Technology has played a large role in shaping modern Vietnamese popular culture. Vietnam is a country where internet and mobile phone usage is prolific. Because of this, global trends and foreign influences have had a tremendous impact of Vietnamese pop culture. In recent years, there has been a sudden increase in the consumption and production of digital media in VN. Facebook and YouTube have become popular media outlets for many Vietnamese companies. Even Vietnam's Communist government, which blocked Facebook in the past, is beginning to utilize Facebook in an attempt to reach out to a greater number of Vietnamese citizens.1
This movement to digital media has given rise to many pop culture trends. It also has allowed youth culture to blossom. In general, Vietnam has always been a conservative nation with much censorship. Digital media, however, has given young people a way in which to produce and share content that once was taboo or dismissed. In the last couple of years, I have seen a growing number of Vietnamese YouTube channels popping up that focus on producing content mainly for a young audience. The above YouTube video provides a good look into modern Vietnamese pop culture.
Sơn Tùng M-TP
The first thing that you need to know is who Sơn Tùng M-TP is. Sơn Tùng M-TP is Vietnam's most recognizable pop star. His popularity has pretty much made him a pop culture icon now. Anyone who follows Vietnamese pop music should be able to recognize that the video is a parody of Chắc Ai Đó Sẽ Về by M-TP.
Dubsmash is a mobile app that allows users to create short selfie videos dubbed with famous sounds. One popular trend in Vietnam this summer was users dubsmashing themselves to Đẹp Trai Thì Mới Có Nhiều Đứa Yêu. Đẹp Trai Thì Mới Có Nhiều Đứa Yêu originated from a news clip of a rehab patient talking about how he wanted to be a Korean pop star in order to get all the ladies. This sound clip was remixed into an EDM song, and it became an internet meme.
Another popular dubsmash song is Twerk It Like Miley. Twerk It Like Miley is a US club song that I never heard played in the US. On the other hand, it is extremely popular in Vietnam. Go figure.
Internet and Facebook usage is so prolific that social trends tend to spread quickly in Vietnam. One of the stranger trend to gain steam was the Belly Button Challenge. The Belly Button Challenge originated from the Chinese blogosphere. Having a small waist is a desirable trait in many Asian countries. Thus, the challenge is to touch your own belly button by reaching your arm around your back. Sounds kind of stupid, right? Yet, that was a thing.
It's like we live in an age of social media copycats. In the parody video, they also make fun of other social trends on Facebook like a "stop abuse" campaign that went out of control and the proliferation of gay pride avatars.
YouTube Video Pranks
Prank videos are pretty popular on YouTube, and the Kiss Cam is pretty popular at sporting events. What would happen if the Kiss Cam existed IRL? Well, you would get something like what you see below. Personally, I wouldn't want someone devaluing my precious lips. That's sexual assault! I would NOT let someone sneak up on me like that. I don't want second-hand semen.2