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Let’s begin with what idols are and who they are…

The term “idol” is often used in Asia to refer to famous people who have a large number of people who are admired and loved, not just limited to traditional celebrities. This includes normal people who are popular through social media and online platforms such as dancers and influencers as well as traditional celebrities such as actors and singers. Asian idols are likely to be seen as role models for their fans and can have an impact on popular culture, trends, and audience behavior.

Blackpink, EXO, Red Velvet, and BTS are K-pop groups that are not just popular in Asia but are well-known all over the world. They are significantly considered idols, These groups have numerous fans around the world and have a significant impact on popular culture, trends, and audience behaviors. Their performance, fashion, dancing, and overall image have a massive influence on their fans, especially teenagers. They are also known for their amazing performances and choreography.

How social media is essential to the idol  industry

Social media and fan groups have become crucial to the success of idol stars in the modern era. Social media allows for rapid and widespread communication with fans all over the world, giving idols the capacity to reach a broader audience and gain popularity across the globe. Fan groups, in particular, play an essential role in promoting idols and generating support for them through social media. As the recent paragraph mentioned, the support of these groups can also help the idol meet the financial goals, both in terms of direct support and sponsorship. It’s clear that social media and fan groups have revolutionized the idol industry and will continue to shape the future of this industry in the future.

The negative effect of social media

As the first point already mentioned about how social media is vital to the idol industry, this topic will be speaking about how social media can dramatically ruin idol stars’ career paths individually. Social media can have a negative impact on an idol’s career if they are caught in controversy. Moreover, rumors can spread swiftly on social media, and once the damage has happened, it can be difficult to rechange it. The public’s perception of an idol is crucial to their success, and if the perception is destroyed, it can lead to a significant decrease in their popularity and income. Companies may also be hesitant to work with an idol who has a bad image, as it also brings a bad image to their brand too. It’s important for idols to be concerned about their behavior and actions on social media, as well as in their personal lives, in order to prevent future controversies.

An example of an idol that got banned and got fired from being an idol is a k-pop idol called “Kim Garam” who got rumors about bullying in her past high school life. Unfortunately, the rumors have spread all over social media, especially Twitter.  Even Though the fake news has been denied by her company and has released evidence, she still has already been removed from a k-pop girl group called “ Le sera film”. These cases highlighted how essential social media is to the Idol industry.

It is important to note, however, that allegations should be investigated, but false accusations can also harm an individual’s reputation and it can cause innocent idols a loss in their career.

Four main reasons that contribute to defaming idol career

1). soft power 

Soft power, which is a tool that is used to influence and attract audiences, can also be used as a tool to defame idol stars. This can occur in many ways. For example, a government or media user may use soft power to spread rumors or fake news about an idol to defame their reputation or career. Similarly, social media can be used to spread false information about an idol or to create hate and negativity toward them.

In addition, movies, songs, and other forms of media can also change how the public thinks about idol stars. If a movie or TV show portrays bullying or other inappropriate action, audiences may become more sensitive to those issues and may start to speak up or investigate whether any idols have been involved in such behavior in the past or not. If rumors turn out to be real, this can lead to anti-fans and a decline in support for the idol. However, soft power can also be used in positive ways to promote and support idol stars. For example, a viral movie or TV show featuring an idol can increase their popularity and positive image among audiences. Social media can also be used to spread positive messages and promote idols. To illustrate, the impact of soft power on idols can be both positive and negative for the Idol career path.

A boylove actor called “ Ohm Pawat” is one of the actors/idols who got accused of school violence and bullying his autistic friend. It started with the victim’s old friend who Watched the series and was into it, so he spoke up about how his old friend got bullied by the actor and the tweet was talked about non-stop by the people. Consequently, Ohm Pawat’s fans have decreased, and financial loss.

2).  Digital footprint affects the idol’s reputation. 

A digital footprint can contribute to an idol’s bad reputation. In modern days, social media, everything an idol says or does online can be easily captured and shared, even if it was deliberated to be private. This can include inappropriate or offensive comments, photos or videos, or even past interactions with people who may have negative opinions about the idol. Once these things are out in the public eye, they can quickly spread and lead to a decrease in support and a bad reputation for the idol. Additionally, even if an idol attempts to delete or hide the unwanted content, it can still reappear through screenshots or savings…

“Bilkin Putthipong” a Thai actor is one of the idols who got unfolded about his past digital footprint that he inappropriately commenting his classmates’ posts on Facebook, which people assume the comment was bullying and harassing his classmates. In addition, he was accused for discrimination towards the LGTBQ+ community. 

Positively, the actor took action seriously and apologized to his fans by posting his words in his Instagram story.

3). Echo chambers can ruin an Idol’s career. 

Echo chambers can play a role in the downfall of an idol’s career by intensifying negative rumors or false information. An echo chamber is a behavior in which people are only interested in information or opinions that they are already satisfied to receive. On social media, this can happen when fan groups only follow accounts that promote and support their favorite idol while ignoring any criticism or negative information. If a negative rumor or false information is spread within an echo chamber, it can quickly gain attraction and become widely believed within that community. This can lead to a significant backlash against the idol, which can result in loss of support, decreased engagement, and even boycotts.

One example of an idol whose career was negatively impacted by an echo chamber is a K-pop star “Mina” from the girl group TWICE. Mina was accused of “attention-seeking” behavior and “fake illness” by some fans on social media. These rumors were loudened within certain echo chambers, which led to a significant backlash against Mina, and even calls for her to leave the group. Eventually, Mina did take a hiatus from the group due to mental health concerns, but the false rumors and backlash she faced undoubtedly had a negative impact on her career.

4). Cyberbullying creates a long-term effect on the idol.

Cyberbullying is an action of using electronic communication technologies to Threaten, humiliate and harass others. Because an idol is a public person, they get bullied in many ways through social media, for instance receiving offensive comments, people spreading bad rumors or texting threatening messages. The action does not only negatively affect an idol professionally, it also affects the idol mentally. To illustrate, bullying leads to negative publicity in an idol, it can cause the idol to decline in their reputation and public image. Moreover, it can contribute to losing opportunities in the long run. Next is the mental effect on the idol, bullying can cause emotional distress, such as depression, anxiety and loss of confidence. As a result of impact on mental health, it may have an impact in their ability to perform which leads to the decline in their career. 

An idol named “Sulli” highlighted how cyberbullying not only ruined idole careers, but it even demolished idol life. Sulli was found in house and was suspected suicide. It was revealed that Sulli’s death was caused by cyberbullying because she had been repeatedly asked by her agency , SM entertainment, to take action toward people who bullied her.  Moreover, she had talked about how cyberbullying causes her depression. 

How can we prevent ruining innocent idol career paths?

It can be done by checking the accuracy of the information before sharing it online whether the content is trustworthy or not. This can be done by checking the reputation of the resource. Furthermore, after we found an incredible resource, we should encourage other audiences to consume news from the resource that we found reliable such as Idol’s official. Moreover, nowadays everybody can easily insert any information they desire to share, which can be both opinion and fact. This is why we should have judgment and meticulously consume social media information. On the other hand, to prevent echo chambers, we should not rely on one resource. This is because the information can be deliberately written with a bias. So, we should follow the diversity of people’s perspectives and a variety of different resources before believing the information. Lastly, we should be mindful of our actions on the internet. To clarify, if we are not cautious enough and spread fake information or use offensive comments toward the Idol. Negatively, not only the innocent idol will be hurt but also their fans.

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