Communities and Social Media

TikTok social networking device promoting activism amongst young people.


Young people from all over the world are downloading TikTok on their mobile devices in the hopes to find a creative method of freely expressing themselves and engaging in online activist communities. Through the use of socio-technical features, TikTok has created a Third space for members of youth to form individual identities through communication and collaboration with other users. The purpose of this paper is to further examine how and why TikTok is encouraging teenagers to take part in such communities.

Almost all social media platforms provide a video sharing function. However, TikTok is a microblogging application in which its primary focus is the sharing of short looping videos. Young people are now able to publish and disseminate anything with the wide variety of edits available on the app. The TikTok application is free to download in the Apple, Android, and Amazon app stores. The user can decide how much they wish to engage with users, it is possible to view and search on the app without having an account, but as with all social media applications, an account is required if the user wants full engagement (Anderson, 2020, p.9). Dominated by young people, TikTok has recently gained much attention for its ability to allow teens to express themselves and what matters to them (Bogle & Edarki, 2019). TikTok is supporting the change of digital communities to facilitate users to connect, communicate, and manage these community-based relationships. TikTok is allowing young people from all around the world to develop shared perspectives and combine their voices to form an activist community. This paper examines the ways in which TikTok facilitates the self-expression, identity formation, and user engagement of young people and their ability to form activist communities within the app.

Two affordances of social networking sites, persistent contact and pervasive awareness, are conducting fundamental change to the structure of modern community (Hampton, 2016, p. 1). The socio-technical structure of TikTok conforms to both theories of persistent contact and pervasive awareness. TikTok enables persistent contact by allowing people to articulate their association and maintain contact over time (Hampton, 2016, p. 10). The app allows its users to communicate from person-to-network. It affords persistence as it is a free application, supporting hundreds of millions of users through broadcasting person-to-network contact (Hampton, 2016, p. 11). Contact can be maintained without drawing from the time and resources required to maintain social ties through other forms of communication. The ambient nature of TikTok triggers pervasive awareness. It is the product of the person-to-network communication that enables persistent contact and the social structure that typifies such contact (Hampton, 2016, p. 11). Most typically seen in microblogging platforms such as TikTok, the content of messages that contribute to pervasive awareness are more likely to be described as important matters, including political, environmental, or equality inspired content. Pervasive awareness stimulates the exchange of knowledge between the youth of TikTok relevant to the activities, interests, locations and opinions of these social ties (Hampton, 2016, p. 11). TikTok has introduced widespread affordances for persistent contact and pervasive awareness that have aided in the support of activist communities on the platform.

According to Porter (2015), members of youth are encouraged to establish and maintain a network of relations on the TikTok application through utilising the “socio-technical features” that are provided (Porter, 2015, p. 165). Encouraging users to connect, communicate, and manage community-based relationships is the core purpose of TikTok (Porter, 2015, p.165). Like many other social networking sites, TikTok is a video based platform. However, its abilities to connect users prove to be very different to other social networking sites. Katie Anderson (2020) describes the app as a “virtual playground” as it conducted more as a creative form of media rather than a social form of media (Anderson, 2020, p.8). TikTok connects users through these creative videos that express their similar interests, allowing them to communicate with one another. For example, after creating an account, the user will be asked to select what interests them from a specific list featuring various genres (Anderson, 2020, p.8). The ‘Discover’ page brings up trending videos and provides a search bar enabling users to look for hashtags, sounds and users. A user may search a political topic such as “Black Lives Matter” which will then display videos associated with the key words. If a user finds interest in a hashtag or sound while watching a video, clicking on the hashtag or sound icon will take them to similar videos using the same hashtag or sound. It is also simple to follow like-minded others, users can swipe left on a video to view the authors profile and follow if the account appeals to them. Perhaps the apps most important feature is that it is primarily algorithm-driven platform which enables TikTok to connect like-minded users. TikTok utilising algorithmic intelligence in the default video feed labelled the “For You” page. The videos that are displayed on a user’s “For You” page are entirely dependent on what kinds of videos they often watch, what kinds of videos they swipe past, and what videos they like or save. A TikTok video from a user can quickly and easily gain an audience despite who may follow them (Anderson, 2020, p.9). For example, Meissa Mason (known on TikTok as is a 20-year-old Wiradjuri, Gomeroi and Awabakal woman who is utilising the connection capabilities of TikTok to educate others on issues relating to gender equality and First Nations people. Mason is able to like-minded young people all over the country through her use of popular sounds and hashtags relative to her concerns.

