Fans run their own blogs devoted to the group, or often just one member in particular. Most people choose to run these blogs for their own enjoyment, but among them are a select few who fervently blog as a DIY news service for their fellow Exo-L—the official fan name for the band’s devotees. These Tumblr users voluntarily run dedicated fandom blogs for the sake of the avid following, such as the admins of a popular Exo fan blog KMexoplanet.
From the blog’s description, KMexoplanet is run by four North American admins who will “spam your dashboards and share [their] love of Exo!”
For the uninitiated, Exo comprises of nine Korean and Chinese men in their early 20s who continuously capture the hearts of girls everywhere. The group debuted in 2012 with 12 members originally, but have since became nine after the departure of three Chinese members, Kris, Luhan, and Tao.
Exo continues to foster a strong fan base as their popularity grows, drama notwithstanding. In 2013 Exo released XOXO Repackaged, featuring their hit single “Growl,” and became the first K-pop group in the last 10 years to sell a million copies of their album. They consistently rack up millions of views on their music videos within hours of release and participate in various endorsements, including their recent deal with Disney Korea as official Star Wars: The Force Awakens ambassadors.
But Exo have only been stateside twice—both times to make an appearance at Los Angeles’ annual K-pop convention, KCON. That hasn’t stopped them from gaining ground in the U.S. They have placed on nine different Billboard charts, including the Billboard 200. They even caught the attention of American actress Amanda Seyfried when she sang a line from “Growl” on a Korean talk show.
They successfully completed their first concert tour in Asia last year. The boys will be touring in North America early next year for the first time.
This is particularly exciting for a fan blog—a chance for admins to finally see Exo live and up close in concert. As Exo’s company, SM Entertainment, doesn’t usually bring its artists to North America, the imminent tour seemed like a pipe dream when college sophomore Cat Hicks (known online as Admin Cat) created her fan blog KMexoplanet in 2012.
The blog saw its inception during Exo’s teaser era. Before their debut in April 2012, SM Entertainment released a total of 23 teaser videos, previewing the talents of the original 12 members. It was the 12th teaser that inspired Hicks to create KMexoplanet.
“We started around pre-Exo debut,” Hicks said. “We just [wanted to] make a place where Exo fans can come together and just talk and express their thoughts with everything that’s happened with Exo.”
Today, KMexoplanet’s following boasts well over 10,000, having gained some major traction since day one.
Hicks started the blog with two of her friends, and after watching the video, struggled to come up with a name. They settled on KMexoplanet to represent the two subgroups: Exo-K, which promotes in Korean, and Exo-M, which promotes in Mandarin Chinese. They combined that with “exoplanet,” which the group shortens to “Exo.”
With the original intent of starting a simple platform for Exo-L to come and gush about the Exo boys, Hicks never expected for it to blow up. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be stupid if one day we had 10,000 followers?'” Hicks joked.
Today KMexoplanet’s following boasts well over 10,000, having gained some major traction since day one. “We got like 100 [followers] the first day we opened, which I think is really telling of Exo’s popularity because they hadn’t even debuted yet.”
“A blog is not a fan site,” Hicks specified. “I would tell [followers], ‘No, we’re not a fan site. We’re not doing anything official or anything.’ The fact that people see us in that way… it’s almost kind of burdensome.”
According to Hicks, fan sites primarily exist to spread information to fans, but don’t necessarily provide any kind of platform for them. Instead, her site focuses on publishing information constantly, including concert schedules, celebrities’ social media updates, new releases, shots of the stars out and about, and pretty much any other related content.
“Our blog wasn’t supposed to be that way, but it turned out that way when people started asking us [for that information],” Hicks explained.