Live life

  Video bloggers live broadcast their daily lives, eating, singing, dancing, playing games and even learning to bark dogs can all become live content. People’s desire for intimacy makes this industry a lot of money.
  When the sun went down and the employees in the Seoul office building looked tired, Hersey had just started the day’s work. There are two monitors and a microphone on her desk, and a bright lamp illuminates her face. She turned on the camera and said hello to the fans: “Hello! Can you hear me?”
  ”Yes, I can hear clearly.” qowogjs 1234 wrote.
  ”I miss you so much.” rmsiddklel wrote.
  She smiled. On the screen, her skin is flawless and looks much younger than the actual 33 years old. She is broadcasting, 12 hours a day, from afternoon to early morning. Hersey is one of the tens of thousands of live bloggers in South Korea. They present their lives online, seven days a week, from getting up to going to bed.
  Thanks to the rapid development of the Internet, Koreans today can also broadcast and watch live broadcasts on the road. Live bloggers are the stars created in this unprecedented era of networking, and perhaps the unprecedented era of loneliness. Many young Koreans reject the high demands of Korean society on education, career, and family, and escape to the parallel world of the Internet. In a country that emphasizes performance and discipline to children, the presence of live bloggers encourages people to pursue a simpler and free life.
  Hersey greeted her fans like an old friend. She drank iced coffee with a straw, read what the audience wrote, and the comment appeared on the left side of the screen. She pouted and asked: “Should I go get a lip repair?”
  Jh3660 said, “No, your lips are beautiful enough.”
  Choisoon1 said, “Don’t be a cosmetic surgery monster.” Hessie replies
  in front of the camera, and she It can be cute and sexy at night. She will sing, dance, play games on live broadcasts, and sometimes go to the barbershop, the supermarket or the doctor. Hersey sells intimacy. She is the best girlfriend, sister, dance partner and idol. She gives the audience a feeling of being no longer alone in a crowded city.
  South Korean society is undergoing tremendous changes. Just a few years ago, Koreans valued social connections, but now, the importance of independence and individualism is increasing. For many young Koreans, getting married and having children is no longer a life dream. In the capital’s apartment buildings, more and more Koreans live alone, and loneliness comes with it, which is the price of independence. And live bloggers provide people connected through screens with interpersonal intimacy that can be obtained without much effort.
  Platforms such as AfreecaTV, which have made live broadcasts popular in South Korea since 2005, have become more and more popular. The live content includes singing, dancing, laughing, and cursing. AfreecaTV is a parallel world with almost unlimited freedom, used by more than 9 million viewers every month. Hersey also signed an agreement with the platform. In South Korea, live broadcast bloggers are traffic stars, often with hundreds of thousands of fans and considerable income.
  | Live blogger Hessie|
  Hesie comes from a small village on the east coast of South Korea and lives with his grandmother. They share the bathroom with their neighbors, and they can hear the rat crawling across the roof while lying in bed at night. Her parents live in Seoul, hundreds of kilometers away from her. After she was born, they separated. Together with her grandmother, she tore the cuttlefish into small pieces and sold them as snacks for several thousand won per bag (less than 30 yuan). As a little girl, Hersey dreamed of becoming an actor, but failed the audition. Three years ago, when she saw a stand-up performer on AfreecaTV, she thought: “I can do it too.” She calls herself Hessie because she thinks she looks like actor Olivia Hessie. Big eyes and heart-shaped face.
  Now, with a monthly income of 20,000 to 50,000 Euros, Hesey bought a house in Gangnam District, Seoul’s elite residential area. As soon as you enter the door, you can see her Prada sneakers. The bright room contains the accessories and accessories for her show-karaoke microphone and cat ear headband. There are instant noodles, scattered hair clips and a fire on the kitchen shelf. Chicken hat.
  According to a message, she was given 109 “star balloons”, which are currency circulating between her and her fans. Viewers buy balloons on AfreecaTV and send them out during the live broadcast. 100 balloons are priced at $10. The more popular the celebrity, the more balloons will be sent, and the higher the income. There is also advertising profit.
  An emoticon image of a dog appeared on the screen, and the request for Hessie to learn how to bark was written below. Soon, she started to learn how to barking dogs, laughing, covering her eyes with her hands, half amused and half shy.
  ks1234 said: “You have to learn how to bark a big dog. Your barking sounds like a little milk dog.”
  Soon, she called the restaurant and the voice of the call was released so that the fans could hear clearly. “I will arrive in half an hour and would like to order chicken soup, duck meat and salted crabs,” she said.
  The taxi is very quiet, the noise of Seoul at night is isolated from the car, and neon signs slide past. The camera is turned off. This is the few moments when Hesey is not live. Perhaps because of this silence, she revealed her vulnerability. She said that when she first started this job, she always burst into tears and had nightmares, dreaming that no audience would like her anymore. “But now, this job means everything to me,” she said.
