Some idols are notoriously good at searching for their own information online, especially on Twitter, where such a huge fan community exists. Knowing this, many fans try to block out the searches when they are being mindful of the off-chance that their favs could be seeing their tweets that very moment.
A common way that is used by fans, is censoring out the names. While international fans often use asterisks to block out a portion of the letters in the idol’s name, Korean fans use sseobang, literally translated to mean “blocking the searches”. This is often done by adding a batchim (ending consonant) to the name or purposefully spelling the name wrong. An example would be, when referring to NCT‘s Jaehyun, fans would type the name as “jae-hyunj” or “je-hyun” instead. This keeps the name recognizable, but hard for people to look up.
Certain idols, such as 2PM‘s Taecyeon and Apink‘s Hayoung, are notorious for randomly replying to fans who mention their name in tweets. This has led to fans hilariously trying to dodge their attention. Creepily (or luckily!) enough, these veteran idols know all the tricks in the books.
A fan posted screenshots of Taecyeon and Hayoung’s replies to fans, aptly titling it as “Idol Horror: A 2-Pic Story”.
On the 22nd of July 2020, a fan had tweeted out, without directly tagging the star in a mention, that she was at a loss of what to do with Taecyeon’s proficiency in finding out what fans were talking about, with regards to him. He hilariously replied that he had seen everything already, so they shouldn’t bother with blocking the searches.
Another fan had quote-tweeted this reply and commented that he was just as scary as Apink’s maknae, Hayoung. What was unexpected was that the singer herself was quick to pick up on the tweet, and made a quip in return.
Other fandoms even tried to test her searching skills by coming up with creative ways to sseobang!
It seems that Hayoung remains undefeated.
With idols being adept at checking what their fans are up to these days, it certainly can get a little scary for those that wish to remain unseen! There have been other instances as well where idols mention something they’ve seen on the internet from fans, sending fans in a tizzy. Just the other day, NCT’s Doyoung popped up in a fan-made live video stream after he had found the event randomly on social media.