You take your eye off the ball for a couple of months, and everything changes. A while ago, I wrote an article for The East newspaper entitled Who’s Who in the Korean Blogosphere highlighting, in the limited space available, some of the top K-blogs out there. It generated a certain amount of comment, the gist of which was that I’d missed a number of good blogs out, and that there were rather too many loonies who hang out at the Marmot’s Hole. Both points were entirely fair.
In relation to the former point, I think the first sentence in this article sums it up. I don’t routinely hang out in K-blogging circles. I selectively read the read the blogs I like – which tends to be the ones where I know what the blog’s sales proposition is: blogs such as Korea Pop Wars and The Grand Narrative. Others I skim read via their RSS feed, provided it’s in a format that’s readable by my BlogWatch pages (which unfortunately rules out a number of high quality blogs such as Gusts of Popular Feeling and many other Blogspot sites). But I have too little spare time to explore the proliferation of blogs out there, particularly when many of them cover the same ground. So my article written back in April last year was probably 6 to 12 months out of date because I hadn’t discovered any new blogs recently.
So what’s happened since then? Over the weekend I happened to stumble over a five month old site Hub of Sparkle, which initially I thought must be a third incarnation of the irreverent Party Pooper’s blog1, but turns out to be more of a community affair spearheaded by the ever thoughtful Metropolitician, with contributions from Roboseyo, the Chosun Bimbo and other prominent bloggers.
The blog describes itself as
a metablog about the many different aspects of Korean society and culture, with contributors chiming in on a variety of topics that can spark a greater conversation, foster the exchange of knowledge and ideas, and provide valuable news and views we can all use.
One of its more useful articles from my own perspective was its recent Golden Klogs awards – a poll of some of the best K-blogs out there, in different categories. There were some familiar names among the nominations, but also some ones I’ve never heard of. The awards were in an exhaustive list of categories too long to reproduce here, but included:
- K-Blog Story of the Year
- Overall Best Korea Blog
- Most Thought Provoking Korea Blog
- Most Helpful Blogs to Expats
- Funniest Korea Blog
- Best Korean Food Blog
- Best Korean Photography Blog
- Craziest Comment Board
- Best Post or Series in a Korea Blog
and, the award which says much about blogging in general and Klogging in particular,
- Korea Blog Most Completely Taken Over by Obama’s Run To The White House
These awards posts always make interesting reading whether or not you agree with either the nominations or the winners, because they are the product of a big investment of time by the author(s) while enabling the blogopshere to reflect upon itself.
Joint winners of the Best Post or Series in a Korea Blog were the rather introspective Why Do Expats Complain So Much, and Why do Koreans Get So Defensive? and the informative weekly service from Koreabeat highlighting the most popular articles on Naver. Koreabeat was also voted best overall blog of the year. As it’s the only blog I know of which tries to bring to an English-speaking readership what the Korean-language newspapers and netizens are saying, it deserves all the encouragement it gets.
Once I’ve digested the blogs I’ve never come across before, I’ll revisit the sites I’m including in the LKL BlogWatch service. Seoul Beats looks to be a strong contender for inclusion in the celebrity or entertainment category, with design far superior to PopSeoul and slightly more considered content. And there seem to be plenty of food blogs to add to my recently created Food BlogWatch page.
Six months from now no doubt there will be yet more quality blogs to review. In the meanwhile you can form your own opinions about the winning blogs by following the link below.
- Which used to be subtitled “Dynamic Well-Being Hub of Sparkle”