My journey into K-pop and specifically as #ONCEUncle has been an incredible one. Last year, I answered questions on AGEIST about how TWICE fans made me “Feel Special” and ultimately brought me to this amazing fanbase with the positive vibes they create. “Happiness is ageless,” I said.
After all, TWICE is the top-selling K-pop girl group of all time, and their 9th mini album “More & More” has already broken records on Gaon charts with unprecedented sales driven by a rabid fanbase that will do anything for their idols.
They’ve even inspired me to do piano covers, giveaways, participate in voting, and interact with fans in ways I never could have imagined. I find so much joy stanning (being a fan of) TWICE.
K-Pop Is for the Kids!
However, with the good also comes the negative side of K-pop culture. Usually targeting young teens and fans in their early twenties, it is unusual but not uncommon to have older fans (I’m only 43) become K-pop stans and be open about it.
Because of this, most fans tend to not use their own picture for fan accounts on social media. They’d much rather use their idols’ pics as a way to show their adoration but also a way to mask their true self.
This gives them the freedom to be a stan without much of the negative backlash that can come from those who perceive that K-pop is for the younger generation. But once a month, K-pop fans come out for “selca” days.
Selca, a combination of “selfie” and “camera”, is a slang term used in Korean to describe what Americans would traditionally just call “a selfie.” Every month on a pre-determined day, K-pop fans will post side-by-side pictures of themselves and their idols. It’s a fun way to reveal the true faces behind the fan accounts. Fans in the thousands will post their favorite selfie mimicking their idols to spread fun amongst the fandom.
Does this work? ? #ONCEselcaday ??
“When life gives you ??, make lemonade. When life gives you #TWICE #MOMO, eat #jokbal.” – #ONCEUncle #모모 pic.twitter.com/Sa2WVtSSPr
— Jack Phan (@JackPhan) October 10, 2019
For this edition of #ONCESelcaDay, I give you 20 year old Jack. ?#TWICE #Chaeyoung #채영 pic.twitter.com/DbIYPRdsZX
— Jack Phan (@JackPhan) March 10, 2020
I’ve participated in a few #ONCEselcaday events myself from a video of me eating jokbol similar to how Momo of TWICE did it, to a picture of 20-year-old Jack side-by-side with 20-year-old Chaeyoung of TWICE. It’s all for fun and fans really enjoy supporting each other by liking and sharing to their accounts while admiring the true faces behind the stan Twitter accounts.
Here’s another perspective for my #ONCEselcaday. I don’t want to make others uncomfortable or have fans fighting with each other. What I do is for fun with no harmful intentions. Most of you understand this and I appreciate that. Thank you ❤️#osd #TWICE #트와이스 @JYPETWICE pic.twitter.com/lvpaBhKmG1
— Jack Phan (@JackPhan) July 10, 2020
But with every selca day post I’ve made, there has been my share of both positive and negative reactions. The dark side of being a K-pop stan starts to rear its ugly head every time and, most recently, one of my tweets took on a life of its own.
I had fans who praised my humor and showed support but also those who thought I was a creep. I had fans attacking me and fans defending me. Rather than keep the clashes going, I chose to remove the tweet and replace it with a less controversial one to stop the in-fighting of fans on fans. Unfortunately, this is the dark side reality of Stan Twitter.
The Dark Side of Stan Twitter
Stan Twitter is a community of Twitter users that post opinions related to music, celebrities, TV shows, movies, and social media. I am not a “Stan Twitter” account but I do tweet plenty of TWICE and K-pop related content.
I am a proud ONCE (the moniker given to the fanbase of TWICE) but I am also Jack Phan, entrepreneur, CEO of PhanZu, CTO of AGEIST, and #ONCEUncle to the fanbase. Everything you see on my Twitter feed is me, my true self, loud and proud no matter if I’m talking about entrepreneurship or K-pop. I have been, and will always be, me.
However, because I am not the typical K-pop stan, many younger fans have trouble grasping why an “old” (to them) man with a wife and kids would be a fan of nine beautiful young women in their early twenties with voices of angels.
Heck, many non-K-pop fans don’t even understand the fascination of the Korean pop culture nor do they choose to understand it before forming assumptions. But that’s a different conversation entirely.
This dark side of Stan Twitter are fringe accounts and problematic fans who take stanning a K-pop group such as TWICE to a dark level. They have delusions that the idols are theirs and no one else’s. They fantasize about being with their biases (favorite members) or having sexual desires that have even led to overly obsessed fans and stalkers — the true meaning of “Stan” from the Eminem song that the term is derived from.
They often view others as competition and will presume that an older man who doesn’t belong is only stanning a K-pop girl group because of his creepy sexual intentions.
