is only work as ethical and technical guidelines rather than being a contract that need vloggers allegiance towards YouTube. This condition put distinction between diplomats that work for their country that involve working for the country with citizen diplomats that only work for themselves.

Second, the action should reflect one of the functions of diplomacy. In all cases, vlogging reflect the promotion and communication function of diplomacy. In this study although not all vloggers explicitly explained that they promote South Korea, based on their vlogs and their overall activities, in some degree they do promote South Korea. On the communication function, their effort to give honest opinion, new understanding, and true information about South Korea reflected the communication function of diplomacy.

The interesting thing that being explored in the case studies is whether vloggers do better job than the government in promoting South Korea abroad. Directly or indirectly, they have the idea that because they are social media personalities that have relations with the viewers, they do better job than the government. The way they present the content, which is more attractive, than the government also supporting the argument that they do better promotion and communication about South Korea.

Vlogging also embedded three characteristic which are different from traditional diplomacy or public diplomacy. The three characteristics are:

1. Role of Social Media


Based on the case studies, YouTube is being used as video sharing platform that allow content creators to have communication and build relation with the viewers. YouTube has been designed in such way that it allows two way communications and being different with traditional media which only allow one way communication. Feature such as Comment Section and ‘Like and

Dislike Button’ allow viewers to determine which way the channel will go. In comparison with public diplomacy effort, especially international broadcast, citizen diplomacy, especially the one in social media, is more effective two capture feedback.

2. Nature of Content

With citizen diplomacy in social media, user generated content is the center of the whole process. In this study, vlogs is the manifestation of user generated contents. User generated content actually has double meaning in this context. The first is on their relations with YouTube. YouTube can be the website the way it is today because of users like five on this study that actively upload content to their website. The second meaning is the way content can be seen as cultural product that heavily affected by what the viewers want to see. For example, in reviewing Korean pop song, Eat Your

Kimchi uses viewers polling to choose what song they will review, Hallyu

Back put question and answer section as one of their video series, and Talk to

Me in Korean has one series that answer viewers’ question on a certain subject. To put in relation with function of diplomacy, vlogs have been the


promotion tool that can be used to give understanding or to build awareness about South Korea.

3. Pattern of Communication

Citizen diplomacy in social media is a horizontal communication activity, which has no hierarchy between viewers and personalities, whereas in traditional diplomacy, even in public diplomacy, there is hierarchy between nation-states and the target of diplomacy.

Based on that justification above, vlogging activities that have been done by vloggers that have been discussed in previous section can be defined as citizen diplomacy.

Table 1. Comparison of Diplomacy or Public Diplomacy with Citizen Diplomacy


Role of Social Media

Nature of Content

Pattern of Communication

Diplomacy or

Public Diplomacy

Platform to Spread

Information and Build

Relations in Institutional


State-sponsored Content


Citizen Diplomacy

Platform to Spread

Information and Build

Relations in Personal Level

User Generated Content





3.1. Social Media

Social media is the product of the evolution of information and communication technology. When internet was invented, the landscape of communication, especially international communication, changed once and for all. The evolution that still going on in the world today has been dubbed as one of the factor of globalization that eliminates the boundaries of nation-states and gives the tool for people all around the world to be connected with each other. Internet today has been the important part of daily life and so does social media. With the availability and accessibility of social media, people can move most part of their daily life into the social world. Business, entertainment, education and politics has turned their head into digital world and social media.

But, what is social media? Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein defined social media as ‘a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User

Generated Content.’


Based on this definition, several important features of social media can be described. Those features are:

1. That social media is a group of product in the internet. Social media does not refer to only one certain internet product, but it is a category of internet products that consists many applications and services that are available for


Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of

Social Media, Business Horizons, Vol. 53, pp. 61


public use. Most of social media can be accessed by public without any fees for their services, although some of them divide their service into two different categories, advance service by pay and public access.

2. That social media emphasize on the social aspect on their service. Social media was built to create a platform for users to put their content online while in the same time connect with other users. Social media has two main functions for their users and the users can use all of the functions that social media offers or just focus on one. Social media can be the platform to put users content online and also place for communication with the other users.

For users that actively engage in creating content online, social media usually called them as content creator and for users that only in social media to see content and engage in communication, they usually are identified as users or ordinary users.

3. That social media emphasize on user generated content. As a service for content sharing, the content on social media has always depended on users’ creation. The variety, creativity, amount of content, and quality of social media content are on users’ hand. The application or website can only put several guidelines regarding what kind of content that the users can upload on to their service. Most of the guideline deal with copyright issue, ethical issue, and technical issue. Sure the service can put contents down if the contents are not obeying the guideline, but as for the quality and creativity, users are the controller of the contents.


Based on the definition and characteristics of social media, internet today offers us as the users a wide variety of social media. Some of them have more popularity than the other. Some of them target specific group of users. Some of them might look similar and offer the same service. But, all of them provide platform for their user to connect with other users and provide platform for user created content. W. Glynn Mangold and David J.

Faulds explained various type of social media as:


1. Social Networking Sites, example Facebook;

2. Creativity Works Sharing Sites, example YouTube;

3. Users-sponsored Blogs, example Cnet.com;

4. Company-sponsored Blogs, example Apple.com blog;

5. Invitational-only Social Networks, example ASmallWorld.net;

6. Business Networking Sites, example LinkedIn;

7. Collaborative Website, example Wikipedia;

8. Virtual Worlds, example Second Life;

9. Commerce Communities, example eBay;

10. Podcasts, example ‘For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report’;

11. News Delivery Sites, example Current TV;

12. Educational Materials Sharing, example MIT OpenCourseWare;

13. Open Source Software Communities, example Linux.org, and;

14. Social Bookmarking Sites, example Reddit.


W. Glynn Mangold and David J. Fauld, Social Media: The New Hybird Element of the Promotion Mix,

Business Horizons, Vol. 52, pp. 358


These variations of social media outlet are based on the service that they provide for their users and types of contents that being the focused of their service. However, types that Mangold and Faulds provided are still general types in some sense. Some of the types can be presented in more specific manner. For example, social networking sites

(SNSs) today have their own specification. We already encounter the general one like

Facebook, but there are also social networking sites that specify their service for dating, like Tinder. We also encounter social media with document sharing function such as


Social media is still far from the words finish, out-dated, or ‘not in trend’.

Because social media depends their existence from the users, as long as internet becomes an important part in our daily life and people see social media as one way to sharing and communicate their idea, social media will always be there. By seeing the growth of social media services, either as a website or mobile applications, it is safe to predict that social media will growing in numbers and varieties in the recent future.

3.2. YouTube as Video Sharing Platform

From all kind of social media that available today, YouTube will be the highlight on this study. Based on the service that YouTube provides for the users, YouTube can be categorized as creative works sharing sites, specifically video sharing sites. As being described by Mashable




Mashable is a British-American online publication that covers on the topic of technology and social media.

Founded by Pete Cahsmore, the CEO of Mashable, in 2005.


“YouTube was founded in February 2005 and has become the go-to site for video on the web. One hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second.

Google bought YouTube in 2006 and underwent a significant redesign in

2011. The revamped YouTube emphasized ‘channels’ for content and rolled out a bevy of new features.” 45

Based on the statistic that Alexa


provide, YouTube is the third most visited website in the world with users from the United States make 19,3% of the total visitors, follow by India, Japan, Russia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, France, and Spain, which every country has more than 2% from the total visitor share. YouTube has been linked by more than 3.000.000 other sites all around the world.


YouTube is also available in more than 60 languages, including three variations of Chinese. This statistics speak on how YouTube has been one of the most popular social media sites over the years.

As previously mentioned, social media give the users freedom of creativity to create content and use their service as distribution platform as long as they respect the line that has been drawn by each social media site, so does YouTube. YouTube provide a

Community Guidelines that every user should obey. Fail to meet the standard that

YouTube set on its Guidelines can give YouTube authority to take down the content to


YouTube, Retrieved from http://mashable.com/category/youtube/ (accessed March 20, 2014)


Alexa is a subsidiary company of Amazon.com that provides commercial web traffic data. It was founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat. To access the full data that Alexa can provide, users should register and become full member of Alexa.


