Tag Archives: twitter

The Loona Curse

Context: J is a 21 year old Filipino American college student who grew up in California, who has been a long time K-pop follower and fan of numerous groups, some favorites including Loona and Twice. This piece was collected during a discord audio call.

Intv: “Is there any folklore related to any of the K-pop groups you follow? Or is there Hololive lore?”

J: “Oh! There’s the Loona Curse!”

Intv: “What’s the Loona Curse? I’ve not heard of it.”

J: “Okay so basically it’s like if you speak bad about Loona your group disbands. Specifically if you’re like “loona is going to disband before [group] because y’all are flops.” 

Intv: “And wait, this has happened before?”

J: “Oh yeah, it’s happened like three times now. With Pristin (sorry Kim), x1, and gfriend.” 

Intv: “So was this like something that happened on Twitter?” 

J: “Yeah, but not by Loona specifically, but their fans definitely defended Loona on Twitter and the tweets eventually blew up but it never directly affected the groups involved, until they disbanded. Even then it was never direct but it was a huge coincidence that it happened.”

Intv: “Oh so it was a community based twitter event not involving the group members specifically?” 

J: “Yeah exactly! Oh! It also happened to IZ*ONE, they were huge in Korea and Japan.” 

Analysis: I find the sense of community created across cyberspace with random internet people to be completely beautiful. Even in an instance where, unfortunately, beloved musical groups are disbanded, in J’s retelling of the story I got such a sense of pride as a loona fan. I was even linked to a tweet that has thousands of retweets and likes about this phenomenon. https://twitter.com/yvesfan420/status/1518673182869180416?s=21&t=AZ7-coVbYpwZd2vhRlyiZw

Throughout the comments are fans of Loona, Pristin, x1, and so many other k-pop groups who have all been made away of, The Loona Curse. 

Twitter Slang: “Drinking from the mother lake”


FC: “There’s a saying, when someone serves seismically, you say that they drank from the mother lake. And the mother lake’s not a real lake, believe it or not. It’s kind of a metaphorical, symbolic source of power for, like, motherly behavior. And motherly behavior, anyone who serves, who delivers some sort of jaw-dropping performance, piece of media, they’re mother. They’re queen, they support me, they nurse me. And in order to gain those powers, that ability, they had to drink from the mother lake. The primordial source of power.”


The informant is a 20-year-old college student from St. Louis, Missouri who has been using Twitter since his early teens. He describes the community he occupies on the app as “stan Twitter,” which is an online community of young people who bond over their fandom for certain musical artists or pop culture interests. Stan Twitter has a specific sense of humor and vernacular, much of which is derived from the cultural practices of the LGBTQ community, of which which many members of the online subculture are members. Black drag queens in particular are responsible for the creation and proliferation of much of the language employed by stan Twitter users.

“It’s very common to talk about celebrities, music icons as, you know, people say “queen” and a lot of that comes from LGBTQ slang, like drag slang,” FC said. He believes that the term “mother,” a reverential term colloquially applied to usually female artists whose work an individual finds exceptional or resonant, was taken from drag and ballroom culture. Since many people involved in these subcultures found themselves alienated from or rejected by their families because of their queerness, drag houses and drag families, or communities of queer people and drag performers, substituted as the kind of support networks which traditional families usually provide. In these groups, “there’s always a mother of the drag family who is the most experienced queen or ballroom performer with the most knowledge and experience to share,” FC said. “They are just held on a very high pedestal and their abilities and servery is applauded, and I think that’s a lot of where ‘mother’ comes from.”

FC described how stan Twitter humor often involves taking one foundational joke or vernacular element, and continually modulating it into absurd derivations. He thinks that the term “drinking from the mother lake” formed through this process, beginning with trends of calling artists “queen” and “mother” and coming up with increasingly extreme, peculiar, and culturally specific ways to express this same admiration.


         This slang term, and slang used on stan Twitter in general, is deeply grounded in LGBTQ history and identity. Young people on this platform connect with previous generations of queer people by using their language and traditions, arguably creating a community or uniting people of queer identities through common experiences or a common culture. Moreover, stan Twitter users form a community by fostering common interests, a sense of humor, and a vernacular style often derived from culturally specific references. To understand the linguistic traditions used by this community, one must understand what the lingo refers to and how humor functions on the platform. Someone’s ability to employ these vernacular traditions, communicate, be funny, or find others funny identifies them as a member of the community, as a member of the in-group, and provides the opportunity to bond with others who share interests and experiences.

The collaborative process by which this slang term evolved strikes me as particularly folkloric. There is no individual author, instead, people add onto each other’s versions, with different derivations branching off and becoming popular in different circles. With every iteration, a new dimension of strangeness and cultural specificity is added, so appreciation for a song or an artist can be expressed by saying that such artist “drank from the mother lake.”