Previously, parents were advised to constantly monitor the digital movements of their children (Green, 2020, p. 10). In more recent times, social networking sites are becoming an area for many groups of like-minded youth to connect and communicate with one another without the burden of parent supervision (Boyd, 2007, p. 132). Teenagers have begun to find that online spaces are the only areas in which they can find freedom to safely express themselves. Despite the concerns surrounding the safety of youth on social platforms, they are using social networking sites without parental supervision and will continue to do so. Bers, Doyle-Lynch & Chau (2012, p. 131) point out that in order to encourage youth to use these sites in better ways, they must be presented with educational opportunities to construct their sense of identity as having an agency toward promoting changes in their own selves and society. TikTok provides youth the ability to explore intrapersonal characteristics (such as competence, confidence, and character) and interpersonal characteristics (such as caring, connection, and contribution) that promotes relationships and supports community engagement (Bers, Doyle-Lynch & Chau, 2012, p. 131). Additionally, platforms such as TikTok allow members of youth from all around the world to develop shared perspectives and combine their voices to form an activist community (Green, 2020, p. 9). For example, the hashtag #ForClimate currently has over 553 million views on TikTok and asks users to “share how you’re going to make a difference” (TikTok, 2021). Videos of teens from all around the world can be seen posting videos featuring the #ForClimate hashtag. This provides persuasive evidence that applications such as TikTok can connect young people of different cultural contexts, and of young people’s capability to self-organise and collaborate within activist communities.

One of the main motivations for users to use social networking sites such as TikTok is to form an identity and express that identity to others (Porter, 2015, p. 165). Young teens are modelling identity on TikTok so that they can write themselves and their community into being (Boyd, 2007, p. 127). This process of self-expression supports critical peer-based sociality, social networking sites such as TikTok are providing teens with a space to explore their identity and status, make sense of social cues, and navigate public communities (Boyd, 2007, p. 127). TikTok is visual platform, where the appearance of users serve as a critical site of identity performance. The user may use their body to project a message and convey certain information about themselves through choices in movement, clothes, speech, and facial expressions (Boyd, 2007, p. 128). Another aspect of user identity performance is the development of the profile page. While profiles are curated through a series of generic forms, there is still the possibility to manipulate the page in order for self-expression. TikTok allows for very little information on user profile pages, the focus is instead on the collection of videos displayed under the profile information. Engagement is another aspect of a user’s identity performance. TikTok equips users with various tools for engagement which in turn enables self-expression, relationship building, pleasure, and the sharing of information amongst a community (Porter, 2015, p. 168). The following of trends is a major way in which members of youth are seen to be engaging with one another. Users find inspiration from other users videos and will frequently replicate the actions seen in that video to suit their own issues or ideas  – that may be a challenge, popular dance, or comedy sketch. There are various socio-technical features that allow for this level of engagement on the app. Firstly, reacting is essentially answering the viewed video with a video of one’s own. The original video can be seen in a small box on the screen, allowing the audience to see both the reaction and the original video. Similarly, the duet option splits the screen in half for a simultaneous and co-ordinated or comparison performance. Another feature of the TikTok app is that each video is paired with a soundtrack that can be used by other users. These features are all very specific and unique to the application and its high levels of engagement. For example, Quenlin Blackwell, 20 year old from Dallas Texas, uses her platform on TikTok to draw to social justice through the use of sardonic humour. She most commonly reacts to and/or duets racially offensive videos made by other users. She does so in a way which is light hearted and funny often making jokes at her own expense. Quenlin currently has a total of 6.4M followers on TikTok and through utilising the engaging features the app provides, created a community of like-minded youth on her page.

The well know platform TikTok is supporting the change of digital communities by conforming to Hamptons theories of persistent contact and pervasive awareness. In saying this, the application has proven to be a unique way for users to engage online and form various communities. It does so through its socio-technical features that encourage users to connect, communicate, and manage these community-based relationships. Teenagers have found that online spaces are a great way of freely expressing themselves. Thus, we can say that platforms such as TikTok allow young people from all around the world to develop shared perspectives and combine their voices to form an activist community. One of the main motivations for users to use social networking sites such as TikTok is to form an identity and express that identity to others. This process of self-expression supports critical peer-based sociality, social networking sites such as TikTok are providing teens with a space to explore their identity and status, make sense of social cues, and navigate public communities. TikTok equips users with various tools for engagement which in turn enables self-expression, relationship building, pleasure, and the sharing of information amongst a community. In conclusion, it is evident that the social networking site TikTok is a primary example of how social media sites facilitate activism amongst online communities.


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41 thoughts on “TikTok social networking device promoting activism amongst young people.

  1. Hi Claudia,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your paper, as a non TikTok user – I found this information quite insightful and informative. I personally think it is amazing how TikTok is supporting the change of digital communities by conforming to Hamptons theories of persistent contact and pervasive awareness as you stated. It is a great safe space for users to form their own identities, be able to express themselves and provide valuable information about social change.

    I have found an interesting article by Hannah Price from BBC about this social movement:

    Do you believe it is quite hard for TikTok users to promote social change and global social issues when it can be quite controversial for some people? For example, the acceptance of abortion vs the Catholic church and their opposite beliefs? I am sure there are users on TikTok that are still against abortion.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on my paper which is about Social Media Influencers contributing to identity formation:

    1. Hey Celine,

      I do believe it can be quite hard for TikTok users to promote social change and global social issues due to the controversial nature of such topics. Most topics that are promoted by activists communities can be considered somewhat controversial. There are always going to be groups who don’t see eye to eye on certain topics. Then again, it depends on how far a user delves into a certain topic and to what extent they promote their beliefs. It also depends on how express their opinions. For example, whether they express their opinions with assertiveness/aggression or with an open minded/respectful nature.

      I’ll be sure to have a look at your paper. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hi Claudia, this is well-written and to a certain extent I agree with your overall position regarding the beneficial use of TikTok for youth’s self-exploration, expressing one-self, and engaging with a wider-community of those with similar views.
    However, one main thought that only allows me to only agree your position to a certain extent are the many-present negative impact of youth’s use of TikTok. Yes, it is true that children can manage to build their identity based on their exposure online, TikTok, however, in critical ages of a child’s development (5-18 years old) that base their identity from what they are exposed to online can be harmful. This is harmful as because adolescence prioritise acceptance from peers, society, and portraying image of themselves that are “desirable”, this will most likely lead them to thoughts and questions such as “who am i?”, “do i need to be like that to be liked?”, “how do i prove my relevancy in society?”, “do i need to have a certain political view to fit in society?”, questions that are found in children with identity confusion by a psychological researcher Elsayed in 2017. These questions that build up their identity from he exposure online can be detrimental psychologically, socially and emotionally. In short, this allows the failure of an authentic self-identity in children as the rise of social role disorder and confusion of identity may overwhelm.
    Nonetheless, it is agreeable that TikTok aids the identification of oneself, but do you suppose that it is also to a larger extent that the psychological downside of children’s huge exposure to social media whether it is for self-identification, self-exploration, and connection?

    1. Hi Alexandre,

      I understand where you’re coming from when you say teens prioritise acceptance from their peers and society. However, I believe questions such as “who am I?”, “do I need to do that to be liked?”, and “how do I prove my relevancy in society?” are felt by everyone at some stage during their teenage years. I also believe these types of questions aren’t exclusive to online platforms, but are fundamentally part of becoming an adult and figuring out where we fit in society and how we perceive ourselves.