Site Overview: YouTube.com, Retrieved from http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/youtube.com

(accessed May 5,



fully terminate user’s activity in YouTube. Some common-sense rules that YouTube set up for the users are:

1. Pornography or sexually explicit content is prohibited;

2. Material with animal abuse, drug abuse, bomb making, or anything that can be categorized as bad things is prohibited;

3. Graphic or gratuitous violence content is prohibited;

4. Accidents, post-accidents, or any material that can emulate shock is prohibited;

5. Copyrighted material, including music tracks, snippets from copyrighted programs in other media, and other users copyrighted material, is prohibited;

6. Hate speech material, attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/ gender identity is prohibited;

7. Content with predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, invading privacy, or the revealing of other members’ personal information material is prohibited;

8. Spam content, including content with misleading description, tags, tittles, or thumbnails in order to increase views material is prohibited. This is also applied to comments and private messages.


One of the unique features of YouTube that make YouTube slightly different with the other social media services is the YouTube Partner Program. YouTube Partner


YouTube Community Guidelines, Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines

(accessed April 20, 2014)


Program is a program that YouTube offers to the users, especially content creators, to build partnership with YouTube that allows the content creators to get several benefits that the ordinary content creators cannot get. YouTube Partner Program was initially launched in May 2007.


At that time, to be a YouTube Partner, users should be invited by YouTube based on their activity in the site, hence the first batch of YouTube Partner was filled by already established name such as Smosh and Michael Buckley.


But today, anybody can be a YouTube partner.

YouTube has changed its policy regarding YouTube Partner application process.

Users do not have to be invited by YouTube to be a partner. Users just need to enable the monetization option on their channel. In order to enable their monetization option, their channels have to be verified and their video should be approved by YouTube and meet their compliance standard.


YouTube’s criteria for partnership program are:

1. The program has launched on the user’s country;

2. Account is in good standing and has not previously been disabled for monetization;

3. User upload original, quality content that is advertisers-friendly;

4. Video content complies with YouTube Term of Service and Community



Megan Rose Dickey, The 22 Key Turning Points in the History of YouTube, Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/key-turning-points-history-of-youtube-2013-2?op=1 (accessed May 1, 2014)



Elevates Most Popular Users to Partners,

Retrieved from http://youtubeglobal.blogspot.kr/2007/05/youtube-elevates-most-popular-users-to.html

(accessed April 20, 2014)


Become a YouTube Partner, Retrieved from https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/72857?hl=en

(accessed April 20, 2014)


5. User has reviewed YouTube’s copyright education materials.


In term of benefit of being partner, YouTube gives the comparison of what kind of benefits that different kind of user will get. All creators will able to upload unlimited

High Definition videos, to use YouTube Analytics, to use audience engagement feature

(comments, subscribers, and social features), to custom brand the channel, to use annotations and InVideo Programming, to access Creator academy, to access Creator

Playbook, to access Help Center resources. As verified channels, users can able to get all the previous benefits and able to use advanced product features, that include custom thumbs, series playlists, Associated Websites and Merch Annotation, and able to held

Live YouTube event if user has at least 100 subscribers. If user becomes a YouTube

Partner and able to get 75.000 cumulative watch hours over the period of 90 days, user can get all the benefit for creators and verified channels as well as eligible to apply for advanced programs, including the use of YouTube Space and participate in development program, and get technical and strategic support from YouTube.


YouTube offers so much benefit, both material and non-material support, for the users under Partner Program. However, the spotlight is always on the monetary benefit that YouTube can provide for their partners. As part of Google, YouTube is in the same network as AdSense, an advertisement program that run by Google for its network that allow the users of Google’s service earn money by allowing AdSense to put advertisement on the users’ products, be it YouTube’s videos, Blogger’s posts, or any



for YouTube Partnership,

Retrieved from https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/82839?hl=en&ref_topic=14965 (accessed April 20, 2014)


Working Together: An Overview of YouTube’s Resources for Creators, Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/yt/creators/creator-benefits.html

(accessed April, 21, 2014)


other Google network’s program. This benefit allows content creator to consider a career as YouTube content creator as a full-time job. Throughout the years, there has been example on how YouTube change somebody career and give enough monetary benefit.

One of the example is Michael Buckley which in an article at New York Times claimed that he earned six-figures income and scored a development deal with HBO, all because of his self-produced web show ‘What The Buck Show’ has been part of YouTube Partner

Program. On the same article, another success example came from Cory Williams that earned $17.000 up to $20.000 a month from YouTube.


With the new application process of YouTube Partner Program, which is not depend on YouTube’s invitation for the users, every user can earn money from their videos that they upload in YouTube. This new policy has been implied since 2012. This condition changes the landscape of YouTube and user generated contents. YouTube has double function today, first being social media and second as work place for YouTube partners, whether it is a full-time job or just a part-time job. This condition also becomes the reason of the existence of many online talent management that aim to help content creator to maximize their earning from their activities. Conventions and tours has been held in major hub of online content creators to facilitate the creators to meet their favorite online creators. YouTube content creators today have been positioned as online celebrity and not only engage in online activities but also start to appear in traditional media, such as television shows. YouTube as social media that serve as video sharing platform has opened up so many opportunities for their users beyond its initial services.


Brian Stelter,

YouTube Videos Pull in Real Money,

Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/business/media/11youtube.html?_r=0 (accessed April 19, 2014)


3.3. Social Media and Diplomacy

Social media is not only reshape the way people communicate with one another, but also change the way nation-states conduct their action in international system, including the way they do diplomacy. Alec Ross described this change on diplomatic practices as,

“Traditionally, diplomatic engagement consisted largely of government-togovernment interactions. In some instances, it was from government to people, such as with international broadcasting in the twentieth century.

With the advent of social media and the rapid increase in mobile penetration, however, this engagement now increasingly takes place from people to government and from people to people. This direct link from citizens to government allows diplomats to convene and connect with nontraditional audiences, and in turn allows citizen to influence their governments in ways that were not possible ten years ago.”


Social media makes it possible for other actor to involve in diplomacy and make change the pattern of communication among actors that involve in diplomacy. Such diplomatic practices usually called as Digital Diplomacy, Public Diplomacy 2.0, Web Diplomacy,

Internet Diplomacy, Social Media Diplomacy, or other name that reflect the combination between internet, web, or social media with diplomacy.


Alec Ross, Digital Diplomacy and US Foreign Policy, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Vol. 6, pp. 452.


There are three characteristics that emerge from new practices of diplomacy with social media. The characteristics are:

1. Capacity of the technology to facilitate new relationship and communication among users of web technology and social media;

2. The new diplomacy practices heavily depend on user generated content as the material for diplomatic practices;

3. In the new diplomatic practices, communication patterns are vertical, while in the old practices were horizontal. Vertical means that the communication is among peers on the same level in international system and horizontal means that communication is from higher level actors towards lower level actors and vice versa.


Based on these characteristics, if activities on social media reflect these characteristics, then those activities can be defined as diplomatic practices.

The current discussion on the topic of diplomacy and social media has touched upon topics such as the use of social media by head of state or the governmental bodies and the use of social media in the time of crisis. Attention has not been given to the possibility of diplomatic practices that emerge from activities in social media with private citizens as the initiator, without any crisis as the background of the activities in social media. Based on that gap in academic discussion on social media and diplomacy, this study will be one of the effort to fill the gap and give the explanation on the topic.


Nicholas J. Cull, The Long Road to Public Diplomacy 2.0: The Internet in US Public Diplomacy,

International Studies Review, Vol. 15, pp. 125





4.1. Components on the Analysis

4.1.1. Actors

Every action has actors and so does citizen diplomacy in social media. In this study, the actors of citizen diplomacy are video bloggers. Video bloggers, so in short can be called as vloggers, are different from the usual bloggers that people may encounter through their writing in the internet. Vloggers use video as the communication medium between them and their viewers. Because of that, certain knowledge to create videos is necessary for vloggers. The other unique feature from vloggers is about the concept of ‘face’. Social media personalities, that can be anyone from influencer in Twitter to bloggers, have already put ‘the face’ as one of the main components in the internet, oppose to the anonymity that can be an option in the internet. For vloggers, their face will be more than graphic that viewers encounter in their video but also put more ‘human’ element in their opinions, thoughts, and creations.

