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Too Old for K-Pop?

Is there an age limit when it comes to K-pop?

My journey into K-pop and specifically as #ONCEUncle has been an incredible one. Last year, I answered questions on AGEIST about how TWICE fans made me “Feel Special” and ultimately brought me to this amazing fanbase with the positive vibes they create. “Happiness is ageless,” I said.

After all, TWICE is the top-selling K-pop girl group of all time, and their 9th mini album  “More & More” has already broken records on Gaon charts with unprecedented sales driven by a rabid fanbase that will do anything for their idols.

They’ve even inspired me to do piano covers, giveaways, participate in voting, and interact with fans in ways I never could have imagined. I find so much joy stanning (being a fan of) TWICE.

K-Pop Is for the Kids!

However, with the good also comes the negative side of K-pop culture. Usually targeting young teens and fans in their early twenties, it is unusual but not uncommon to have older fans (I’m only 43) become K-pop stans and be open about it. 

Because of this, most fans tend to not use their own picture for fan accounts on social media. They’d much rather use their idols’ pics as a way to show their adoration but also a way to mask their true self.

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This gives them the freedom to be a stan without much of the negative backlash that can come from those who perceive that K-pop is for the younger generation. But once a month, K-pop fans come out for “selca” days.

Selca Day

Selca, a combination of “selfie” and “camera”, is a slang term used in Korean to describe what Americans would traditionally just call “a selfie.” Every month on a pre-determined day, K-pop fans will post side-by-side pictures of themselves and their idols. It’s a fun way to reveal the true faces behind the fan accounts. Fans in the thousands will post their favorite selfie mimicking their idols to spread fun amongst the fandom.

I’ve participated in a few #ONCEselcaday events myself from a video of me eating jokbol similar to how Momo of TWICE did it, to a picture of 20-year-old Jack side-by-side with 20-year-old Chaeyoung of TWICE. It’s all for fun and fans really enjoy supporting each other by liking and sharing to their accounts while admiring the true faces behind the stan Twitter accounts.

But with every selca day post I’ve made, there has been my share of both positive and negative reactions. The dark side of being a K-pop stan starts to rear its ugly head every time and, most recently, one of my tweets took on a life of its own.

I had fans who praised my humor and showed support but also those who thought I was a creep. I had fans attacking me and fans defending me. Rather than keep the clashes going, I chose to remove the tweet and replace it with a less controversial one to stop the in-fighting of fans on fans. Unfortunately, this is the dark side reality of Stan Twitter.

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The Dark Side of Stan Twitter

Stan Twitter is a community of Twitter users that post opinions related to music, celebrities, TV shows, movies, and social media. I am not a “Stan Twitter” account but I do tweet plenty of TWICE and K-pop related content.

I am a proud ONCE (the moniker given to the fanbase of TWICE) but I am also Jack Phan, entrepreneur, CEO of PhanZu, CTO of AGEIST, and #ONCEUncle to the fanbase. Everything you see on my Twitter feed is me, my true self, loud and proud no matter if I’m talking about entrepreneurship or K-pop. I have been, and will always be, me.

However, because I am not the typical K-pop stan, many younger fans have trouble grasping why an “old” (to them) man with a wife and kids would be a fan of nine beautiful young women in their early twenties with voices of angels.

Heck, many non-K-pop fans don’t even understand the fascination of the Korean pop culture nor do they choose to understand it before forming assumptions. But that’s a different conversation entirely.

This dark side of Stan Twitter are fringe accounts and problematic fans who take stanning a K-pop group such as TWICE to a dark level. They have delusions that the idols are theirs and no one else’s. They fantasize about being with their biases (favorite members) or having sexual desires that have even led to overly obsessed fans and stalkers — the true meaning of “Stan” from the Eminem song that the term is derived from.

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They often view others as competition and will presume that an older man who doesn’t belong is only stanning a K-pop girl group because of his creepy sexual intentions.

Age Does Not Define Me

My love for TWICE and the fanbase is an adoration of the positivity that TWICE represents and that they instill upon the fanbase of ONCEs. My age does not define what I can enjoy or what I choose to love. I choose to support the fans and to celebrate with the fans. 

A majority of my interactions with ONCEs are very positive and very respectful. Many look up to me as a path for them to continue to love K-pop without shame and to continue to enjoy what they love without fear of what others say.

Our goals are the same: to amplify TWICE to the highest level and to make them proud. We are better when we support each other and we focus on positive wins. A person’s age, race, gender, or sexual identity should not matter when it comes to stanning TWICE.

Remember, ONCEs are here for one reason: TWICE WORLD DOMINATION! ?

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P.S. Stream More & More and vote for TWICE!

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Jack Phan
Jack Phanhttps://jackphan.com
Jack is the CTO of AGEIST. An entrepreneur, Jack is also the CEO of PhanZu, a publisher services company in Portland, OR. Jack spends his time mentoring startups, founders, and entrepreneurs to develop strategies for small businesses. Jack is also the proud #ONCEUncle to the fanbase of K-pop girl group TWICE.

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