The Korea Herald


‘Snack culture’ to lead cultural trends this year

By Korea Herald

Published : Jan. 1, 2014 - 19:33

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In 2014, more people are expected to use smartphones in their spare moments to watch short video clips or engage in cultural activities, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Wednesday.

Koreans will likely live more private and individualistic lives while seeking a sense of attachment in real life, not just in cyberspace, it said.

According to a joint report by the ministry and the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, titled “10 Likely Trends for 2014,” this “snack culture” ― in which bite-size pieces of information are created, distributed and consumed in a short time ― will be the year’s most evident trend.

“As of April 2013, about 94.2 percent of smartphone users in Korea watched video clips on their phones whenever they had free time,” the report says. “For instance, the webtoon ‘Misaeng’ was produced as a six-part mobile movie with each episode running for just about 10 minutes. Such Web- and mobile-based cultural content is likely to gain popularity.”

The casual aspect of cultural experiences has drawn people to participate in content creation. In the Web novel section of, the country’s most visited online portal, anyone can become a writer and share creative products with others.

“Snack culture has given the public a wider and easier access to culture. More diverse ways to enjoy snack culture will be developed in the future,” the report noted.

The diversification of family types ― from singletons and the elderly population to “goose fathers” living alone in Korea to support children and wives living abroad ― has also accelerated the mainstream cultural trend of individualism.

TV programs have become more sensitive. Targeting specific groups of viewers has become important. For instance, TV dramas including “Let’s Eat,” portraying the lifestyles of three single men and women; “I Am Living Alone,” a pseudo-documentary about several single men struggling to ease their loneliness; and “Witch Hunt,” where celebrities give advice to single people about their love lives, have been produced for specific groups of viewers and have succeeded in capturing their attention.

“It seems that people love having a single life and the privacy this brings, but are also dying to peek into the lives of others who are in a similar situation. And TV stations are quickly picking up on such needs,” the report said.

The eight other trends noted in the report are participatory culture, training for professional cultural workers, re-highlighting cultural heritage, tighter copyright protection, creating shared value in the cultural sector, the rise of “digital-native” teenagers, the boom in humanities studies, and cultural enrichment becoming one of the national mottos.

By Bae Ji-sook (