Specifically in this study, because the study takes South Korea as the case study, the actors of citizen diplomacy in this context are vloggers that create contents about South Korea. Based on these criteria, anyone can be the actors, as


long as they create vlogs about South Korea. This study left out the nationality in the discussion because of the ability of individuals to have multiple identities.

Individuals in this study are not being treated as citizens of a particular country, but more as social media personalities that create vlogs with specific theme that happened to be about South Korea.

4.1.2. Environments

In this study, there are two environments that are crucial and should be counted in the analysis of citizen diplomacy in social media. The first environment is South Korea. In this study, it is more about South Korea in the regards of the culture and as the environment that gives cultural products or values for the actors to act rather than South Korea as physical or territorial environment. Because of that, there will be no limitation on whether the vloggers that will be discussed in this study are living in South Korea or not, as long as their vlogs are about South Korea and things that are related to South Korea.

The second environment is YouTube. In this study, YouTube is act as the place for vloggers to distribute their videos which is the core function that

YouTube has offered to its users. Beyond the function of a distribution platform,

YouTube also act as the place for the users to be social with other users, which is the function of every social media has offered. But with YouTube, the users interactions are being build upon videos that users upload to the site. Another attribute that YouTube offers to the users and need to be discussed as part of the


analysis is the YouTube Partner Program, which has been one of the highlight of the website.

4.1.3. Timeframes

Timeframe is important to explain the evolution of vlogging as citizen diplomacy activity. By looking over what is happening in a particular time in the particular frame, identification can be made on the changes, developments, or growths of vlogging. In this study, there will a separation on the timeframe in the analysis. The separation point will be on 2012 so that the analysis will present the condition before and after 2012. This time point is being choosen as the important point of the evolution because of the launched of Gangnam Style. The video is significant because it was doubt as the cultural product that world’s attention to

South Korea. Although there are several South Korea’s cultural products that give the same effect as Gangnam Style, the video has been done the trick in a larger, wider, and more international scale.

4.2. Analytical Model

For the purpose of the analysis, this study will adapt the simple model of communication that consist of the actors, the medium, the target, and the environment that surrounding vlogging as activities. With the context of this study, the initiator is the vloggers, the medium is vlogs about Korea, the target is other individuals, and the environment will be YouTube as the platform for the vlogs and South Korea as the object


of the vlogs. By building the model, the reasons can be pulled out from any component in the model. The following figure will illustrate the model. The explanation of the evolution will be drawn by comparing two models, before and after Gangnam Style.

Figure 1. Analytical Model

South Korea




Citizen Diplomacy


4.3. Analytical Process

Based on the previous analytical framework and research question that has been described in the previous parts, this study will explore the evolution of vlogging activities in YouTube.com and frame the evolution in the framework of citizen diplomacy and soft power mechanism. This study is a qualitative study that employs grounded theory


methodology as the way to get the answer for the research question that has been asked before. Grounded theory fit the purpose of this study the most, which is to explore reasoning of behavior and to build expansion of the current understanding of theory of citizen diplomacy and soft power.


On applying grounded theory as methodology of this study, several steps will be applied. Those steps are:

1. Data collection

Data for this study is mostly collected from in-depth interview with vloggers, exploration of media archive with vloggers as the main subject (both in electronic and printed media), collecting videos or any digital footprints of the vloggers (including the page on their website)

2. Coding

On this step, all the data that has been collected is being conceptualized line by line, word by word, sentence by sentence, in order to find substance from various data available. Based on the codes, findings will be assigned to particular category that fit the data.

3. Memo Writing

This step is the intermediary step between coding and final product of the study. On this step, findings that have been categorized based on certain


Anselm L. Strauss, Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientist, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,

2003), pp. 5


category will be developed and relations between categories will be analyzed.

This phase is important because researcher can go back to his data and coding before come into conclusion and drafting the final product.

4. Writing

As the final step of grounded theory, this phase will serve as the process of writing the finding of the study in the form that is appropriate to be published.

4.4. Selection of Case Studies

In order to get the best result possible for this study, case studies that are being analyzed in this study has been selected through several categorizations. This selection will be based on the context of the study, which is video blogging about South Korea on

YouTube that being produced by individual or team of individuals. Based on this context, several conditions of the vloggers are being examined in order to be included in this study.

Those conditions are:

1. Whether the majority, if not all, of their vlogs are about South Korea;

2. Whether they have prominent numbers of subscribers;

3. Whether their videos have prominent number of views and;

4. Whether they have been exposed by mainstream media.

Based on those conditions, five prominent individual vloggers or team vloggers are being selected as case studies.


Table 2. Selected Case Studies










Simon and

Martina Stawski

Hyunwoo Sun

Richard Lucchesi and Stephanie


Eat Your Kimchi simonandmartinabonus

Open the Happy

The www.eatyourkimchi.com archives


Hyunwoo Sun

Hallyu Back

Keith Kim

Steve Miller




Steve Miller

Steve Miller's Vlog

No. of





No. of


No. of


514.884 139.893.196

259.002 37.249.197

131.125 9.080.336




























Statistics for number of videos, number of subscribers, and number of views are being collected from YouTube’s statistics


and VidStatX ( www.vidstatx.com



, updated date as per April 28 th

, 2014. Majority of YouTube personalities have more than one channel.

Secondary channels serve as platform for other vlogging activities, such as live chat, archive for bloopers, and off topic videos. On the statistic above, all the channels are listed to show all the activities of particular personalities have in YouTube.


YouTube provide statistic for every channel, including number of videos, total numbers of viewers from all videos, and number of subscribers. Data can be access publicly from About tab in every channels. YouTube also provide statistic for every single videos, including number of views, number of Like or Dislike, and statistics of views per day. Channels have options whether they want to make the feature as public or private.


VidStatX is a website that provides statistic for YouTube video, including basic statistic that YouTube provide as well as ranking based on regional, type of channel, and comparison feature.




5.1. Eat Your Kimchi

Eat Your Kimchi (EYK) was built by Simon and Martina Stawski, a Canadian couple, that came to Korea in 2008 to become English teachers. A couple day before they departure from Toronto, North Korea made a threat that they would like to make South

Korea ‘a sea of fire’


and this specific provocative statement became a concern for their families back in Canada. To keep their families calm, they decided to make video and uploaded the video on YouTube, so that their families knew their condition in South

Korea and to show them that South Korea is a safe place to live. Among their first videos are about restaurant in South Korea and about grocery shopping. Those videos are still available in YouTube


and can be accessed publicly. Simultaneously, they also launched their blog ( www.eatyourkimchi.com

) that featured longer text version of their videos.

After months uploaded videos about their life in South Korea in various topics, such as know-how tips, Korean mannerism, and Korean food, they first big break-out was on a video entitled ‘How to Dance K-Pop Style 2008’. On this particular video, they showed their choices of Top 10 K-Pop Song with iconic dance moves. Until today, this video has been viewed more than half millions time. Being a signature video for their


Choe Sang-Hun, North Korea Threatens to Reduce South Korea to ‘Ashes’ at Slightest Provocation,

Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/31/world/asia/31korea.html

(Accessed May 1, 2014)


Several videos from EYK earlier time can be accessed http://www.youtube.com/user/eatyourkimchiarchive

43 at

channel, they have been doing the same kind of video annually until 2011. This annual video was replaced by Annual Eat Your Kimchi Music Awards in 2012, a music awards video series that allows their viewers to vote for the winners.

EYK started their channel as a platform to inform their families about their life in

Korea, however the channel has been grown over the years and they started to systematically manage their channel since 2010. The first vlog series that Eat Your

Kimchi launched is K-Pop Music Monday, back in September 6 th

, 2010. In this particular series, Simon and Martina have given their own review of popular K-Pop song that the viewers voted. Their quirkiness and opinion made KMM dominate the most viewed videos on their channel. The second vlog series that they lauched is WTF Korea, short for

Wonderful Treasures Find in Korea, in March 2 nd

, 2011. On this series, they explained products that only can be found in Korea, starting from forearm chalkboard protector to melon milk. The third series on the channel is TL; DR, or Too Long; Don’t Read, launched on May 12 th

, 2011, a series that explains various topics about life in Korea, pretty much the same as the usual vlogs that they did before the series was launched.

WANK, or Wonderful Adventure Now Korea, a travel series on various destinations in

Korea, was launched on December 14 th

, 2011. And lastly, FAPFAP, short for Food

Adventure Program for Awesome People, a culinary program on Korean food, launched on February 29 th

, 2012. Beside those programs, they also launched K-Crunch, series on various Korean popular culture topics, on August 30 th

, 2011 and K-Crunch Indie, which now turn into Korean Indie Playlist, series on Korean Indie Music.


Table 3. Current and Former Series of Eat Your Kimchi’s Vlogs





WTF Korea








September 6 th

March 2

May 12 nd th

August 30 th

, 2010

, 2011

, 2011

, 2011

December 14 th

, 2011

February 4

February 29 th th

, 2012

, 2012

Korean Indie


December 16 th

, 2012


Korean Popular


Korean Unique


Life in Korea

Korean Popular



Destination in


Korean Indie


Food Destination in Korea

Korean Indie


Current Status

New videos every


New videos every


New videos every



New videos every

Thursdays, interchangeable with FAPFAP


New videos every

Thursdays, interchangeable with WANK

New videos every


Because of their growing popularity in the internet, they have been invited to several television programs in South Korea, including the popular SBS’s Star King and

Running Man, as guest stars along with Korean entertainment personalities. They also have been invited to a half hour talk show program in Arirang TV, Heart to Heart, which also being broadcasted in other countries, while they talked about their role as video blogger in Korea. Other media exposure including being interviewed by Wall Street

Journal, The Guardian, Yonhap News, Mashable, The Verge, The National Post, and was invited as a panel on one of Al Jazeera programs.


Although media exposure that EYK got over the years set themselves as one of the prominent video blogger that talked about Korea on their videos, perhaps one of the biggest accomplishment that they got so far is when they build EYK Studio with the support of their viewers. On September 5 th

, 2012, they posted a video and a campaign page at Indiegogo


, asking their viewers to support them to build the studio. At that time, the couple has quitted their daily job as teacher and decided to become a full time video bloggers. Moreover, EYK has become a YouTube Partner, which allow them to monetize their video and get revenue out of it, since 2010. Their goal to build a studio and turn their activities into a business activity in Korea came because of the realization that by doing the videos as a full-time job, they could do something that they like and they could do it together. A first, they set their fundraiser at US$ 40.000 and they reached the target only seven hours after they launched the campaign. They finally got US$ 113.625 when they closed the campaigned in October 20 th

, 2012. Now, EYK become a business entity in

Korea and have their studio in Hongdae area.

Although EYK has their website, which features longer explanation of their videos in text form, the reason they make it also available on video form is because video has viral quality, that a video can be shared and accessed as easy as possible that make the distribution of a video can reach wider audience comparing to text blog. This argument has been proved by the number of viewers that subscribers on their YouTube channel, which is a little over half million viewers, and their videos have been viewed


The complete data of fundraising can be accseed at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/eatyourkimchiopening-a-studio#home


over 130.000.000 times. The audiences have always been an important part for their process because they allow their viewers to influence the content that they make. For the audiences, EYK’s videos are more than just entertainment. The videos introduce them to

Korea and Korean culture, with honest opinion and fun way to explaining things.

Mashable has reviewed their channel and believed that,

“Eat Your Kimchi strives to present Korea in a fair, objective light, a mix of good and bad traits, just like any other location. Simon and Martina chose not to cover typical tourist destinations – instead, they explain how to use your washer and dryer, which groceries are available and where, and even how to order takeout. They embrace public silliness, whether by filming in front of a restaurant or dancing in the streets. They’ve even created characters for their sketches, such as Fangurilla, the zealous fan girl, and Mordney, a vampire.”


EYK goal might be just to use YouTube as their mode of communication, at first, but now they are more than just that. EYK has been one of the sources on everything

Korea. It helps people to know more about Korea from their first-hand experience and it has prepared foreigners that want to visit Korea or to move to Korea for many reasons.

They effectively use things that they encounter in their daily life, not only K-Pop because it is popular overseas, but also things that might seems not important but has value to be vlogs’ material.


Sara Roncero-Menendez, Inside a YouTube Empire Built on Kitsch and Kimchi, Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2014/01/05/eat-your-kimchi/ (Accessed May 1, 2014)


In their Arirang TV interview, they said that their goal is to make their YouTube activity as their permanent job and be their own bosses. That statement was made in 2011, before they opened their studio and run EYK as business. It seems that now they have reached their goal and now they are maintaining their vlogs, both as business and as something thay love to work on. The next project of EYK is to open a café shop, as one of their business ventures beside their YouTube channel and their online merchandise shop, with other YouTuber as collaborator.

5.2. Talk to Me in Korean

Talk to Me in Korean (TTMIK) is a channel on YouTube that focuses on teaching Korean language to its viewers but it was Hyunwoo Sun, the founder of Talk to

Me in Korea, involvement in YouTube that started it all. Back in 2006, Hyunwoo Sun started to upload his personal videos to YouTube because he wanted his experience to be persevered digitally, just for himself. Videos that he uploaded back then were videos of him talking to the camera about things that he encountered in his daily activities and his break-dance videos. Turn out that people watched his video and like the videos and started to asked questions, sometimes the same question that Sun already answered, and

Talk to Me in Korean started because he wanted a systematic platform for his viewers to look for the answers before asked him the questions.


Besides serving as a platform to systematically engage with his viewers, TTMIK conceived because he likes to learn language and wants to help other people with it.

TTMIK is a collaborative effort with several people with the same interest. Korean language became the choice because of the resources that he could access. It is a niche choice, in the middle of Hallyu wave that put emphasize on tourism, fashion, music, and other thing, TTMIK gives the viewers know-how, which is the know-how to learn

Korean. In order to achieve the goal of teaching Korean language, video blogs serve as a media to teach a particular phrase or particular part of learning language and by watching the video, TTMIK wants the viewers to have certain understanding of the language.

Today, they are not only put videos about Korean language but also several videos on life in Korean, that being targeted for foreigners that want to move to Korea or just visit Korea for a short time. Those kinds of videos will support the language videos because they will put the language in context, which is important part in learning language. However, not all aspect of Korea will be open for discussion in TTMIK video.

One topic that might not be discussed is Korean politics and its relations with other countries. TTMIK believed that the topic is too sensitive and their views might be bias, thus the videos will not be objectives.

As a company, TTMIK has published several books on Korean language and available online and at the book store to be purchase. YouTube revenues from the partnership program are not the main income for the site, nor for Sun, the first Korean that has been invited as YouTube Partner. Although he explained that he could get


several hundred dollars a month, YouTube revenue is just side money that he might use to travel or other things. Because of the change in YouTube Partner Program that now everybody can monetize their videos, he believed that it might be a trouble for YouTube, because of several issues, including copyright issues.

One thing for sure that YouTube gave TTMIK is a platform to distribute its video materials and gives the viewers a connection with TTMIK’s video personalities.

Personality in social media is important because people will be more connected with something that has ‘the face’ rather than something anonymous. The issue of ‘the face’ can be explained on how the government of South Korea through their several platform is failed to promote the country effectively. Moreover, Sun believed that the government has systemic problem with their promotion effort. Comparing to video bloggers, or bloggers in general, that present in Korea with honest but in a creative way, government struggles with several issues, including they way they carry the job to promote Korea.

Social media personalities fill the gap that the government created by presented their opinion so that viewers or readers feel there is connection with the author or the creator online.

Because of his vlogging activities, as himself in his personal channel or as the part of TTMIK, Sun has been interviewed by several media outlet and has his own show on television and radio. Despite the media exposure that he gets, he believed that the exposure do not bring a significant number of new viewers to his channels. He believed that word-of-mouth promotion is more effective than media exposure to bring viewers


that literary will watch the videos, rather than random visitors that will not stick to the channels. So far, majority of the viewers for TTMIK came from the United States and

Canada which makes a third of total viewers and 20 % of the viewers come from Korea, which are foreigners that live in Korea. As for the age of the viewers, it varies from as early as 12 years old to 70 years old, as for his personal channel is concentrated in 30 years old demographic. The channels are equally watched by male and female, with more female audiences in his personal channel.

