Monday, September 7, 2009

A question for K-bloggers: Is it time to organize?

Here's my personal question for you.

How many K-Bloggers are Seoul-based?

After reading a few good posts on community organizing (Chris and Rob), I got to thinking about the blogging community and how many big K-Bloggers are in Seoul. It seems that there are a lot of calls to organize, but nothing ever materializes. I figured the easiest way to get the ball rolling was to organize ourselves first. Of course, I'd like the entire K-blogging community to get involved, but focusing on Seoul-based bloggers is a little less daunting for now. Think Netroots Nation, but only in Korea.

What do you think? It seems like a good place to start, no?


ZenKimchi said...

::raising hand::

Count me in.

Chris in South Korea said...

I'm in - and yes, a community made up of K-bloggers or a core of K-bloggers certainly is one that's needed.

I liked some of the concepts on the Netroots Nation - and was amazed to see the variety that just the speakers have (not to mention the attendees as well). We in the K-blogging community have many of the same varied interests and efforts - Brian and the Korea Beat with news, Joe / Zen with food, Ask the Expat with advice, myself (humbly) with travel, Rob with opinion, Mr. Grand Narrative himself (who needs no introduction), Gord Sellar, and on and on. There's perhaps 25-30 of us in Seoul alone (and unfortunately, no, I don't know who of the above is in Seoul).

I know everyone has busy schedules, personal lives, and the like - but meeting up on a Sunday for lunch (think Day of the Duck, as the Hub of Sparkle did not too long ago) could be a wonderful event.

As for helping out the new expats among us, one step is linking up with them. They're not yet on the radar, so to speak; if they do read, they sometimes feel intimidated to comment thanks to their newness, and register only as a few hits on Alexa.

In short: I like the idea, and I'm in. What would we like? An online community, a offline community, a weekly / biweekly get-together time?

The Expat said...

An online community is what we essentially have now. We need more than that. I think a Saturday or Sunday blogger gathering would be excellent and that needs to be the first thing we do. Time and place need to be nailed down, but first we need to spread the word.

JIW said...

Yes but I don't live in Seoul. And I would like to get organized but without alcohol. I don't enjoy the bar scene.

I think we should be organized and represent ourselves as proper people...not some post fraturnity party thing.

JIW said...

We can get together but maybe give back to the Korean community some how.

What would make it a community minded meet up?? What would we share besides drinks and a few people talking?

Did we all not graduate with a certain skill from college? I have an art degree and knowledge of Korean art.

In the end though i do have the REAL version of monopoly hehe.

The Expat said...

I agree that drinking should not be in the mix. The first gathering should be a meet-and-greet of course, but the point is not socializing. We are all adults and don't need to waste time.

There needs to be different focuses: community service, professional development, speakers/speeches, public events and all sorts of other positive things that will help strengthen our community as well as improve our image.

It's up to us.

ZenKimchi said...

I generally consider being in the comforting arms of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway system as "being in Seoul."

You know, why not meet at someone's home? I've learned from my little time with ATEK that trying to find a noise free/distraction free meeting venue is difficult.

The Expat said...

You know, that's not a bad idea, but I wonder if finding a house large enough to house X number of people will be easy.

Jacob said...

Just Seoul for now then, eh?

Well, Brian and I will have to meet up at the bus station in Gwangju and just organize ourselves.

That shouldn't be to hard for us. :P

Chris in South Korea said...

Agree with Zen - venues are tough. Houses are (probably) too small if more than 10 are able to make it. There ARE metric tons of parks around - however. Plenty of open air and space around someplace fairly central like Yeouido Park. Itaewon is also pretty central FWIW, and if whatever we get into requires people being close that would be ideal.

I like Foreigner/Joy's idea - we're all college graduates, right? I was a Marketing / Business degree :) And I am SO taking you on in the REAL Monopoly =)

So what skills / services can be offered to either Korean passers-by or in a given area? Alternatively, what's not being covered right now? Korean conversation groups are aplenty, professional development is pretty well-covered by KOTESOL... That leaves some form of community service, flash mobs, etc. At the risk of helping to form a community based on a Pixar movie - 'find a need, fill a need' of Robots fame does seem to fit.

JIW said...

Hi! hehe There is a great quiet cafe in Samcheondong that I know of.

But in my idealist thinking I thought that it would be great if we could somehow rent out a space and have an actual community center that people can drop in and out of. Ah well that is a tough one because of legality and money.

But I am glad to hear people's minds thinking about this. I hope it is the start of something great.