Age Does Not Define Me
My love for TWICE and the fanbase is an adoration of the positivity that TWICE represents and that they instill upon the fanbase of ONCEs. My age does not define what I can enjoy or what I choose to love. I choose to support the fans and to celebrate with the fans.
A majority of my interactions with ONCEs are very positive and very respectful. Many look up to me as a path for them to continue to love K-pop without shame and to continue to enjoy what they love without fear of what others say.
Our goals are the same: to amplify TWICE to the highest level and to make them proud. We are better when we support each other and we focus on positive wins. A person’s age, race, gender, or sexual identity should not matter when it comes to stanning TWICE.
Remember, ONCEs are here for one reason: TWICE WORLD DOMINATION! ?
P.S. Stream More & More and vote for TWICE!
Hello, I came across this article as I am really late to the Kpop scene and while I do have a male kpop group that I do stan, I do feel old among the young female fans in the fandom. Friends and peers around me do think I am obessed with it and not acting my age. So it’s reassuring that age doesn’t define whether we can be kpop fans or not. Thank you for this article!
Hey man. What you need to do is come to Quarantine.com and check out TwiceHQ. You see, everyone there was calling ME OnceUncle until you showed up and famed lol. I’m 47 and I run the Space TWICEHQ with 38k followers. I’m the top writer for Twice on Quora. Hang out with us sometime. @AspryWrites
Hi Aspry! Thanks for your comments and for TWICEHQ (which I subscribe). Yeah, I just love TWICE. The music is so uplifting and they have the best sense of humor, like SCIENTIST. 🤣. I am 71 years old, but that doesn’t stop me from loving TWICE. 💓 TWICE WORLD DOMINATION!
Thank you for the thoughtful take on older Stans; I’m only about a year into my love of Twice (And GIdle,Itzy,Everglow,CLC, StrayKids…ok, you get the point).
I work in a nightclub, and though we’ve never specifically had a KPop-themed event, I def now recognize some of it mixed into various Mash-Ups, etc…
My usual tastes are Metal (Death/Black/Power), so some of my friends find it odd that I’ve taken to this music, other than the obvious appreciation of beautiful women half my age (I’m 51). I explain that this upbeat music (Most especially Twice, my fave among all) has kept me smiling and laughing through all off this (Pandemic), with their music, but even more so with all of the endearing and hilarious content from the various shows that they’ve appeared on (Twice TV #1!). Anyways, I hope to be following Twice and smiling at their genuine and wonderful interactions with Once for a long time.
I’m late to this article, but wow, I totally get what everyone is saying. I’m 52 and my daughter brought me to k-pop through BTS. I thought they’d be my Ult group and I enjoyed them for about 6 months, when I decided to explore more K-pop. I came across Pentagon, LOVED their music and the voice of their Leader Hui. So I started looking up more things about them and the struggles they’ve gone through as a group. This made me bond to their struggle because I love and root for an underdog. But ultimately, it was their music that drew me in, made me happy and reflective on life. They are my favorite K-pop group and helped me through the Pandemic we’re in. Stan Twitter is a bit scary and mostly lonely for me. I mostly feel left out. I don’t think there’s many 40+ Pentagon fans that I can find. So I mostly talk with my daughter about them (she’s 25). I engage every once in awhile and mostly retweet a lot of stuff, but I don’t want the younger fans to think I’m a creep or have weird motives. I do my best to stay away from fan accounts of teens (that I know of if they reveal age). I actively vote, stream, buy merchandise and support Pentagon’s programs as much as I can. I want them to succeed and gain fame because they deserve it and I enjoy it. Anyway, I’m glad there are other older fans like me. I just need to find the Pentagon ones. LOL.
Thanks Ron, Sandy, Aspry #ONCEuncle and all commenter. I am 71 years old and I love TWICE. They are so uplifting, happy and loving to each other and to ONCE! 💓 And they have the best sense of humor. “Time to TWICE* kills me. Mina as the boss in “TDOONG Entertainment season 2* was too funny 🤣. I fell in love with them during Sixteen. They are such good human beings. And it is mesmerizing to watch them dance and sing and perform so beautifully. So it is ok for old people to love TWICE! TWICE world domination! 💓 😂
I’m 59 and a ONCE, Uaena, M1-Key, sone, BLINK and ReVulv. The music is great so are the performances. We’re never to old to be a fanling.
Ok after reading this I dont feel bad anymore being a KPop fan at 38! Im a Blink, Midzy, ONCE, Forever stans.
Bias are Jennie, Yeji, Nayeon/Sana/Jihyo, E:U.
I’m over 40 and I love BTS. What many people didn’t know that I already a kpop and jpop stan since I was a teen. FT Island, FIN.K.L, H.O.T, SHE, TURBO and many more. So usually I just raise one of my eyebrows if someone asked me why someone as old as me loves kpop and jpop. Yeah, ask me something that I didn’t know noob 🤪