As someone who has been in YouTube as early as 2006, Sun believed that foreigners that create vlogs about Korea are contributing to global citizen awareness of

Korea. The reason behind that is because with personalities on social media, people around the world will trust more on the information that they provide and their opinions about the country comparing to government website, such as Korean Tourism

Organization’s website. The same phenomenon has happened in Japan and it creates global awareness of Japan and it will do the same with Korea. There is only on small problem with more and more foreigners that vlogging about Korea which is they might give wrong information to their viewers. On that situation, as one of a few Korean vlogger that actively engage with YouTube community in Korea, Sun tried to comment or give clarification.

With almost 150.000 subscribers combine from his personal channel and TTMIK channel and the videos almost viewed 15 million time, Sun and TTMIK leading the way for YouTube’s users that want to learn Korean and because of his passion towards


language, Sun branched out with TTMIK, targeted Koreans that wanted to learn English.

As something that started out as only the way to keep personal memories and without any expectation how it would turn out to be, Sun has taken his own part, in his own way, to help people learn Korean language and learn more about Korea in general. He hoped that

Korean vloggers will be more open up and create more quality video and give their honest opinion about Korea, nothing sugar coated.

5.3. Hallyu Back

For people who have interest in Korean drama, Hallyu Back (HB) might be the right YouTube channel to subscribe to. Hallyu Back, a channel that run by Richard

Lucchesi and Stephanie Ishler, was launched in September 2012, with the review of

‘Faith’, a popular Korean drama at the moment. Before HB becomes what it is today,

Richard Lucchesi has been worked on several documentary films and uploaded the films on YouTube. HB is the collaboration between Richard’s interest in video making and

Stephanie’s interest in Korean drama. Besides that, HB was launched with the fact that there is international community that interest on the topic that the channel offer, moreover there was no other people who did what they doing now as a serious matter, so that their effort by launching the channel will be the platform for the community to interact with each other based on the common interest that they have.


The Korean wave or hallyu has been one of South Korea’s assets that can effective promote the country overseas and Korean drama is one of them. Although

Korean dramas are not as popular as Korean pop music, it is still an effective tool to promote Korea overseas. Korean dramas is not as popular as K-Pop because it is a lot easier for people to accesses K-Pop rather than Korean dramas. YouTube has been the catalyst for the popularity of K-Pop because Korean record labels used YouTube as the platform for the distribution of their video music. Moreover, it only takes four or five minutes to consume music, but it takes more than 20 hours to consume 20 episodes of an hour long dramas. When K-Pop has been used YouTube for its distribution, it also takes time to search for Korean drama, especially for people that have curiosity on that cultural products.

HB is not only offering vlogs on Korean drama but also offering vlogs about life in Korea on their series LIKE IT; Life in Korea: Experience It. This series is based on questions that the viewers send to them and they will answer it based on their experience in Korea. However, they would not discuss on the topic that are very sensitive issues which could be seen as they are taking advantages of Korea or the situation on Korea.

Besides that, the demographic on their channel affect what kind of content that they see appropriate and fit for the viewers, hence the absent of such topics like politics of Korea on their channel. The viewers of HB are mostly female that come from 117 countries all around the world, with domination by viewers from the United States.


When the couple started their vlog channel on YouTube, they did not have expectation, whether in term economic expectation or popularity expectation. The thing that drives them to make video blogs is only to pursue what they like to do, what they love to do, and possibility to turn their vlogging activities as future possible full-time occupation. One step that might lead them to their future goal is their status as YouTube

Partner. By being YouTube Partner, they can monetize their videos and that help them to maintain their effort in producing videos continuously. Besides that, they get technical support such as tutorials, partner development, and background music.

In general, their vlogging activities has given opportunities to them to learned more about Korean dramas and Korea by researching the material for the videos. This process also make them more aware on information that the traditional media give them on a regular basis and give them a new perspective on read the information that available.

The popularity of the vlogs also gives them opportunity for them to involve in other venture, such as appearing in television program and other media. With their popularity in YouTube, which number of their subscribers explained it well, it is not in their position to say that they do better job than the government of Korea to promote Korea overseas in virtual world, but the numbers speak more and it is up to the viewers to give such argument.

In short term, to be consistent in creating videos is the goal that the couple have in their mind. It is their happiness and success that be their goal in a long run. Money is not the priority, but the possibility to turn their activity in YouTube as a possible career is


always in their mind. Today, with Lucchesi’s schedule as a professor in Kyung Hee

University and Ishler’s schedule as a graduate student in the same university, time and energy is the biggest obstacle in the process of creating vlogs, beside equipment, technical know-how, and patient to go through all the process, consistently.

5.4. Seoulistic

For the people that have little knowledge about Korea, especially about Seoul,

Keith Kim’s Seoulistic is probably the right channel for them to see on YouTube. Keith

Kim, the founder of Seoulistic.com, has positioned his vlogs and his website as the introductory website and vlog about anything Korea and Seoul. At first, Kim did not want to use videos as the medium that his website offers for the visitors, but because YouTube is one of the most powerful social media tool which also a very powerful search engine, then YouTube and vlog became one of the option that Kim has to do to support his website. A little different with other vlogger, Kim definitely treats his website as a business rather than as a personal platform to share things with other people.

As a website, Seoulistic combine video and text blogging because text is important for every website. With text, search engine will able to refer to the content whenever users type the same text in search engine, like Google. This strategy is being defined as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and every content creator that have the knowledge on how using SEO as effective as possible might get more traffic than creators


who do not pay any attention to SEO. As for video, since YouTube is part of Google, video contents on YouTube definitely will pop out on the result of search engine.

However, in using YouTube as platform for video distribution, a content creator must be consistent in uploading videos in YouTube because search function in YouTube will present the newer result to the viewers.

As for types of content that Keith Kim creates for Seoulistic, he explained that as long as the content will bring traffic to his website, he will create that kind of content. A clickable is something that attractive for the viewers. Because Seoulistic is an introductory website on everything Korea and Seoul specifically, the type of content that viewers might encounter in the website is contents such as places to eat, things to do, museums to visit, and other things that will help people to enjoy Seoul and Korea.

However, to attract traffic, in some occasion, he might post contents that guarantee him traffics to the website, such as 40 things to buy in Korea. Attractive contents can be created from culture related things that available to be consumed in Seoul because people want to know that type of content. That is also the reason why Keith Kim decided not to post anything related to politics, because for his demographic, that type of content is not attractive and will not generate traffic to the website or to his videos.

Related to that, Kim pointed out several problems with government institutions’ effort in promoting Korea. He believed that content that Korea Tourism Organization present on their website is a good content. However, the problem is not on the content, but on the way they present the content. It is not very well organized platform for


majority of the people that want to start researching on Korea. People will not know where to start, what to do first when they go to government site. The second problem is that the government only shows the good side about themselves, on the other hand the social media personalities give their honest opinion on things. Being realistic, being honest, and being straight forward are the key why public prefer social media personality rather than government as the source of information.

To a certain degree, his activity has took over the government role on promoting

Korea and Seoul, but because of the size comparison between his website and the government’s website, it is impossible for him to take over completely the government’s role, but it is just the same thing with different approaches. The contents have been package differently. The government used to work in a certain way that allows a little room for change. What Kim does, and a lot of social media personalities do, is to give the audiences the content in the most attractive form possible.

Although he believed that the attractiveness of contents, especially cultural related content on his website, attract people to visit his website and follow him on social media, it is the personality that social media personalities present to the mass audience that attract people to stick with them. Cultural products will help them to build the content. However, it is their personality that will attract following. This statement supports the idea that in social media, ‘the face’ is important. Social media personalities can shape their online personalities to attract their followers, but majority of them do not separate their online and offline personalities. Keith Kim himself has maintained his


demographic as 70% female audiences, mostly from the United States, that stretch from seventeen to thirty years old age range.

So far, his website and his videos on YouTube has generated income, because as a YouTube Partner, he allow to monetize his video and his website generate revenue from advertisement. The other thing that his activity has gave him is a platform to speak his minds. With the audiences that his website and his vlog has, it give him power to influence people or other things and this kind of power is an important thing that come out for his online activities. Such influence can be seen when people see his article or his video and do the thing that he suggested. His voice also can give a better understanding on Korea, Seoul, and Korean people better based on his experience live as Korean-

American in Seoul. One thing that might give him credibility as social media personalities is the exposure of media towards his vlog and his website. Recently, he has been invited to be a part of an episode in BBC series. He also has been invited a couple times to appear in Koran English language station, such as EBS, TBS, and Arirang.

