“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”
Nowadays on buses, subways and even walking on the streets, it is hard to find someone not looking at their smartphones. They are using the devices for many things, including watching short videos and news clips or reading e-books. This trend is known as ‘Snack Culture’, and the web-toons, web-dramas, e-books, card news, and short videos are our snack contents. SNS, YouTube, and mobile applications such as Pikicask, Vingle, and Kakao channel are the most common distributors of this type of snack content.
The formation of cartoons and dramas has also changed. Web-toons are said to be the origin of Snack Culture. Through the internet and on our phones, we can watch 10 minute shorts, unlike reading real comic books. In the case of TV dramas, the time spent viewing a show has changed. TV dramas usually run about 1 hour. However, the running time of web dramas is anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. ‘Pongdang pongdang love’ and ‘72seconds drama’ are popular examples of we based dramas. So many companies use this trend to advertise their products. They target teens and twenties, and companies are able to naturally expose their products with humor, with no real burden.
The benefit of Snack Culture is that we can enjoy whatever we are watching, in a brief time, from a few seconds to a maximum of 30 minutes. Another benefit is the access we have to be diverse content. All areas of culture, whether it is humor, news, makeup, health, entertainment and so on, are readily available at our fingertips. Short performances, like 10 minute-concerts, can be watched in our spare time. In other words, the popularization of cellphones has forever altered our media production and consumption habits.
In spite of the enormous growth of snack culture, it is often underestimated as minor because snack culture is such a newly born idea. The Survey conducted by The UOS Times showed that students of the University of Seoul (UOS) also tend not to regard snack culture as a mainstream of culture. About 92 percent of respondents said that they enjoyed snack culture in daily lives, yet about 86 percent answered they had not heard about it. From a scale from one to five, the average score of impression on snack culture was 3.88. However, the average score of cultural value of snack culture was 2.63, lower than the midpoint. This survey results revealed that UOS students regarded snack culture as a convenient source of relaxation and fun, yet they thought of it as a minor culture in our society.
As time goes by, the main stream of culture will change, and even shorter or more temporary culture may appear in the future. Another form of network could appear and change our lifestyles. However, as we look into communicative aspects of snack culture, it is continuously being innovated by social changes and ideas of the public. It can be a key to share information and publicize opinions among people in a less sensitive way.