Army’s mentality — the psychology of the “we”

The notion of team, the word “we” can easily be put together. I and us together. One side working with the other to reach a goal, whatever it is a big one or not. The notion of team, and “we” is very often used in sports. The most heartfelt fans, whatever the results will keep seeing themselves and the team they support as an extension of themselves. We won, we lost, we didn’t do well today, we will do better next time, we could have done better.

If this phenomenon is easily visible in sports, it’s not necessarily the case in other fandoms. However, ARMY could be seen as the one exception. Way back in March 2013, even before their debut showcase on 13th of June, “teamwork makes the dream work” was popping up on the Twitter profile of BTS. And ever since, the motto has been repeated over and over again by both sides. A team, I and “you”, “we”, it’s how you can represent the two entities which are crushing the music industry like a wave, on a global scale.

It is probably because of this motto, that today, seven years after their debut, the South-Korean act is breaking records, backed by ARMY. Kim Namjoon, leader of the band, said that them and their people would end up winning. Again, the notion of “we” is coming back, the two work together, always.

This is especially true during comeback season. It’s the moment army’s mentality probably reaches its pinnacle. The most recent comeback which created history was just reminiscent of the previous ones. BTS give music to Armys, which are doing everything in their power to make it shine, since their talent and hard work deserve to be acknowledged. One part of the team gives, the other receives and gives back, like a call to receive even more next time.

This positive circle just keeps on growing, reaching new heights. And if it started slowly and reasonably, ARMY, who are seeking for talent and quality over anything, knew what their teammate was capable of.

The sense of belonging has always been there, and failures or trials did not stop it, as armys shielded over BTS and kept on working. The notion of “we” does not go, it does not disappear, mostly because armys took it upon themselves to help them break in the music industry. They want their teammate to strive, solely because it makes them happy. They want to make sure Bangtan will rise. The music is the tool given by the seven members to break the wall, and the fandom knows how to use it. From preparing goals, studying metrics and the whole music industry, they worked on the field ever since the beginning, whilst their artists were in recording studio. ARMY know what they have to do, and they are doing it. Each comeback is a new step forward, allowing the singers to write another line to their already huge purple history book.

The most recent comeback, kicked off on the 27th of July, at midnight KST, and slowly escalating until the 21st of August before fully exploding all around the world has been a perfect representation of BTS and ARMY as a “we”. It started from the way they announced it, as it embodied perfectly the notion of “you and us”.

The members came on live and told directly to their teammate that the end of August would be busy, but also filled with happiness. The intimacy between the two is unique, and no other fandoms within the music industry have such proximity. Since the members couldn’t see army, they tried to find a way to make them happy differently, to connect with them with other means. It was the purpose of Dynamite, spreading hope, serotonin, laughters, even for five minutes. Purely cathartic music.

From the moment Dynamite was released, and up until now, the teamwork has been both visible and unstoppable. The release of the song created for armys one of the most positive periods since the start of the year. And if records are fun, the prime desire among the fans is to make Bangtan as happy.

Smiling together is just better, nothing is more pleasing to armys than seeing Bangtan happy. So whilst, one side of the team has been working on the promo, the other side has been doing its job as well by enjoying the music, streaming, creating playlists, cheering for each other. And if the aim of the song was not charting nor breaking records, armys decided that it would be the case actually, to send some happiness from the whole world directly to back to Seoul. It’s how teamwork functions after all. From Europe, to the USA, through Japan, India, Australia, Middle East, South Africa, Brazil, or China, then back home in South-Korea, the whole world has been there.

During the whole first week, the main aim was making history, making sure Min Yoongi would get what he asked for, making sure “But what will happen if Bangtan Sonyeondan advances?” would have a few more answers. Taking Dynamite on the very top of the Billboard Hot100 was the least armys could do, to thank their teammate for everything they did. And once it was achieved, the team spirit spoke once again. We did it together. It was not a one-sided work, but a proper teamwork. Just like in sports, they won together, they did it together, and even if armys hadn’t reached their own goal, they would have still won together. They would have won simply because the actual purpose of the song was reached. Millions, of armys felt happier, lighter, and forgot for a while what was happening around them. This is the purpose of Bangtan’s music after all.

Armys were the first ones in the line when it came to the thank-you tour, it’s only natural to thank your teammate first. All the members thanked them first, and seeing how happy they were, Armys were even happier. On that Monday, when the news dropped, tears kept on coming, but it was joyful tears. Thoughts of the past, thoughts of the history being written under their eyes, thoughts of being part of a milestone, pride, joy. A storm of emotions engulfed armys’ chests and the ones of Bangtan too. It meant so much to the whole team, we won. Together. Winning together is always more meaningful, impactful and greater. It strengthens the bonds, and it just makes the team even stronger, tougher.

Without that component, without the “we”, the two of them wouldn’t be in the place they are right now. They all have big dreams, but it’s simply by remaining “we” that they achieved them, and will continue to do so. On the other hand, it’s only natural for armys to give back, to keep on working for the people they believe in. BTS are giving them so much, that they must repay them. In the end, it’s easy to work for the people you trust, for those who made a rule of being honest and true to their art like BTS. Since day one, it’s how BTS and Armys have been functioning, and they will continue. Records will continue to come, but they will be collateral damage, more than a goal. The art will always be above it all.

Accompanied by the music, Armys will keep on walking along the same path, they will win with BTS, they will continue to push as long as they have to, they will face challenges, they will face hardships. But the “we” will remain, it comes with being an army, it’s part of who they are. The virtuous circle will continue, for as long as both teammate are in.

Just like in sports, supporters will be there, the “we” prevails, no matter the results, since ultimately, it often goes deeper than that. The sense of belonging and whole emotional connection we found within ARMY ranks just reflects with what we can find within sport fandoms. Day or night, the voices will keep on being loud, the love will keep on pouring. As the Dynamite era keeps on being supported by the most powerful team within the music industry, the two teammates silently prepare their next game, with a happy smile, but with a lot of hunger still. And in the meantime, “teamwork makes the dream work” will continue to be their motto, never redundant, but more as a reminder of why they are constantly winning.

~ Yeah we are not seven, with you

Rambling. Mostly. At @prodsonyeondan on Twitter.

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