Although media exposure is important, he did not put media exposure as one of his goals.

As of today, it is his goal to keep the business run and make enough income to call it a self-sustaining business, he is now running the website full-time, just by himself. In long run, he hopes that he can branch out the website to other cities or other countries, sure with help of other people that know the cities better than him. For Keith Kim, he is not selling anything, he is a personality and what he offers is his idea and his personality.


5.5. QiRanger

Steve Miller is the motor behind QiRanger, two channels on YouTube that focus life and travel in Korea. Originally from Arizona, the United States, Miller has been using

YouTube as video sharing platform since 2007. His background in distance education made him use the internet as communication technology early back in the day. In 1994, he started using distributed e-mail list to distribute his teaching material. It was not until

2007 that he decided to move to YouTube and produced learning material in form of videos. Along the way, he also shared his opinion on things that happen in his life or in the world at that moment. When he moved to Korea in 2008, he continued his vlogging activities, with the material which was about his life in Korea.

It was not hard for Miller to turn what he encounters in Korea as his vlogs’ materials because he always has interest in history and culture, including little things that he found right on the street. This kind of material has been the source of Miller’s videos so far but he also branched out to other topic that has news values and relate to South

Korea. This one exception makes his channel different from other channel with content about Korea in YouTube. He has been talking about the political situation in the region, social issues in Korea, and many other things that can be classified as hard material for video blog. With this type of content, Steve and his videos have presented alternatives point of view in various cases that might be different from the report that public usually consumed from traditional media. Media has goal to reached as many viewers as possible, but for him, he just wanted to give his opinion on things.


In term of history and cultural products, with the popularity of Korean popular culture abroad, the awareness of Korea has been changed in international level. However, people still get confused and still have some miss understanding about Korea. This situation, as he believed, is the result of a poor job that the government do in promoting tourism and promoting Korea in general. The government does not aware of their market so that they do not imply specific promotion material that will give them the most effective outcome possible. He believed that video blog that published by social media personalities has advantage on promoting Korea because by seeing the person on the video viewers are able to develop relations in personal level and based on this relations people will choose the information from someone who they know rather than anonymous in the internet.

Sure that because of his involvement in YouTube, Miller has got so many media exposure, domestically and internationally. He was interviewed once by Australia media regarding the situation on Korean Peninsula. He hosted a segment at EBS Radio morning show and appeared on several television programs. He has been a writer for several publications. However, media exposure that he gets until today does not necessarily translated into more credibility. His vlogs open up the opportunity to be in media, not the other way around. He also argued that although he is one of the earliest YouTube Partners in 2008, monetary revenue is not something that drives him to make videos. For him, making videos is just for fun and shows people what interesting thing tht he encountered along the way in his daily live.


Because of the advantages that social media personalities have and their relationship with the viewers, Miller believed that the government should engage with social media personality to promote Korea in a better way. He had been a writer for

Korea blog for several years but with his schedule today he has to let go the position.

However, in building this relation between the government and social media personalities, the government should provide them with opportunity and technical support to create contents, especially video content. With personal relations that social media personalities have with general public and the knowledge on specific set of the audiences, it might be a more effective way to promote Korea.





Based on the case studies that have been presented on the previous chapter, there are several developments that can be seen from vlogging as it is being framed as a citizen diplomacy activity. From the development that happened before and after Gangnam Style, several pattern can be drawn and comparison can be made on the two conditions. One development is on the number of vloggers that make vlogs about South Korea. Over the years, the number of users in YouTube has growth and this condition creates domino’s effect with the number of content that has been uploaded to the website as well as variation of the contents. Moreover, there has been several foundational change on vlogging South Korea as citizen diplomacy activities. On the following part, those changes will be discussed by comparing the condition before and after Gangnam Style.

6.1. YouTube Partner Program: Invitational versus Open for


The first foundational evolution is the change of YouTube Partner Program. The program has been launched since December 10, 2007, to give opportunity for the users to gain revenue from their videos in YouTube. At first, YouTube use invitation as the way for the users to become partners. On 2007, YouTube slightly changed the program and


open the program wider to the public. In this stage, the program emphasized on the revenue as the program and the logic that YouTube had for the program was that with possibility of gaining income from YouTube, content creator can create more videos with high quality and had their activities on YouTube as one of the career option. Among the vloggers that have been discussed on the previous chapter, EYK and QiRanger are among the users on the first stage of the Partner Program. Interestingly, Hyunwoo Sun is the first

Korean that has been invited to YouTube Partner Program.

However, since April 10, 2012, almost five years since the launched of the program, YouTube changed the policy of the program. YouTube now separates monetization and creator development program. YouTube Partner Program today put more emphasize on creator development. To be part of the program, users can apply directly to the site. As for monetization, every users can earn revenues from their videos, even though they are not part of the Partner Program. Monetization can be activated if the users satisfy the requirements that YouTube bestowed upon the users and their contents.

But, to be a Partner and enjoy the creator development assistance that YouTube offered, users should be selected among the applicants to the program. Consequently, by open the monetization option, YouTube has opened the website to wider users that aspire to be content creators because now every content creators can get some monetary benefit from their creations. In the case of vlogging South Korea, beyond the five vloggers that has been discussed in the previous chapters, number of vloggers that making videos about

South Korea has been increased, as in observation of new users that appears on YouTube, although there is no statistical data for it.


In the context of citizen diplomacy, the change in YouTube Partner Program policy has supported the idea that diplomacy should be open for every actor and everyone should has the same opportunity to involve in the diplomatic activities. If YouTube sees that the monetization option is one of the reasons for users to create content, to have the option open for every user is a good move since it might give YouTube new contents and new creators for the site, since YouTube’s contents are entirely from their users. This is also support the argument that citizen diplomat should only serve their interest and when the interest is monetary interest, YouTube will be the option, in term of platform to be use, in citizen diplomacy action on social media. With these conditions, citizen diplomacy can be predicted to be increasing in number in the future, especially in YouTube as one of social media services that allow such action to be happened.

All of the cases studies that were presented in the previous section monetize their videos, although some of them argued that monetary gain is not the reason behind their activities in YouTube. However, YouTube has been given all of them some monetary incentive which is being viewed as support for YouTube for their effort in making videos.

This argument might come with the realization that YouTube is not the main income sources for all YouTube personalities. Besides uploading their videos in YouTube, they have their own website, which is also give them advertisement revenue, they sell their merchandise, or even they still have another job, whether it is a full time job or just parttime opportunities.


YouTube revenue comes from the advertisement that YouTube place in the webpage for certain videos. Content creators have rights to choose which video that they would like to monetize. In the other hand, viewers also can use advertisement blocker to get rid all of the advertisement that might be placed or played in certain videos. There are five types of advertisement that YouTube might place as sources for users’ revenue.

Those types are:

1. Display advertisement as a banners that appears on the right side of the feature videos;

2. Overlay in-videos ads as a transparent ads that appear in the lower part of the video;

3. In-stream ads as a video that can appear before, during, or after the video and can be skipped by the viewers;

4. In-display ads as an ads that appear alongside videos, or on website that match the audience;

5. Non-skip in-stream ads as a video that appear before or during the video and cannot be skipped, or after the video in post-roll slot.



YouTube Advertising Formats, Retrieved from https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2467968?hl=en

(accessed May 2, 2014)


Figure 2. YouTube’s In-Display Pre-Roll Advertisement

Figure 3. YouTube’s Overlay In-Video and Display Advertisement


6.2. Attractiveness: Platform versus Source of Content

What does attract people to invest such time to create videos and upload them on

YouTube? The answer can be different, depend on when people start use the service that

YouTube offers them. For early adapter, people who use YouTube before it become popular and part of almost everybody everyday life, it is YouTube as video sharing platform that attract them to create contents. On the early YouTube days, YouTube

Partner Program was more exclusive that only the creators that YouTube found worth watching would be offered to be part of it. YouTube had not been the website as it is today. The early adapters of YouTube used the service solely because YouTube is a distribution platform, one of the newest ways to communicate with each other, and its service in keeping archive digitally. YouTube on the earlier days embedded attractiveness that it projected to the users of internet. Because of the attractiveness, people started to use YouTube, uploaded content to the site, end engaged in conversations.