  In the restaurant, chicken soup was placed on the table. Hessie sat on a plastic stool and said, “If you don’t live broadcast one day, you will lose followers.” She also hopes to take a vacation, but once she turns off the camera, she will worry about fans leaving.
  Her real life took a back seat. She adapts her pace of life to the needs of fans, starting in the evening and no longer seeing old friends. Most of the time, she only went to bed at four or five in the morning and got up at noon. She has not spoken to her mother for many years. At the age of 18, my grandmother passed away, and now the closest relationship with her is the colleague who filmed with her and her fans. She is like a calm observer, analyzing her own contradictions: her unshared wealth, her exhaustion, her stubbornness, her desire for attention. “Maybe I am really addicted.” She said.
  Near midnight, she sat in front of the lipstick and eye shadow boxes in the bedroom and said she didn’t need a man. “I want a girlfriend. I can call and talk about a day’s life.” She put down the makeup brush in her hand and wiped away her tears. This kind of moment is also not broadcast live. She knows that fans want to see her radiant, strong and optimistic, but they don’t want to understand her grievances and sadness.
  | Live Viewer Cooper | Audiences
  like Cooper follow Hersey’s show faithfully. Cooper, 41, takes care of the disabled during the day and works at a supermarket in northern Seoul at night. Watching the live broadcast under neon lights, it takes three or four hours to watch.
  He likes to watch the Korean food broadcast Mokbang the most, and the live broadcast of the fast and large amount of food is very popular in Korea. Some viewers watch these programs because they are on a diet and want to experience the satisfaction of letting others eat instead of themselves. The best food bloggers will pay attention to making the chewing sound good enough. Koreans who cannot eat dinner with their families are more willing to choose the company of eating and broadcasting than eating alone.
  Cooper often ordered the same dishes as the live stars he followed, such as noodles, roast pork belly and chicken. Sometimes, he would have a toast with the blogger Yun, like eating and drinking with a real friend.

  One afternoon, he came to a restaurant, which was his favorite filming location for eating and broadcasting. Rice cakes with spicy sauce are boiled in a large pan, and his idol Minuo can quickly eat the rice cakes. When he talked about him, Cooper’s eyes gleamed. He said that it was Mino who cured him.
  Two years ago, Cooper had to amputate his left leg due to diabetes. In the hospital, he started to fan Mino, gained spiritual support from Mino’s live broadcast, and often wrote comments under his show. Later, Cooper saw Mino twice at the fan meeting and felt that he was close to him. Cooper hadn’t met his high school friends for many years. They either moved away or had their own family. He said that he also wanted to have his own children, but he has given up his dream now because he does not earn much to support a family.
  Although South Korea did not introduce restrictions on going out during the new crown epidemic, citizens still need to avoid contact in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Restaurants and bars became empty, and Cooper spent more time in front of the screen. During the epidemic, the click-through rate of AfreecaTV and YouTube skyrocketed. Cooper said that in recent months, his relationship with Mino has become better. “I want to ask him if we can go to dinner together.”
  Mino lives in Cooper’s residence a few kilometers south. . His real life is not like a star, but just a man who is trying to adjust his life. He has to receive psychotherapy once a week. Cooper thought that Mino had many well-known friends, but in fact he hadn’t seen many outsiders for months.
  ”In the live broadcast, I tried to keep a happy mood.” Mino said. He showed us how to laugh with one click. His fat body vibrated for a few seconds, then stopped and said, “I always act very happy, but as soon as I turn off the camera, I cry.”
  Three years ago, he recorded eating and broadcasting twice a day, counting every time. Hours, after the live broadcast, the clips are often edited until late at night. He can earn about 10,000 Euros a month, but the live broadcasts that always have to smile make him exhausted. His sister committed suicide, and now his relatives are only three children left by his mother and sister. In addition, legal disputes with competitors also made him waste a lot of effort. But because he doesn’t want to make fans suffer, Mino won’t complain too much in front of the camera. “I am 43 years old,” he said, “I hope I can get married and have children soon.”
  | 21st Century Unreal Artist |
  Hersey had previously injected botulinum toxin into her eyes and forehead, and had her chin cushioned . Earlier this year, she underwent an eyelid wrinkle resection and her lips became fuller. When she first entered the industry, if someone said she was ugly or looked old, she would cry, and now she would try to ignore such attacks. “Now, I am driving an Audi and wearing Balenciaga sneakers. I am very proud.” she said.
  What is worrying is that live broadcast bloggers are actually very similar to their fans, and they often lack social connections and friendship in real life. The stars on the small monitors are illusory artists of the 21st century, comforting people who yearn for intimacy but can’t ask for it.
  Hersey said that live broadcast is her life, and she can’t imagine when she will stop live broadcast. “I want to get attention, I want applause, love, I don’t want to be so lonely.” Then, she turned on the camera.