      I believe that too much exposure of any one thing can have negative effects on someone’s mental health. Finding a balance on social media is vital in its use so that we can benefit from the opportunities these platforms provide. For example, after remaining on TikTok for a long period of time, an alert will pop up reminding the user to take a break from the application. I hope this answers some of your questions.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Hi Claudia.
    I loved your paper on activism on TikTok and I love the platform itself. I just have one question I would like to put to you.
    What do you think is the major difference between TikTok and other platforms, Twitter for example, that engages people in activism? Users could use any platform to promote activism, but what is it that make TikTok the best? Remember the time Twitter was the platform for political opinion? Why didn’t activism take off on Twitter?
    Its so interesting! Well done 🙂

    1. Hey Yana!

      I think the major difference between TikTok and other social networking sites such as Twitter is that TikTok uses social technical features that enable a unique way of conveying and consuming information. The connection capabilities within the TikTok app are varied and are quite different from other social networking sites. Communication within the application is built on young teens’ similar interests performed within a video format where teens focus on creating content as a way of self-expression rather than connecting with friends or friends of friends through statuses and stories (Anderson, 2020, p.2). I still believe platforms such as Twitter are great for expressing political opinions, but i believe the virality of TikTok and its larger teen audience makes TikTok a better site for activism amongst youth.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hi Claudia, I really enjoyed your paper. It discusses about the benefits of the Tik Tok platform. Tik Tok is a platform where many teenagers and adults are free to express themselves, their dance moves, make up tutorial, singing, acting performance, etc. In short, you see all kind of stuffs on Tik Tok. This platform has also made a lot of people famous and they have an income out of it. For example, Dixie Damelio or Adison Rae. They became famous thanks to Tik Tok and they have endorsed many products.
    They have even made songs which have gained millions of views on YouTube, but however, I believed that they are too overrated. Personally, I’ve found better artists with really good lyrics. I’m not saying that their songs were bad, but I’ve gained conscious that the reason they have gained a lot of audience is because they are good looking and famous. But what about the other artists?

    Another point I would like to say is that I am myself a user of Tik Tok and I find this platform very entertaining. But however I could also notice that there are a lot of haters on this platform. For example, creating a content and talking openly about your sexual life could get you a lot of hate comments. Not all people are open minded, and they would get a bad image about you. So at a certain extent, one is not really free to express himself.

    1. Hey Noodhish,

      I understand where you’re coming from when you say there are haters on TikTok. And you’re right! Not everyone is always open minded, especially when it comes to certain social and political issues. However, I do still think that people are free to express themselves on social media platforms regardless of whether that user will receive hate for their opinion. Sometimes hateful comments inspire further conversation and have the potential to be resolved.

      Thanks for your comment. All the best.

  5. Hi Claudia,

    Well done on an interesting paper discussing the benefits of the TikTok platform. The way that TikTok allows communities to form online is something I also discuss in my paper.

    I was struck by your comment “teenagers have begun to find that online spaces are the only areas in which they can find freedom to safely express themselves”. Do you think it is safe for teenagers to express themselves freely on TikTok or other social media platforms?

    I ask this because a lot of the research I have done in this area has stated that social media platforms are not always safe places, especially for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC individuals. In fact the recently published GLAAD Social Media Safety Index (2021) found that Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok were “categorically unsafe across the board” (Ellis, 2021, as cited in HBO, 2021, 0:45) for the LGBTQ+ community.

    I am interested to hear more of why you think these social media spaces are the only place where teenagers can feel safe to be themselves? Are online spaces any more safe then offline spaces?




    GLAAD. (2021, May 10). Social Media Safety Index. GLAAD.

    HBO. (2021, May 9). Axios on HBO: GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis on Social Media Safety (Clip) | HBO. YouTube.

    1. Hey Maddy!

      I fully understand what you mean when you say TikTok and other social media sites are not always safe spaces. I do think it’s safe for teens to express themselves on these sites – however like any physical space, online spaces open up opportunities for hate and bullying. The more people you reach, the higher the risk of hate and bullying. So i think the safety of the space is mostly up to the user and how they wish to build their account and if this kind of hate/bullying affects them or not. No social media platform is built to encourage bad behaviour and they have strategies in place for preventing such behaviour.

      I think online spaces are safer because of these strategies. Of course, you can make your account private and only allow for certain people to follow you, and you can also block and report users amongst other things. In offline spaces, there is no way of simply blocking someone. I also feel like bullying and hate offline is a lot more real and personal.

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Hi Claudia, a great paper you have written! Really easy to read and understand your stance, and like others have said, it’s good to see a positive outlook on TikTok. I completely agree with your discussion points regarding social issues, such as racism, as I strongly believe that TikTok can truly be an educational tool for some. However, one area which I’ve always questioned about TikTok is their age restrictions and community guidelines, as countless amounts of parenting blogs have highlighted that Tiktok videos do not get manually approved before they are published, but are actually filtered through an algorithm to coincide with their ‘community guidelines’. In saying this, it has been seen that inappropriate and even illegal content has been published onto the app, and that some users have even managed to formulate ways to evade the content filters (Wilmoth, 2020).

    Did you have any thoughts on this? Especially in regards to social issues like you mentioned, as some of this content can be extremely raw and confronting, which can be inappropriate for those of such a young age who are now being seen as a new market for this app.

    Great paper though, should be proud of your efforts! Regards, Caitlin

    1. Hey Catlin,

      Thanks for your comment! You’ve made a really interesting point about the age restrictions and community guidelines on TikTok. According to TikTok Community Guidelines (2020), TikTok prioritises safety, diversity, inclusion, and authenticity. TikTok encourages users to celebrate what makes them unique and viewers to engage in what inspires them; creating a safe environment on TikTok helps everyone express themselves openly. The community guidelines on TikTok define a set of norms and common code of conduct for the use of the application; they provide guidance on what is and is not allowed to make a welcoming space for everyone. The community guidelines apply to everyone and everything on TikTok. TikTok also proactively enforces these guidelines through using a mix of technology and human moderation before content gets reported to them. They also encourage community members to use the tools provided to report any content they believe violates the community guidelines. TikTok will remove any content – including video, audio, livestream, images, comments, and text – that violates these guidelines. They even will go to the extent of suspending or banning accounts that are involved in severe or repeated violations. Like other applications, you would hope that the users trying to evade the content filters get reported and brought to justice.

      TikTok requires that users be at least 13 years old to use the full TikTok experience. Additionally, anyone under the age of 18 must have the approval of a parent or guardian. TikTok also gives parents the option to control how their kids use the app. Thanks to ‘family pairing’, parents/guardians can link their children’s accounts to their own and can turn on the restricted content mode and set screen time limits.

      As such, I believe that TikTok has done everything in their power to prevent younger audiences and children from being confronted with raw and inappropriate imagery.

      Thanks again!

  7. Hello Claudia, great content. It is true that nowadays people have downloaded TikTok on their smartphones, this was especially during the lockdown. TikTok has now become a platform where a plethora of people are enjoying themselves by doing creative and self videos. I have personally started using the app, just to watch videos to pass time which I find very interesting. Thanks for your paper I really enjoyed reading it.

    1. Thank you Tiloshna!

      I also downloaded TikTok about a year ago during the start of lockdown. At first it was to pass time but I now enjoy learning creative new things from other users. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my paper.

  8. Claudia,
    I had only considered Tik Tok before in regards to the dance and music videos it is popular for. I hadn’t thought of how it was another form of media promoting activism and giving young people a platform to use their voice. A powerful tool when they can feel marginalised and ignored within society due to their age.
    I’m interested in how Tik Tok connects like-minded users and whether this has the capacity to produce an echo chamber of like-minded videos and a failure to expose the youth to a variety of differing opinions and ideas. Does the platform allow for users to explore and discover new content or does this become difficult to achieve?

    I think of how I see this with Netflix. I’m suggested content based on my previous viewings but yet hear conversations from colleagues who have viewed a movie or TV program that doesn’t easily appear in my feed, instead, I may need to search for it. This is the result of algorithms making decisions on what I would like and then I find myself watching the same types of movies. If I was a Tik Tok user who liked to watch dance videos, would I easily see the conversations happening around #ForClimate or would I not see it unless I looked for it or were already interested in similar content?

    This type of algorithm decision-making can also be experienced with the music streaming services that can result in the listener experiencing similar types of music which they enjoy but possibly missing out on hearing something new and different that could appeal to them. This can occur particularly if they are a passive listener who lets the streaming service push suggestions rather than avidly exploring what’s available.
    For more information on this topic please read my paper on the music fandom community:

    1. Hey Carolyn,

      The TikTok algorithm allows for users to explore and discover new content on their ‘For You’ page. Users can also discover new information on the ‘Discover’ page. Although TikTok mostly provides users with information related to what they have previously liked and saved, it doesn’t prohibit them from discovering new ideas and creative expressions.

      Major topics like #ForClimate would still appear on your For You page. TikTok constantly exposes users to new trends and lets them decide if they want to participate in further exploration or If they simply want to swipe past the video.

      I will be sure to check out your paper. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Hi Claudia!

    I have done my paper on a very similar topic to yours, heres the link if you’d like to read:

    I particularly liked your discussion throughout surrounding TikTok becoming an oasis for teens. A safe space they feel they can express themselves and how that has also become a place for them to share their thoughts and common perspectives forming communities of advocacy and activism.

    I have found it really insightful since researching this topic myself, the ability TikTok has to become a third place for its users and the sense of community that can be created when these platforms are utilised the right way.

    I am curious to know your thoughts on whether or not you think TikTok has longevity in its popularity and if it can outlast other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook and become a real advocacy platform for the distant future?

    I really enjoyed reading your paper, well done!

    1. Hey Bonnie!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my paper. TikTok was launched in 2016 and has since become immensely popular. I think TikTok is an ever changing platform that easily adapts itself to the wants and needs of its users. TikTok is very unique platform in comparison to other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. In saying this, I think TikTok will continue to be a popular platform amongst young activist communities.

      Thanks for your comment.

  10. Hi Claudia,

    This was a fantastic paper and topic! I was really interested to read how Tiktok is helping the younger generation express and form opinions on their own and without bias sources such as their parents views. I too believe it is a great platform for self expression and activism of which i have already seen in the last few years of having it.

    I have some questions in relation to this paper. Do you think that this could be a bad thing and that this freedom for opinion could end badly? Do you also think that Tiktok might become less of a creative space and more of a political place?

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your paper and the sources used were great to help back up your agrument!

    1. Hey Jasmine,

      Those are some really interesting points you bring up. I don’t think freedom of speech is a bad thing, but I suppose it could ignite sensitive topics. TikTok supports a range of genres to suit all audiences. I don’t believe it will ever become less of a creative space. I say this because when political topics are brought to light, they are conveyed in the creative manner that TikTok encourages.

      Thanks for your comment!

  11. Hi Claudia,

    A very well written paper, highlighting some interesting points about TikTok and the individual’s identity. TikTok has blown up at a rapid pace, and I believe this is greatly due to the timing of its launch with the global Covid-19 pandemic. People going into isolation suddenly provided them with excess free time and elevated bordem. A perfect concoction for the launch of a social/entertainment app. People embraced the platform very quickly, and then began the rollout of trends.

    TikTok is a prime example of online communities and also a prime demonstration of modern participatory culture. Users are motivated to recreate / reenact global trends, which contributes towards a feeling of inclusivity. Others discovered niche fan segments, forming their own smaller communities within the app.

    The app grants for “instant pleasure” with short videos and an easy-scrolling interface. This appeals to a large audience as attention spans are shortening and people want instant satisfaction. Tiktok has many creative tools and features available for users to edit their content with, which are constantly being refreshed and updated. This maintains excitement on the platform and motivates new trends/ideas. The platform definitely encourages creativity and intuitive thinking which I think is great.

    I agree with what you said in your paper about Tiktok being great for youth in particular being able to associate with like-minded people. The app allows for expression which allows people to build their online identity.

    1. Hey Matthew,

      I really appreciate your comment and I’m glad you agree that TikTok is a prime example of online communities and modern participatory culture.

