Photos: LINE, Instagram
What do American pop princess Taylor Swift, South Korean pop princes EXO, and Singapore’s very own dukes Xu Bin and Aloysius Pang have in common?
They are three out of just 35 artistes in the world to have an official account on mobile messaging and social media app LINE. Today (August 18) marks the official launch of the MediaCorp and Noon Talk Media artistes’ pages, which means fans can now follow them and be notified immediately of updates from the boys, which are posted in a chatroom-like setting.
“Xu Bin and Aloysius are popular artistes that have a huge reach and affinity that are well-aligned with that of LINE users in Singapore,” said Simeon Cho, General Manager of Business Development at LINE Plus Corporation.
Both lads currently have sizeable follower counts across their official social media sites, with over 50,000 on Facebook, 30,000 on Twitter, and 150,000 on Instagram.
Followers can also look forward to interacting directly with the boys during “on-air” live chatting sessions, which will be arranged from time to time by Noon Talk. Meet-and-greet sessions and other exciting events are in the pipeline as well.
Aloysius' LINE sticker set.
Another exciting goodie in the package are LINE’s iconic “stickers”, large and quirky upgrades of the classic emoticon that depict a range of reactions. Xu Bin’s and Aloysius’ sets include expressions such as “OMG!!”, “HUH!?!” and the much more localised “SWEE!!”.
“The photoshoot (for the stickers) was pretty adorable,” said Aloysius. “We were given examples of stickers from other artistes and had to do something similar by expressing emotions based on the text we had. We sent in around 12 to 16 different pictures and LINE picked out the ones they wanted.”
His personal favourite submission is one of him scolding, “Why are you late ah?” but unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to have made the cut. (Here is where the “BO JIO!!” sticker, which did get included, comes in handy.)
LINE users can find Xu Bin’s and Aloysius’ official accounts via their IDs (@AloyPang and @XuBin).
Read on for more from our interview with the boys on this cool new gig, their social media habits (how addicted to their smartphones are they?) and more:
Xu Bin's LINE sticker set.
How do you feel about being chosen to have your own official LINE accounts, and why do you think you were picked?
Aloysius: I was surprised when I found out! Compared to (the other artistes that have official accounts), I don’t think I’m anything, so I’m very thankful for the opportunity. I have no idea why I was chosen, and it’s not something I want to think about because I just want to be happy for the chance. (laughs)
Xu Bin: It’s a huge honour. I’ve not been told any specific reason why I was chosen, but I guess it’s possible because I’m very active on social media.
How will you be compensated for this project?
Aloysius: To be honest, remunerations are a sensitive topic so whenever I get a job, I rarely talk about it with my boss (Dasmond Koh) because I trust he will fight for the best for me. So, I have no idea, and I don’t think I will ask.
Xu Bin: I’ll wait for my boss to let me know.
(When we reached out to LINE’s representatives, they stressed that their agreement is “strictly confidential”.)
How often will you update your official account?
Aloysius: For my other social media platforms, I try to update them at least once every two days (or three days if I’m too busy), so I’m hoping to do the same for LINE. Sometimes we’ll have people from Noon Talk posting on our behalf as well, but I think our LINE accounts will be more personal compared to our other sites.
Xu Bin: I don’t think I’ll have a problem posting regularly. If someone else helps to update, there will be a difference in the style of posting.
On a scale of one to 10, how addicted to social media would you say you are?
Aloysius: Frankly, I’m not really addicted at all. In fact, if I weren’t an artiste I wouldn’t even be on social media, but maybe I’ve gotten affected so I’m now at a four or five? Just average.
Xu Bin: For a non-celebrity it would be seven or eight, but as an artiste, I’d give myself a five or six. I say this because a regular person doesn’t really need to manage an account that much, but I need to be more careful about what I post.
We're sure their LINE followers can look forward to loads more selfies like these.
How often do you check social media?
Aloysius: I try to do it when I have spare time. I don’t touch my phone during work.
Xu Bin: It depends on how free I am. If I’m on set, I do it less.
Are you the kind of person who can’t live without their smartphone?
Aloysius: Oh wow, I can go without it for days! Once I was away and forgot to charge my phone so I was without it for a couple of days and it didn’t affect me that much. (laughs) To be honest, I’m a technology idiot and I’m old fashioned: I don’t play games, all I do is Google for information I need, and I’d rather call my friends than text them.
Xu Bin: I am leh! If I’m filming and have to wait around between takes, I’ll be playing with my phone or checking my social media. Once I lost my phone and I felt so restless, I got a new one as soon as I could.
Do you read and reply to fans’ comments?
Aloysius: I do read comments, but I only respond during the “live” Twitter chats I hold on special occasions like my birthday or Christmas.
Xu Bin: Sometimes I skim through but I can’t finish reading all of them, and I don’t reply because if I reply to one person, I’ll have to reply all of them!
Are you affected by negative comments from haters?
Aloysius: Not at all. If someone says I’m ugly, I can’t do anything about it. But if people criticise my acting, I’ll gladly accept it as advice.
Xu Bin: I only pay attention to encouragement and suggestions on how I can improve on my dramas.
What are some particularly memorable comments you remember?
Aloysius: Some fans comment pretty sweet things and because I’m a sucker for words, I love reading them. I love it when I open my Twitter and I receive a motivational quote from someone who doesn’t know me, but just wanted to make my day. It’s pretty nice!
Xu Bin: (Is silent for a while) I can’t think of any. [Ed’s note: Fans, time to make a (good) impression!]