South Korean Grandmother Gains Following on YouTube

Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. join the ranks / dʒɔɪn ðə ræŋks / (idiom) – to be included in a group of people

    Mr. and Mrs. Walters joined the ranks of senior citizens who are active social media users.

  2. on the side / ɒn ðə saɪd / (idiom) – aside from a person’s main occupation

    Samira is a high school teacher, but she is a blogger on the side.

  3. rise to fame / raɪz tə feɪm / (idiom) – to turn into someone or something popular

    Dylan rose to fame after his YouTube video became viral.

  4. travelogue / ˈtræv əˌlɔg, -ˌlɒg / (n) – a record of a traveler’s experiences

    We brought a camera so we could make a travelogue of our vacation.

  5. following / ˈfɒl oʊ ɪŋ / (n) – a group of people who follow someone who is popular

    The blogger gained a following of over 500,000 in just six months.


Read the text below.

The star of the YouTube channel “Grandma’s Diary,” Park Mak-rye, has joined the ranks of popular YouTubers.

Park is a 70-year-old South Korean who runs a restaurant and produces YouTube videos on the side. She has more than 277,000 YouTube subscribers and over 108,000 Instagram followers.

Park rose to fame partly because of her granddaughter, 27-year-old Kim Yura. Kim initially thought that making videos could help her grandmother avoid dementia, so she documented their vacation in Australia. There, Park can be seen doing things like petting a kangaroo, swimming, and diving.

Kim uploaded the video travelogue because she wanted Park to learn how to communicate online. Surprisingly, it became viral. Park’s channel now includes makeup tutorials and videos of activities that she tries to do.

According to culture studies professor Lee Taekgwang, one reason why people adore Park is that she humorously discusses issues that most hesitate to talk about. For example, she has unashamedly talked about her lack of education and has commented on the promises of cosmetic companies.

Park is not the only senior who has gained a following in YouTube. For example, 80-year-old Shirley Curry, also known as “Gamer Grandma,” has over 200,000 subscribers. She has impressed her followers with her gaming skills, which she has been passionate about since the 1990s. She also believes in playing video games to maintain an active mind.

Another one is 66-year-old Charles Green of the “Angry Grandpa Show.” He is known for telling life stories in an angry manner. He also pulls pranks and rants about various things. People find his content entertaining, with his channel boasting over 3 million subscribers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What makes an online celebrity popular (e.g. content, style, personality)? Give details.
• In your opinion, what is the appeal of elderly YouTubers to younger viewers?

Discussion B

• Is it necessary for the elderly to be tech-savvy? Why or why not?
• What are the major reasons why older people hesitate to use the Internet? Explain your answer.

Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment