By Shim Keum-jo
Do you like revealing yourself and your private life through photos and video clips on a website or blog? Think good, a popular university magazine found that eight out of ten college students considered themselves as a publizen, a newly coined word consisting of publicity and citizen.
This seems to be a trend spreading quickly among college students. But is it? The Ewha Voice listens to what students have to say about publizen.
Rhee Kang-soo (Yonsei University, 4) who has an average of 100 visitors every day to his blog does not really consider himself as a publizen. "Out of 100, I would give myself 30 points as a publizen. I don't really reveal my personal information,"says Rhee.
Regarding the term publizen, Rhee believes that it is not a new notion but an old one merely packaged differently. He says, "From the past, people liked to record their lives. Whether it was in the form of drawing on the cave walls or keeping a journal, the fundamental idea is the same. The great development of mass media and technology has made it easier for people to record their lives in forms of pictures and video clips. I guess this is the reason why such word as publizen is around."
Roh Young-joo (Politics & Diplomacy, 3) who has an average of 50 to 80 visitors a day to her blog does not seem to consider herself a publizen either. "I don't reveal my photos to everyone but only to the people I am close with. So, I don't see myself as a publizen. But if the scope of the term publizen includes revealing your photos of your everyday life to your friends, then I guess I do consider myself a publizen."Roh believes the reason for people wanting to reveal themselves on the Internet is the suppressed ego. "I think people have different sides that they want to show, yet they are afraid of what others will think of them if they do so in real life. With cyberspace, people can explore their other sides. Also with some audience, they would feel their existence,"says Roh.
David McIlwain (University of New South Wales, 3), an exchange student, who considers himself as the complete opposite of a publizen says that this trend is also common in Australia, especially among Asian students. He says, "The Internet offers an opportunity for social networking between people. They can share experiences with others yet within the shadow and without being forced to give more than what they have decided to give. I guess that is why the trend is becoming popular."Comparing the situation back home with Korea, McIlwain thinks the reason why it is more widely spread in Korea is the strong Internet culture and shy personality of Asians for social exchange. "If you don't have a presence in the Internet, I don't think you have a social identity. You can't resist it in Korea,"he adds.
All the students interviewed seemed unfamiliar with the term publizen. However, they seemed to have a clear understanding of the trend.
Regardless of whether it is a new trend spreading quickly among students or not, the old and basic human desire for a sense of existence seems to be intricately woven into this trend.