As part of my TBS eFM appearances on 1013 Mainstreet, next week I’m going to talk about Social Media and how they can be useful popularizing Korean literature, but I think I’ve already seen on effect – that is that twitter and facebook (and I’m sure other media) get the news about awards out so fast that the effect is immediate.
I knew the Man Asia Literary Prize was being given at 9 last night (our time) but managed to forget it by the time it came around. Fortunately, the dreaded ‘reverse-insomnia’ woke me up at 4 and I checked it out. Shin Kyung-sook had won.
I immediately clicked over to Amazon to see where her book was ranked (the ranking is not a precise measurement of sales, but it does attempt to quantify how popular a book is). Then, as the day passed, I followed the numbers for the upcoming softcover publication. The impact was obvious:
- 19,700 at 5 am
- 9,085 at 8 am
- 7,047 at 10:30 am
- 6,590 at 12 noon
- 8,151 11 pm same day
- 8,485 Saturday at 11:30
- 5,938 1:30 Sunday
- 16,009 Monday about noon
The real impact is likely greater, since by the time I checked on the numbers, the news of the award had been circulating the globe for nearly 8 hours and it seems quite likely that Mother’s numbers had been trending upward for that entire period. Still, it’s a massive leap.
Also, coverage of Shin and Korean literature increased. Google reports that in comparable three-day periods (Friday to Monday the week before the award, and Friday to Monday just after the award), internet mentions of Korean Literature increased 17% and mentions of Shin skyrocketed 450%.
Also, although I shudder to say it aloud, any Korean literature getting this kind of award recognition is likely also a small step towards Korean literature in general being considered estimable enough for Nobel Prize consideration.