Service that YouTube provide for its users as videos sharing social media is one of the reasons for individuals to create video blogs. The core service of YouTube as social media is as a platform for user generated contents in form of videos. The popularity and the existence of YouTube as a website is heavily depend on its users and content that being created by them. Without the users, YouTube will lose its prominent position as one of the most visited website in the world because users are the source of their content.

In the same way, without YouTube the users will lose the medium to share their original content. YouTube was designed as simple as possible so that every user, from somebody


that have high awareness of social media and know the technicality of the web to amateur users that want to share their home videos, can use the website as efficient as possible, without worry much about technical side of the web. Without YouTube as video sharing platform, users need to have certain degree of technical knowledge to build their own video sharing platform. From the case studies, all of the cases have their own website, but still use YouTube as their video platform. It might happen because it is different to build a website, which everybody can do it as simple as register to one of blog service provider, and to build a video sharing platform.

As a distribution platform, YouTube has three functions that attract vloggers to use YouTube’s service. The first function is YouTube as a communication service. This function is best illustrated by Stawskis decision to use YouTube as communication service to show their living condition in South Korea for their families in Canada. This function also is being used by Miller, in his early days using the service, when he used

YouTube as distribution platform for his teaching material in distance learning programs.

The second function is YouTube as a platform to attract traffic or to create viral phenomenon. Video has viral quality rather than text as blog entries. With the number or user that has already joined the website and YouTube popularity as social media, certain contents have potential to be watched by large number of people. This is also the function that has been used by Kim by integrating video blog on his text-based website. If someone watches Seoulistic’s video from YouTube and looking for more information,


Kim has already provided link that goes directly to the website. EYK also apply the same strategy by encouraging their viewers to see more elaborate blog post on their website.

Figure 4. YouTube’s Section with Other Website Links

Figure 5. YouTube’s Viral Statistics


The third function is YouTube as a platform to build personal relation or to build community based on shared interest among users. Personal relation has been argued to be more effective way to relay information rather than the information being carried by anonymous sources. Personal relation also has their edge comparing to institution in communicate something, thus personal encounter in diplomacy is important and has been a supporting part to the whole practice of diplomacy. With vlogs as their medium,

YouTube personalities have built meaningful relations with their audiences, one of them through YouTube’s comment section. Miller explained how he still in touch with his viewers from a couple years ago and met them in several occasions. HB saw the lack of

Korean drama community in YouTube and became one of the prominent vloggers on the topic today. Perhaps, the most inspiring story comes from EYK when they did fundraising for their studio and allowing the viewers to be part of their activities.

Figure 6. YouTube’s Comment Section


With the service that YouTube can provide and some functions that the users can use on their channel, including comment section, put another link to external source, sharing button, and other, YouTube has been a website that easy to use, accommodate their users with their need, and also free. There is no fee to use the service, whether as viewers or as content creators. In fact, YouTube can give monetary benefit for the creators through YouTube Partner Program, which is the second reason that will be explained on the following section.

YouTube has been evolved over years and today it is the content that attracts people to use YouTube as social media. It is also the thing that attracts content creators to create their own content and publish it on YouTube. Moreover, the environment and cultural products that content creators encounter in their everyday life might also attract them to use YouTube in the first place. This is the condition that attracts most of the content creators today. Cultural products and the life in general have attractiveness within themselves and it has been proved that because of their attractiveness contents have been made and published on YouTube.

In the context of vlogging South Korea, those evolution of attractiveness also happened on the content creators’ side of the story. Before the Gangnam Style era, it is because of YouTube as the social media that attract people to create contents, but in the recent time it is the attractiveness of the source of the content that make content creators create vlogs and put it up on YouTube. This change has pointed out the argument that

YouTube in citizen diplomacy serve as the medium to raise issues or information that


matters to the viewers and citizen diplomacy operates because people really want to create images of South Korea based on its attractiveness.

The things that might be a negative point with this foundation of the evolution is the fact that citizen diplomacy of South Korea might be loose its hype when cultural products of South Korea has declined its attractiveness for the public. With citizen diplomacy emerges solely as a choice of action of individuals, if there is no attractiveness from issues, countries, or culture that can be the source of diplomacy action, citizen diplomacy can be vanished as a diplomatic practice. This condition has been pointed out, in a different way, with the recent survey of Soft Power, that South Korea’s position has been declined when the hype of Gangnam Style slowly but surely declined. However, because citizen diplomacy is not just depend on Gangnam Style as the cultural products that has attractiveness and South Korea’s cultural products still attract wide audiences, people still use it as the source of their citizen diplomacy action.

Based on the case studies that have been presented, the vlogs ,that being produced by five social media personalities in YouTube, use cultural material that happen to be South Korea’s culture. The reasons in using the culture as vlog material are because of the access that they have to the sources, the attractiveness that the cultural material have, their own personal interest towards the cultural material, and their interest to share the cultural material with other people. The other thing that can be cited as the reason to use cultural material as video content is because there is a demand from the


viewers for this type of video. When the whole operation lies on user generated content, user in this context can be on the viewers end or on the creators end.

Table 4. Cultural Resources for Vlogs


Eat Your Kimchi

Cultural Resources for Videos

Korean popular music, Korean food, tourism destination, life in Korea

Talk to Me in Korean Korean language, life in Korea (to serve context in learning language)

Hallyu Back



Korean drama, life in Korea

Tourism destination, life in Korea

History, life in Korea, tourism destination

From the table above, every vloggers have their own niche of cultural resources that they use for their vlogs. This is because everybody has their own interest, everybody has their own targeted audiences, everybody has their own goal that they want to achieve with their videos, and everybody has different level of knowledge on Korean culture. The only cultural resource that every vloggers use on their videos is about life in Korea, including know-how, values, tradition, and other daily thing related with living in Korea. They all can speak on that topic because they are living in Korea right now, so that the videos are based on their first-hand experience in Korea. Off course every vloggers will pick the part of life in Korea that fit most with their audience, hence every vloggers presented different aspect of living in Korea on their videos.


6.3. User Generated Content: Wide Variation versus Specific


As a social media site, YouTube depends its existence, in term of contents that exist on the website, on user generated contents. UGCs are contents that being created the users and the contents are aimed to bring conversation among users based on the contents that are available. Without UGC, social media like YouTube will lose its competitive advantage and users might move to other social media services that offer the same type of services. In this situation, if YouTube cannot keep the users to create contents, viewers will seeks content to website like Vimeo for their videos and the domino effects of this is content creators that choose Vimeo rather than YouTube as distribution platform.

Because UGCs are user-based, YouTube cannot favor a theme or topic over the other themes or topics to be the contents on their service. What YouTube as the platform provider can do is to put guidelines on ethical and technical boundaries within reasons that will support users’ activities. On that note, YouTube Community Guidelines mostly dealt with the issue of copyrights of the material, use of background music, anti pornography and violence conduct, and other technical and ethical limitation that users should not cross. Besides that, users have freedom to do what kind of contents that suitable for them and for their target audiences. The result has been marvelous and videos on YouTube are varied from music, comedy, vlogs, infomercials, tutorial, and others.

In the context of vlogging South Korea and the contents that being produced as the medium of citizen diplomacy, a trend can be pull out as generalization. Before


Gangnam Style, vloggers that produce vlogs about South Korea tend to create wider variety of contents that relate to South Korea. It can vary from Korean music, Korean values, Korean food, etc. At first, they did not identify themselves as the specialist of certain type of contents, with the expectation of TTMIK, which can be argued as the business effort of its founder rather that his personal channel. Although at the development users that start before Gangnam Style

now being identify as vloggers of specific contents, for example EYK as K-Pop vloggers, those stereotype were being created after Gangnam Style period.

However, vloggers that started their activities within the timeframe of the launch of Gangnam Styke tended to be specific on their contents. The logical explanation of this situation is because after Gangnam Style, there is realization that viewers are belong to certain community that like certain part of South Korea’s cultural product and by being specific it will drive more viewers to stick with them because they can create conversation on the specific theme that they all know beforehand. Example on that are

Seoulistic and Hallyu Back. Seoulistic specifically creates contents that will serve as preliminary introduction to Seoul because initially the founder wants his vlogs as introductory channel to Seoul. Hallyu Back on the other side creates content about

Korean drama because they see potential community on that topic that has not been explore more on YouTube.



