Digital War of South Korean Netizens in New York City: From Tweets to a Billboard Advertisement, and an Alt-Right Online Community

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Author: Hojeong Lee, Temple University, USA
Email: tuc70018@temple.edu
Published: August 01, 2019
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.6.1.01

Citation: Lee, H. (2019). Digital War of South Korean Netizens in New York City: From Tweets to a Billboard Advertisement, and an Alt-Right Online Community. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.6.1.01


Abstract

This study explores how people share their political perspectives within online communities, construct online discourses on social and political issues in digital spaces, and finally utilize offline venues to grow their base of supporters as a form of social movement. The researcher examines the events related to a series of birthday wish ads for the South Korean president in Times Square in 2018 and the responses of Ilbe, an alt-right online community, to the occasion. I use three lines of inquiry: 1) How did the Ilbe online community users facilitate online discussions in order to lead to offline social action? 2) Why did the Ilbe members create the advertisement in Times Square? and 3) What are the implications of the billboard within political and social contexts?

By closely examining the recent digital confrontation among different online groups in South Korea, this project yields insights into understanding the current social movements based on digital media, and in particular, an alt-right group. The findings of this research demonstrate how social action can be mobilized based on online communication, and how faithfully the Ilbe community performs its role as a representative alt-right community of South Korea during the political turmoil. Finally, the current study articulates the relations between the digital world and physical space.

Keywords

alt-right community, social movement, Ilbe Storehouse, public space, online ethnography, digital medi