What are gongbang videos? An explainer

·2-min read
Study with me videos or 'gongbang' are becoming increasingly popular (Getty)
Study with me videos or 'gongbang' are becoming increasingly popular (Getty)

Living in a virtual age, such as we are, it’s no wonder people are turning to the internet for study buddies.

Just as people working from home are joining Clubhouse for a virtual work set-up, the more studious among us are tuning into gongbang videos - lengthy clips of people quietly studying away.

What is gongbang?

The name “gongbang” is a portmanteau of the Korean words “gongbu bangsong”, which means “study broadcast”.

Gongbang was first reported in 2018, but has existed on video sharing platforms like YouTube for a while.

Otherwise known as 'study with me' videos, they feature often unedited footage of people studying quietly for as long as 12 hours.

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Many of the videos use the Pomodoro Technique - a time management method that splits up study time into sections and adds in short periods of rest.

Some of the videos can be up to 12 hours long (Getty)
Some of the videos can be up to 12 hours long (Getty)

Why has gongbang gone viral?

Like other niche genres on the web, such as ASMR and mukbang (eating) videos, gongbang caters to those looking for a little relaxation or even some motivation for their own studies.

Particularly at the moment, when university students are largely studying from home or in isolation, studying videos such as these can help form a sense of camaraderie.

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Some of these videos have accumulated hundreds of thousands of views. Vlogger Kim Dong-min has 50,000 subscribers on YouTube and regularly posts videos of him studying - one of his most-viewed has been watched 370,000 times.

“There’s nothing special about my [videos]. I’m just grateful that the subscribers like my [videos],” Dong-min told Vice.

He said his channel has garnered more popularity during the pandemic and he started to make more of the videos last summer.

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“Because of the coronavirus, most people around the world are studying alone at home. I think my video tells them that [they] are not alone,” he added.

Who are the gongbang-ers that I should follow?

Kim Dong-min

Kim Dong-min changes up his background regularly - whether you want to study with him in a cafe or with the sound of a crackling fireplace.

Merve

Merve is a Scottish student studying International Relations at the University of Glasgow. With over 142,000 subscribers, they regularly post lengthy study with me videos with differing backgrounds.

Tan Yi

A Yale student, as well as posting study with me videos, Tanyi vlogs about student life in general.

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