JIW said...

As for community outreach..we can open the group to Koreans and just do what we plan on doing together but involve them at the same time. To exchange everything I guess.....well not EVERYthing ;) haha

JIW said...

We could rent a large roomed love hotel. Or room... I hear there are places like this when Koreans want to get together drink and play a party room or something. hmm of course I wouldn't want to hang out in a creepy love hotell...something meant for gathering is nicer.

ZenKimchi said...

I can fit ten in my house, but it's in Anyang. I just remembered that there's a nice little courtyard behind Tomatillo, where they had the Cinco de Mayo party.

Should we move this conversation to Facebook? Expat, friend me. :)

Alex said...

I'm in the greater Seoul area and would like to take part in all of this, but I don't know if I'm considered a "big K-blogger". Can I still tag along for the ride?

The Expat said...



Joy & Chris: I'm liking all the ideas and I think we can build on it.



Roboseyo said...

Alex: If we only allow the "big" K-bloggers (whatever that means), it's kind of antithetical to the idea of forming a community. Even if it's a small group on the ground-level, it'd be good to get whatever help we can get.

Roboseyo said...

By the way: I think that one good way to get things rolling is to set a regular time (and maybe place) for these, so that even if I haven't read the post at whomever's blog, I know where and when to show up. Kind of like the Algonquin Round Table, or something. That'll make it more sustainable than reinventing the wheel for every sparkledown.

Charles Montgomery said...

I'm raising my hand also - I will almost certainly be around a few more years and my interest in Korean and its literature began long before I got here...

Is there a facebook group yet?

Perhaps more contentious - shouldn't some person (perhaps the originator of this idea, perhaps not) step up to be pro tem organizer.

And, man, Joy is gonna forbid Love Motels and booze?

I'm outta here! ;-)

Looking forward to see what we might come up with...

Brian said...

Yes, Jacob and I should organize the Gwangju chapter. The bus terminal is the best spot in town, but it's too noisy. If you want a quiet place where we can talk alone with no distractions, let's try the subway. *zing*

But seriously, I'll try to make it to Seoul once in a while. And I'll put up a post a little later just to figure out who's blogging down here. There's a lot of good work already being done down here, as I've elaborated on Facebook . . . it's just a matter of organizing it, if it even needs to be organized into any sort of umbrella.

I'll save my fuller thoughts on ATEK for another time, but I've said before that any teachers' organization needs to be built on professional development and community building. ATEK didn't really do that, and I'm afraid they've poisoned the market for the time being.

Once we see where this heads, perhaps I'll start a Facebook club for Gwangju/Jeollanam-do for like-minded teachers. There are loads of people who have been here for a while, and who know a lot more than me, and who most importantly are much more popular than me and thus good for community building.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of comments on here, and I haven't been able to read them all yet, as I'm a bit rushed, but I thought I'd write this anyways, apologies if it's already been said!

I like this idea - I'm not sure how much I can contribute as I'm currently in the middle of doing a degree back in the UK, although I am in Seoul until the end of September.

I like the idea of meeting in a park, as many people as possible, and I think we wouldn't even have to do very much at all to engage with the general Korean public around us. Just speak to them, explain who we are, what we do, and invite them to read and contribute to our blogs. After all, that's what connects all the people we're talking about for now. It's an opportunity for them to practice their English, and it will provide them with insight into what Korea is like for us - it'd be like what Misuda was if it wasn't shite.

I'd really like to play some part in this, but like I said, I spend the majority of my time in the UK, although I get out here as much as possible. I am, however, willing to do anything that I can, and am more than happy to use the internet as a way to write about Korean culture/history/that type of thing, which is basically what my blog is anyway that might be useful for newcomers to the scene or people who haven't yet arrived.

Lee Farrand said...

Hello everyone. I'm a little busy during the next month but it will be interesting to see how this develops. Maybe we should create a mailing list, or a Facebook group?

The Expat said...

We created one. Join!

Charles Montgomery said...


I put in my app. Let's hope I pass the moderator's muster!


Chris in South Korea said...

@asadalthought - 'it'd be like what Misuda was if it wasn't shite.' - hahaha...

Seriously though, I like the idea of an open network, inviting others to join in the conversation of the week. A regular day and time, or even a regular place, would be fine. Out of morbid curiosity, does anyone else promote their blog via a personal name card / business card?

The Expat said...


I like where you going with this. My only concern is that I don't want this to turn into an international friend finder thing. I like the online forum idea though.

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