It is the eve of Night 5 of Outcast as I post this and it’s safe to say you can’t go anywhere on the internet without hearing at least something about this. In my last post, I talked about how it was innovative and unique and a perfect example of the other incredible ways content creators are utilizing social media but Outcast itself has some other interesting qualities too. Its creator, 15-year-old Makayla, has unintentionally tapped into the internet’s most potent resource: obsession.
She has, in a matter of four nights, acquired nearly 400K followers and inspired literally thousands of fan trailers and fan art edits that you don’t even have to be on the #btsoutcast hashtag to stumble upon them. Koreaboo and a few other Kpop sites have even taken notice of her and last I heard a Jpop idol was even participating in the polls.
But how did this all happen? How did this particular AU out of all the thousands upon thousands out there on the internet succeed? And what does it say about us that it has? Let’s break this down.
This AU is one of the most intricately woven tales of horror out there. I’d be willing to bet Makayla could give some Hollywood film makers a run for their money. She does this by constantly engaging her audience.
The story goes like this: some people–Jimin being the last one–have gone missing. Hoseok lets Yoongi know about the danger and insists he be careful. Yoongi, pretty much ignoring him, introduces Hoseok to a game called Outcast and invites him to play with him online. They begin playing and the game progresses night by night. The game begins with one objective: get his character to safety from this supposed Outcast who is pursuing him. Only, as he plays, he realizes something about the game is off. Then he discovers his character’s name is Park Jimin.
It gets spookier from there. The game confuses both Yoongi and Hoseok, putting them at odds with each other. It confuses the reader, constantly making them question what is truth and what is a lie.
I won’t spoil it any further for you, but if you’re interested in reading it for yourself, you can go here for Nights 1 through 3 and click on the link at the bottom of the page for Night 4.
The thing about us is that we love suspense. That’s us people, not us ARMY. But we do. Even those of us who suffer from anxiety (like me) still love being kept on the edge of their seat.
We’re also naturally curious. When our parents or society tells us that something is forbidden and wrong, we like to wonder why. We like to question things. We like glimpses at those things that exist beyond the scope of safety not because we want to engage with it but because we want to know it from a safe, comfortable distance.
And we love to obsess. Just think about Kpop. How often have you woken up at 4 AM to catch a comeback? Or how often have you whipped out seven different devices to buy concert tickets? Or how many times have you dropped all your free cash on albums and merch even when you knew you had a million other things to buy?
That kind of devotion doesn’t just exist with Kpop, it exists with everything. Some people can go their whole lives just liking things and never really growing passionate about anything but for a good chunk of us, we obsess.
So when something presents itself that has all the elements of the things we already love and gives us a renewed chance to devote ourselves to something, for however short a time, it makes sense that a lot of us would jump on board.
Honestly, though, a good part of the reason that Outcast thrived as well as it did is because of ARMYs. We are nothing if not an incredibly organized and supportive fan base. There are lots of Kpop groups that have friendly and amazing fans–that’s not being questioned. However, ARMYs, even before BTS blew up, have always had a sense of familiarity with one another. I think about BTS Trans and how they’re one of the most efficient translating teams out there. But that’s just one example. Every day we see how ARMYs work together to help each other out and build each other up.
I’ll admit not every ARMY is going to be a good person, but overall, we’ve crafted an atmosphere of support, of family, with BTS at the core of it.
So when an ARMY creates something this spectacular in a fan base this supportive, it is bound to have some success.
Not all great things get recognized and not all beautiful, wonderful fics or art or whatever else succeeds. So Outcast may have just been one of those spontaneous serendipitous things that no one could really control. I like to think there’s something more to it than that though. I think there’s a sort of formula, kind of like one I spoke about with BTS, that helps us understand how everything could have just fallen into place.
Makayla did something incredible. It was something that brought the fan base together and gave us something to tide us over while BTS was resting. And it just so happened to give us all more anxiety than a job interview, but that was also kind of the fun of it.
As Outcast winds down, I just want to say thank you, Makayla. You are still so young, but you have so many bright things ahead of you and this is just the start. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
Featured Image: Credit to @callmehvivi