Gomushin is an online social network for girls whose boyfriends were drafted into the military. The members exchange information about regarding ways to support their boyfriends in the army.
“I established the online social network when my boyfriend entered the Army in 2003.” Cho A-ra, the manager of the social network called “Everlasting Love” said. “I didn’t know where to send hand-written letters, kinds of items allowed inside the packages and when and where can I visit him in the army camp. I began to collect exclusive information unknown to the public, and posted it online to share it with others girls. Quickly, I became an expert.” Cho added.
Her boyfriend was discharged in 2005, but the attachment to the network compelled her to continue her work. “Running a social network of 16,000 members gave me more than what I had anticipated in the beginning. I feel a sense of responsibility in assisting thousands of girls to continue their love.” Cho said.
With over eighty bulletin boards, members of the network share every detail about the army from ideal date locations near military camps to the different training environments between the Navy, Air Force and Special Warfare Command. Also, members can write online letters to their boyfriends, post pictures and write daily diaries.
A bulletin board of sharing food recipes, including how to pack a lunch when visiting one’s boy friend in the camp is especially popular. “I baked home-made chocolate cookies and brownies on my first visit. Baking, buying high quality ingredients and decorating required great efforts. There is an unseen competition and pressure between girls in the food they bring. Dressing up for the visit is also a big deal. You want to look your best, at the same time, look better than other men’s girl friends. I even searched makeup techniques online.” Park Kyu-ri (International Studies, 2) said.
“I feel a sense of solidarity with the members of the network. My friends at school don’t understand the feeling of having a boyfriend in the military, but they know what I’m going through. I feel comforted by thinking I am not the only one alone.” Park said.
Some bulletins also talk about fragile or broken relationships. “Some of my friends doubt whether I truly love him and whether two years is a worthwhile sacrifice.” said Park. “Friends even warned me that my boyfriend could leave me even though I waited two years because things change.” Chung Yoo-sun (Politics and Diplomacy, 2) said. Such cases are not unprecedented according to network.
“However, I try to look on the positive aspects. Less amount of time spent with my boy friend means more on studies, class assignments and eventually better GPAs. I will wait for him but not be blinded, I will be contributing all my energy in self fulfillment” Chung said.
Couples who enjoy a de-militarized and civilian romance after two years are most envied by the network members. “I want Gomushin to become a social network not only embracing rich knowhow and information about the army but also create an agora of both girls and boys believing in everlasting love.” Cho said.