Social Media Slang

Context: HO is an 18 year old college student who frequents instagram frequently and twitter infrequently. I, the interviewer am labeled as DJ.

HO: “Horny on main” means, like, you’re openly talking about something a lot on your public instagram.

DJ: Is it always on social media?

HO: I think it’s only on social media. I don’t know. I’ve never heard someone say that to me, like, outside of social media.

DJ: I’ve used it before not relating to social media.

HO: I never have. Who’s to say?

DJ: So, what does “on main” mean?

HO: It means on their main as opposed to their private Instagram story, or, like, “finsta.” Do I have to explain what “finsta” means?

DJ: Oh yes please. 

HO: It’s where you have a smaller Instagram. Your immediate circle of friends usually follows it, so you can post whatever you want?

DJ: Where does the word come from?

HO: Fake instagram.


Both terms defined in the interview refer to a person having multiple social media accounts: one for the public eye and the other designated as a more private platform in which people can be their more authentic selves. 

For further analysis regarding the social phenomenon “finsta” instagram accounts, see

Dewar, Sofia, et al. “Finsta: Creating” Fake” Spaces for Authentic Performance.” Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2019.

Fancam Culture

An explanation of the origin and evolution of Fancam culture from the perspective of a k-pop fan.


Informant: Fancam culture at the moment is in its most evolved form on Twitter. In which, people will reply to viral tweets, even if they’re unrelated to kpop, with a video that’s focused on a certain figure/idol/celebrity that they like. It started in kpop ‘cause there’s this thing called a direct camera or the fan cam where there’s one camera that doesn’t move and shows the whole performance, but there’s another set of cameras and each of those follows one specific member of the group throughout the performance. That one is where the fancam originated. Basically these videos are available for download on websites like Naver– it’s like Korean Google. On lot’s of fan sites they’re made officially and for download vertically. Nowadays they’re largely vertical videos so it’s like hella advanced. You can download these, keep them, and save them. I actually have like four on my phone right now. Anyway, people started posting them on Twitter. As the kpop fanbase became more populated, getting a lot of views on your idol’s videos became an achievement you unlock as you go through the ranks of being a stan. People started replying to viral tweets with a fancam because if anyone sees it the views go up automatically. So if a tweet goes viral, and you tag it there the views will go up. That was the origin of the dancing fancam. Those are the videos where you just see people dancing. Then k-pop fans started making edits. Edits are videos of a celebrity set to a song or an aesthetic. They’re often set to American rap songs by like Nikki Minaj or Cardi B. They subsequently became a part of, and often take the place of, the traditional fancam. Those two separate but similar fan edits merged to the more overall idea of “fancams”. The goal of fancams are now just to get the views up on every single kind of k-pop video, and recently it’s started to stretch out into all other fandoms.

Context: I asked a friend to explain fancams to me.

Thoughts: I only began to be exposed to fancams once they began to be edited to American music, and I think they have taken on a largely ironic nature after that. I’ve seen people make fancams as absurd as possible for very niche celebrities. Like green M&M and Kermit the Frog.

“The Whoa”

Background: The following informant is a young adult college student who is well-versed in social media and internet trends. Her perspective represents that of many teens in today’s internet age. She describes a recent dance trend that has begun to take over social media. This is a transcription of our conversation (C is the informant and I am identified as “me”):


Me: Okay, so tell me a little about “the whoa.” Like if you had to describe it to someone who had never heard of it before.

C: The “whoa” is a dance, I guess

Me: How do you do it?

C: It’s like turning the wheel of a car, you go from nine and three to twelve and six *demonstrates said movements*

Me: When do you do the whoa?

C: You do it to the beat of a song or if you just feel like it

Me: Where did you first hear about it?

C: Twitter

Context: This conversation took place in my dorm room one evening. The informant and I were discussing popular “internet” dance trends from our childhood and ended up discussing this most recent dance trend and where we first learned about it. The informant is active on social media and has knowledge of many trends prevalent on particular apps, such as Twitter or Instagram so I feel that she is a decent authority on the typical young adult social media experience.

Thoughts: Folk dances used to be shared in person through communal engagement. They were a way for people to unite and share their perspectives. Today, dances like “the whoa” are spread through the internet and can be learned by any and everyone. They don’t have a particular significance or meaning but rather develop different uses. “The Whoa” is often done when someone does something well or to signify that a song has a really strong beat. This particular dance was originally popular among the African-American community on Twitter, however it has spread to popular, mainstream culture. I find that it is typically performed to hip hop music, however it has become a trend to do the dance to more unrelated songs or without any music at all. Dance trends change all the time and every year has a particular dance that defines it. The dance of 2019 is definitely “the whoa.”