Using Social Media (ALL of it) to promote Korean Literature: Part IV Additional Perspectives

Social Media: Big Bang Theory

Social Media: Big Bang Theory

NOTE: KTLIT received a long and well thought-out comment from Philip Gowman of London Korea Links, which suggested several other social media strategies which should be considered in the process of popularizing Korean translated literature. I have promoted that comment, here, to a post, and the sections in italics represent my responses to Philip’s thoughts.

1 I think one area which needs looking at is getting the message out into the mainstream. Blog aggregation or magazine style sites are good for that. Mainstream readers might come across a more specialist literature article somewhere like 10 or Nanoomi and follow up for more. (Having said which, I was originally turned off blog aggregation sites because I couldn’t see any evidence of editorial / quality control)

Aggregation (and curation, which I will talk about under your second point) is certainly a useful tool if controlled properly. It does widely disseminate posts, which is good. On the other hand, it can also be quite damaging to a site’s branding effort, which has several related consequences:

  • Lack of copyright enforcement makes it more difficult to justify investing in developing quality content with a hope of return (financial, or of other kinds)
  • Damaged Branding (You don’t get credit for what you write)
  • Degradation of your search value (i.e. you drop in the rankings when super-popular aggregators jump above you for searches of your own material)

This initially seem selfish concerns, but they also get to popularization. A reader who finds one of my posts on an aggregator will find it tucked in with many other posts which may or may not be relevant. A person who finds my posts on KTLIT also finds (I hope) a narrow but information-rich channel, which they can mine for additional relevant material about Korean translated literature. The same, of course, is true if they hit your site. A great article about these concerns can be found here. Then, there is also the quality issue that you raise.

So, yes to aggregation, but you have to be quite sure that there are some reins on the thing, or it can actually turn against your site, and by doing so, actually harm the popularization of your message.

2 Getting your content in more than one place has got to be a good idea. Even your most avid followers are sadly unlikely to read every one of your articles when you write them. I confess that I tend to visit you when I see one of your tweets. And unfortunately tweets from quality twitterers such as your good self ^^ soon get buried in the deluge of dross that is churned out by the pop culture sites which I follow because one tweet in a hundred is worth following up on. So getting your content retweeted and republished by blog aggregators is likely to get you more page views.

Your main point is good, while the comments I made above, apply here also. This is why I prefer curated sites if I can get them. You mention Nanoomi, which is an example of such a site. Your point about twitter is accurate (I think I made it, also, in my first post) which is why it is important to use twitter as part of a larger strategy (I also use Facebook, Google+ and good-old-fashioned email) AND have good re-tweeting relationships with other important tweeps.

3 Hate to sound geeky, but SEO is important. Wikipedia is good for that, as is a good WordPress site, but too many Korea-based sites aren’t outward-looking enough.

Absolutely. And you mention two of the best places. I use All In One SEO Pack in WordPress and it is fantastic! And SEO also needs Korea-based sites to use English, if they wish for English-language readers to see their content.^^

4 Competitions like the KLTI essay contests are a good way of getting out the message to a non-specialist audience. Hopefully competitors then blog about it (though strangely in the past the KLTI has been sniffy about letting the winners blog their winning entries)

Unqualified yes, again. This kind of thing heats up the masses.

5 A follow-on from 4 and 1: non-specialist sites should also be regarded as a way of getting the message out if their interest can be caught once in a while. For example I found out about the Seopyeonje translation from browsing the Korean Class Massive. And there’s always my own literature in translation channel ^^

This is also a good point, and one thing that pops to mind immediately here is cross-posting, which has worked well for KTLIT in the past, and I should probably look into doing again. I’m sure there are other linkages as well.

I think everything you have mentioned are good points, but what I’m seeing right now is an institutional inability for this to get done. There is no playbook (though maybe we are developing one now?), there is no centralization, and there is no management. This is not just at the higher levels, but it is also true within the component organizations which add up to the Korean literature translation machine (if that is not too grand a name for it^^) Until the kind of discussion we are having here becomes general and internalized knowledge in that ‘machine’ I think it is hamstringing itself..

2 thoughts on “Using Social Media (ALL of it) to promote Korean Literature: Part IV Additional Perspectives

  1. If Korean lit is to take off in translation, I think that it is indispensable that there be a constant source of fresh and interesting material that is readily available.

    If the ROK government is truly interested in global interest in ROK literature, it surely must emulate something like this:

    Japanese magazine.

    Without a ready and interesting source of quality translations of quality literature, publishers and others will have no regular and predictable place to go.

    One cannot expect publishers to scour the world looking for Korean lit.

    They need to be spoon fed, given that Korean lit is essentially unknown.

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