ROHAN ARORA, Managing Editor—The ever-growing K-pop fandom has become a global force to be reckoned with, and there is a wealth of fan content online for this large community. You might be wondering, how does one create such content, or even get involved in the fan community in general? Our very own Chloe Sferra, ‘20, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of The Denisonian (2018), along with her two sisters Gaby and Mia, may have some clarity.
Their YouTube channel “Seokjin My Feels” has gained a significant amount of popularity and allowed the sisters to connect with the growing community. The name is meant as a play on the name of famous K-pop star of BTS, Kim Seok-Jin, and the phrase “stuck in my feels.” Chloe explained, however, many people do not get the pun, so the catchy name has evolved into more of an inside joke between the three sisters.
The initial goal of “Seokjin My Feels” was simply to connect with the growing online K-pop fandom, a genre of music which Chloe and her sisters first discovered for themselves in early 2018. The sisters created the channel as more of a hobby in late 2018, and the three of them never expected to go as far as they have. In regards to the sisters’ mindset at the beginning of the process, Chloe said, “We never expected to blow up but we were always hopeful that we could grow because there are a few other channels in this niche area of YouTube that have a massive following.”
The channel did not gain momentum immediately. Rather, Chloe describes the stream of subscribers as gradual. “For the first four or five months, there were crickets on our channel–there was nobody watching our videos. We were slowly growing from 0 subscribers to a thousand subscribers, so we felt a little bit like ‘why are we really doing this?’ for the first couple months.”
Despite the relative lack of attention, Chloe and her sisters continued to make videos. “We thought they were funny, and we were mainly making them for us to enjoy.” Prioritizing their own unique senses of humor and personal flavors has been a common theme of the three sisters while making and running this channel, and has contributed to their success. As Chloe said, “The only goal is to get people to laugh.”
Chloe still recalls the day the channel went viral; “I remember that day–it was April 1st 2019. I was abroad on a trip with the rest of my school, and we had just hit a thousand subscribers. We uploaded a video that we didn’t think was anything special. It just made the three of us laugh and hoped it would make our 1,000 subscribers laugh. It ended up receiving way more attention than we expected.” In two days, the subscriber count exponentially grew from 1,000 subscribers to 30,000. The sisters were shocked and Chloe adds, “We had no idea why these people were subscribing to us.”
Now, the three sisters have found the channel taking up an increasing amount of their time and effort, especially given the current global pandemic. They have not only managed to grow their channel to almost 310,000 subscribers and over 35 million views as of publication, but have also managed to keep up with consistently uploading videos amidst balancing their various commitments. Mia describes their work process: “When it comes to delegating videos we just try to communicate as much as possible and take turns each week. If we cannot make a video one week then it’s not a huge deal and when there’s a tight deadline we all pitch in to make it work. For example, when I was studying in Vietnam it took 3 hours to transfer a video to my sisters, but it still worked out because I sent bits and pieces of what I worked on for them to review until I completed it.”
The sisters’ efforts seem to have paid off, as they have gained adoration of many K-pop fans. According to Gaby, “it feels as though we’ve built a respectful community that supports not only BTS, but also other similar artists, which is an unexpected twist. Additionally, people are easy to talk to and willing to listen to bigger issues, which is cool.” The K-pop community, known to be very passionate, has embraced their content, and even replies to their channel’s comments on other videos where they share common interests.
Chloe remarks that creating on YouTube and navigating the platform has taught her skills she had not expected to learn from her hobby. She adds, “If this had ended, like it just didn’t work out, I still would have learned Adobe Premiere, Google AdSense and YouTube analytics. The main lesson from this is that nothing is truly ever a failure.”
Ultimately, Chloe and her sisters want everyone to know that “If you think you want to do it, just do it, and do it for yourself…if it’s something you want to do you might as well try it out. You never know, there’s a chance it doesn’t work out but there’s also a chance that it does and as long as you’re doing something you actually feel passion for then it’s definitely worth a shot.”