It’s my birthday (I’m a Scorpio baby) and I wanted to talk about my favorite people in the whole world. I’ve been theorizing about why BTS works for years and it always comes down to a few things: social media presence, ARMYs, and relatability.
The first thing any ARMY will tell you about BTS is that they are always available. That’s just it. They’re always available. They have a consistent Twitter presence, they’re active on Fancafe, and they’re one of the few really popular idols that effectively use Vlive for informal content.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. BTS also has hours upon hours of content perfect for making anyone into a knowledgeable ARMY virtually overnight. They have years of Bangtan Bombs and Episodes on their Youtube channel as well as the now-less-frequent vlogs. Not to mention that they have enough shows to make your head spin (think Rookie King, BTS Run, BTS Gayo, Bon Voyage seasons 1 and 2, and–my personal favorite–American Hustle Life).
BTS thrives off their constant presence. You can’t forget about them because even when they’re resting and absent from the public eye, you’ve still got the Bangtan Youtube uploading backlogged Bangtan Bombs from the last comeback and the boys uploading the occasional picture on Twitter to let the fans know they’re doing okay.
But let’s be real. Just because the boys draw you in doesn’t mean they’re enough to keep you. Now, ARMYs have a divided reputation. Some people love them, some hate them. Both have very valid reasons to feel the way they do.
But in my experience ARMYs are a community. We’re a family. The translation team (BTS Trans on Youtube) are one of the most organized translation teams out there. But they’re just one of the many teams of ARMYs out there. The fansite projects are next level too.
My ARMY friends are some of the closest friends I have. They were the first ones to wish me a happy birthday, they were the ones to spend the day with me the day after my first BTS concert, they are the ones who remind me everyday of how grateful I am to BTS.
So community is incredibly important for BTS. All idols work to establish a relationship with their fans but few work so hard to make sure we have a relationship with each other. Because BTS cares about making sure we care about each other, we actually do! It’s crazy how simple it is.
But all of that is general. Here’s the honest truth for me: BTS is successful because they’re genuine. They’ve allowed themselves to relax into just being them rather than personas and it works not only to make them seem more kind but also makes the relationship between idol and fan seem more like the type between a friend and a friend. They want you to feel like you could talk to them without feeling intimidated. Watch one fansign fancam and you’ll see this firsthand. When it boils down to it, they’re just nice dudes.
And for me, they’re people who get it. They’re growing up with me, figuring it out with me, getting broken and putting themselves back together with me. When Taehyung’s grandmother passed, my grandfather had passed only months before and it made me understand what he was going through. When Seokjin was getting ready to go to grad school, so was my best friend and she felt closer to him.
The crazy thing about growing up with them is that it feels like we really could be friends. Like I could pick up my phone and text Namjoon about my day and he’d commiserate. And I’m not the only one. Millions of ARMYs all over the world feel the same way–and that, for me, is the definitive sign of success.