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Our Socialtainers: Model of Practice and Action

Nowadays, many entertainers are ranked on real-time search words such as ‘bright entertainer.’ which is evoking the interest of internet users. These entertainers use SNS such as Twitter or Facebook, to share their feeling and opinions about social problems and issues, with many people. Their small words in SNS can make them ‘bright entertainers.’ Like them, a socialtainer is a compound between Society and Entertainer, which means ‘The entertainer who expresses themselves about social issues or the entertainer who comments on formal problems.’ There are many socialtainers in Korea. In the long run, the meaning of socialtainers today may become so obscure that any celebrities’ sayings may be related to ‘socialtainers’ without any barriers. The inherent limitations of a Socialtainer consist of two things. One thing is about their appeal and stimulation toward the public, and another thing is that the socialtainers do not have enough knowledge, and are not careful about what they say in public and online. What is the stance that socialtainer should take and what kind of attitude should they have to be true socialtainers?  The answer to this question may not be so simple, but it is one worth looking into.

Who are socialtainers in Korea? According to Panelnow, which asked about 20,000 people ‘Who is the socialtainer that best represents Korea?’ the results were, 30% of respondents voted for male broadcaster Kim Je-dong, followed by male singer Kim Jang-hoon, female star Lee Hyo-ri, and actress Kim Yoh-jin. It, however, is not really important only to say who the socialtainers are by name. We will focus on the question: Why the power of socialtainers can be uncomfortable? There are two dilemmas for living as socialtainers. First of all, socialtainers should be careful of what they say in public without related knowledge and preparatory investigation. If they are not, they may easily come off as charlatans. Kim Kyu-ri, a Korean actress, caused quite a stir by putting up these words at her homepage ‘I would rather scrumb potassium cyanide than eat U.S. beef.’ Although it is good to have the strength and courage to give her own opinions, her saying was very strong and she had imprecise information in which she believed that all U.S. beef caused mad cow disease. She was treated hostilly by U.S. beef importers and it made a lot of Koreans in America shake with anxiety. In short, this kind of uncertain information of socialtainers can damage the very essense of the matter. Second, socialtainers can trigger biased thinking in the public because they always receive attention from the public and so their ideas seem to be right ones. For example, Although Kim Je-dong has been known as a left-wing person, he was a host of the Inauguration Day of Lee Myung-bak and he was a columnist of the Dong-A daily news. Like this, most socialtainers can be riddiculed as ideological entertainers once they reveal their political opinion.

Lee Ho-kyu, a professor of the Department of Mass Communication, said, “In fact, the most important question is ‘Where does the word socialtainers come from?’ because language is the thing which people create to give certain meanings to the world. I think a ‘socialtainer’ is made to devalue entertainers’ statements. If not, why are these words made: social-novelist, social-professor, and so on? But, I agree with you that socialtainers should be careful on commenting about formal issues through SNS. They are public figures. Their statements are much more explosive than ours.”

He also said, “Many entertainers participate in our society through SNS on the internet. But, I do not think this is the perfect way. We can write anything on our twitter in order to express our thoughts. It is just like a ‘tongue.’ What I think is the best method of social participation as socialtainers is for them to become honorary ambassadors. If stars play a cardinal role in the realization of social development with sincerity, this is the best way for them to lend their voices towards our society or the world.”

He added the true meaning of practice and action, “Language is just potentiality, but action is reality. For example, Confucius, one of the four saints of the world took a rest after he had traveled around the world and then he smelled a good scent. He went to where the scent originated from and finally saw an orchid. The saint realized the truth, ‘I went to where an arch was, and nevertheless it continues to be there. But, as I was going around the world in order to find those who would employ me. If I study more and more, many people will find me.’ This episode of Confucius gives such a valuable meaning. Practice and action are more important than only using our tongues. Which is better, tongue-first or action-first? It is up to you.”

   
 

In reality, some socialtainers are participating in social improvement with their behaviorism ? action and practice. First, Cha In-pyo, a Korean male actor, is one of our great socialtainers. He has donated money to help poor children in Africa or developing countries for over eighteen years. He, and his missus Shin Ae-ra, have also adopted many children. Second, Kim Jang-hoon, a Korean male singer, has been called a ‘donation angel,’ which shows his well-worn donation habits. His interest is about Korea rather than himself. Besides, he promised that he will sail across to Dokdo by just swimming to commemorate our Independence in 1945. Finally, George Clooney, a male actor and movie director in the U.S., is a good example of a foreign socialtainer. He was appointed a UN Messenger of Peace as of 2008 and he has developed Sudan’s independence movement. These three people are similar with their regard to show action, and not just using their tongues.
 
The tongue can only be a seed, and if we do not take care of it, the seed stops growing and will never become a pretty flower. The seed becomes a stem and produces leaves, and only after watering and much nourishment will grow into a flower. This is why practice and action are important. After all, our socialtainers must be practical persons in order to contribute to develop their countries and international societies, and not just be propagating their opinions like missionaries. Try to remember, action is first, not just words.

Kim Kang-su  wellmade01@dongguk.edu

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