This study has analyzed two important points regarding citizen diplomacy and social media. The first point is on how citizen diplomacy in social media evolve, in the case of vlogging South Korea on YouTube. The second point is the reason behind individuals’ diplomatic action in social media. For doing the analysis, this study focused on five YouTube personalities that create vlogs about South Korea. To get the finding, this study used grounded theory as methodology by finding pattern, similarities, and supporting arguments from various sources such as interviews, videos, and articles in various media.

Based on the analysis, this study finds that vlogging as citizen diplomacy has been evolved throughout the years, by looking on the changes that happened in five case studies that can represent the phenomenon, with the timeframe of pre and post Gangnam

Style. Gangnam Style has been chosen as the critical point on the evolution because there was an increasing awareness of international public towards South Korea that has been generated by the video and it has been argued that the video’s popularity drive the attractiveness of South Korea. Besides the obvious change in number of vloggers that create content on South Korea, which is increasing throughout the years, there are several differences that can be explained on the evolution. Pre Gangnam Style, vlogging South

Korea was being drive by the exclusivity of YouTube Partner Program, the attractiveness of YouTube as distribution platform, and wide variation of South Korea related content


that being pursue by users. After Gangnam Style, vlogging South Korea is being drive by the ability to monetize videos on YouTube, the attractiveness of South Korea and its cultural product, and specific theme or cultural part that being the sources of the videos.

This study is not completely without flaws. This study has only been focused on

South Korea, as the context of the study. Because of that, the result might be only reflected the condition of citizen diplomacy with the topic of South Korea. Moreover, this study also only focused on YouTube as the platform for vlogs. The rapid development of social media offer the public various types of social media and every one of them has potential to be the platform of citizen diplomacy. Further study with variation of context and platform should be in the agenda of the scholar of diplomacy.

Nevertheless, this study will argue and close on the note that this study is still significant and impactful in building the foundation of citizen diplomacy and explaining the reasons behind such actions. The working definition of citizen diplomacy that this study provided might be one of the new definitions that can be used in the future study of diplomacy. This study is an effort to add new valuable understanding in the existing discussion of citizen diplomacy and based on the result this study has been doing so.



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본 논문은 한국에서 특정 콘텐츠를 가지고 동영상 블로깅 활동을 하는 유투브

인사들의 사례를 분석하여 소셜미디어를 통한 시민외교의 등장을 살피고자 한다.

본 연구는 동영상 블로깅의 발전은 시민외교가 하나의 외교 관행으로써 이해됨과

동시에, 소셜미디어의 조건과 한국의 문화적 자원을 모두 적극 활용함으로써

가능했다는 것을 밝힌다. 이를 위해 본 연구는 기초이론, 심층인터뷰, 대중매체

기사와 관련 출판자료 등 다양한 연구자료를 활용한다.

수집 자료에 근거, 본 논문은 한국의 동영상 블로깅에 세 가지 주요 발전이

있음을 확인할 수 있었다. 무엇보다 이러한 세 가지 발전을 분류하고 설명하는 데

있어 결정적 계기가 되는 유튜브와 한국 문화 역사상의 특정 한 시점을 이해하는

것이 중요하다. 이 때, 세 가지 분류는 유튜브 파트너 프로그램의 본질 및

프로그램의 장기적인 변화 양상, 동영상 블로거의 활동을 촉진하는 프로그램의

매력, 그리고 블로거의 사용자 생성 콘텐츠의 종류를 포함한다. 본 연구는 이러한

발전 양상과 시민외교의 정의를 고려, 동영상 블로깅이 시민외교의 한 축에

해당한다는 것을 밝히고자 한다. 나아가 본 연구는 시민외교의 의미를

재조명하고 이에 대한 이해를 도움으로써 학자와 외교 실무자 및 일반대중에

함의하는 바가 클 것으로 기대된다.

키워드: 시민외교, 소셜미디어, 대한민국, 동영상 블로깅, 유튜브.

학번: 2012-24098




“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

There are many days and nights that I spend asking the question to myself, whether my thoughts on this thesis and this topic are simply imaginations.

“Bit by bit, putting it together. Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art. Every moment makes a contribution. Having just a vision’s no solution, everything depends on execution: putting it together! That’s what counts!”

Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together from Sunday in the Park with George

And I would like to express my highest adoration to those who has been support me during the entire process of writing.

This is for my mother, my father and my brothers, who support my decision to leave my country, in the name of education. For every phone calls to keep me sane when I am away from home. For every prayers, for every thoughts. Look Mom, I am “Finishing a hat.

Starting on a hat. Finishing a hat. Look, I made a hat. Where there never was a hat.”

(Stephen Sondheim’s Finishing the Hat from Sunday in the Park with George)

For my adviser, Prof. Geun Lee, to keep me inspire with his wisdom and believe in my journey. Also for Prof. Seong-Ho Sheen and Prof. Taekyoon Kim, to give their valuable input during the conception of this thesis.

For my colleagues in GSIS. Thank you for an incredible adventure in graduate school.

Thank you to share your knowledge, friendship, and support. Until the day we will meet again.

At last, to every social media enthusiast, people out there who just like me. Thank you for inspiring me and to change the world, one tweet/vlog/blogspost/status/reblog at a time.

This has been a journey, not only academically but also personally.

This is not the end, this is not the start, and this is a process. But look, I made a hat!



Appendix: Interviews Result


YouTube as social media and innovation of information and communication technology

Change in diplomacy: actor, technique, and goal

Seoulistic HallyuBack

YouTube is a powerful social networking tool and search engine.

Combination of text based blog post and vlog will boost SEO. Social media allow interaction with viewers. Social media allow collaboration with other content creators.

Doing better job than government because of his creativity, knowledge on audiences,

YouTube can be platform for personal interest.

Through social media, people with same interest can interact with each other’s and build a community based on it. YouTube help the spread of

Korean popular culture, especially


They have more significance online presence comparing to government.



YouTube has transform the way communication it is, including the way internet works

Give more honest description on the country. Give more information.

Aware of audiences. Better

Eat Your Kimchi

Alternative communication tool. Archiving tool. Viral quality of YouTube video, easy to share.

Give positive mindset of Korea.

Based on personal experience. Put personalities into information.

Talk to Me in


Archiving tool.

YouTube is an attractive social media.

Promote learning new language, especially Korean.

More honest content. Structural problem of


Soft power of

South Korea

knowledge on internet, and attractiveness of products that he offers. The website and vlogs become introductory to

Korea. Audiences will relate more to his vlogs rather than government’s website because of personality factor.

His contents are more realistic and honest.

Attractive content will attract more viewers. Sources for attraction including Korean culture and way of life. K-Pop and K-

Dramas have opened the way for audiences to know Korea. His

Popularity of

Korean popular culture has reach out overseas audience. Korean drama has become an effective tool to promote Korea. marketing and PR.

Culture and historical aspect as main source for the vlog.

Although, he is branching out to new venture that mostly deal with hard news. One of vlogger about

Korea that

Focus on Korean popular culture and know-how about life in Korea government v. freedom of individuals.

Personalities make audience engage with the content.

Foreign personalities that create content about Korea help awareness of

Korea for global citizen.

Language (based on their knowhow) and to give people new understanding of the language.

Avoid sensitive issue, including politics because the view will bias.


Personal reasons

attempt to give understanding, not sure on preferences.

Politics and economics is not for internet audiences' consumption (or at least for his main demographic.

Building business based on his current vlogging activities,

Seoulistic, and has his website expand in other countries.

Full time job as web entrepreneur.

Exposure with media and other opportunities.

Open up other opportunities, including appearance in mainstream media.

Revenue from

YouTube partner being viewed as support from

YouTube for their effort, but it does not mean money is the goal. consistently talks about politics in the region.

Relation with viewers. Other ventures (media appearances, new podcast). Material gain is not the goal.

Full time job.

Other ventures

(studio, café).

Revenue from


Income as nice side money. Other new ventures


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