      Thank you!

  12. Hi Claudia!

    I enjoyed reading your paper as it is very relevant to the topic my paper is on. Tiktok has emerged so quickly and has become such a big platform for people to discuss topics and learn new things in an interesting and engaging way. Teens and adolescences aren’t going to go out of their way to read random articles about interesting and importing topics, so a short engaging video clip shown on one of their social media platforms is a great way to share important topics.

    I believe TikTok can also be a very dangerous and scary platform also, as I am sure you have seen all of the millions of hate comments that get spread around the app, but if users are smart enough to not engage in that sort of behaviour, then it is an amazing platform.

    I’m interested to know what your favourite trends or topics that are discussed on TikTok are?

    If you are interested in reading my paper, I would love to hear what you think:

    1. Hi Jules,

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading my paper. I completely agree that TikTok can be a scary platform but it’s all about being smart and using the platform appropriately. I have recently enjoyed watching cooking videos made by people from various cultural backgrounds explaining their unique struggles/hurdles moving to western countries. These videos mostly talk about the importance of staying true to your culture – which in this case is done by cooking amazing foods and sharing these recipes with others!

      Thanks for your comment I’ll be sure to read your paper.

  13. Hi Claudia!
    This was a great paper! It is amazing how an app that is mainly based on short videos can bring communities together and can be a place for people to express themselves (although it can be quite cringeworthy at times). However, Tiktok is an app with billions of users with different ideas and opinions and I do believe that some content that is posted can actually bring division among people. Like other social media platforms it can also be used to spread misinformation and false hope to people, like videos on how to make a lot of money easily. It seems to be difficult to differentiate what is real or fake on the platform at times and users, many being quite young, can be quite gullible to deceiving content.

    On a more positive note, I agree with you that Tiktok can be a great space for people to raise awareness on global issues like marine pollution because videos can easily go viral. Users can even offer solutions to such problems and influence others to do their part.

    Thanks for this good read

    1. Hey Luc,

      Sadly, I do agree with the point you make about differentiating between what is real and fake on the platform as misinformation can be easily spread. When presented with information online, it is always important to do your own research on the topic before acting out or speaking publicly about it. People don’t always mean to intentionally spread misinformation, which is why educating ourselves is very important in preventing this from happening.

      Thanks for your kind words.

  14. Hi Claudia!

    I really enjoyed reading your paper and you brought up some really good arguments! TikTok has climbed its way to become one of the largest social media platforms with one of the largest engagement in terms of users, especially with the younger generation. As I’ve only seen TikTok from an entertainment aspect, I was always skeptical of this app and how it influences kids today as the content formed on TikTok may not always be appropriate for the kids on it today. However, your essay has got me thinking about the influence it has in terms of activism and maybe it does contribute to society in a more positive way than I thought.

    You’ve mentioned how TikTok has promoted activism among the younger generation, and, I think this is a great topic. However, do you think the activism promoted on TikTok is as influential to the younger generation as it should be?

    1. Hi Saranya,

      I’m really glad to hear that my paper has got you thinking about TikTok being more of a contributor to society than you previously thought. I think the younger generations of today’s society are vital in shaping the future of how the world will be. As a result, they are more aware of certain topics such as environmentalism and equality. For this reason, I think TikTok should continue to be influential to younger audiences.

      Thanks for your comment.

  15. Hello Claudia

    A very interesting read. TikTok has undeniably captured a big market is the latest fad among young Millennials and Gen Z where they can freely express themselves using short videos. A user-friendly platform, kids like my sister are perpetually creating videos, editing, uploading, and actively interacting in the TiKTok community. TikTok offers a platform for users to express and share their creativity and opinion. Not a TiKTok user myself, I was not aware of the activist communities on TiKTok, which I think is a great way for youth to get connected to and be aare of social causes. TikTok like all other social media platforms has its own risks that young people can be exposed to but awareness of responsible use and monitoring by adults is what is required.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Kanishk,

      I’m glad you got to learn more about the activist communities on TikTok. You’re exactly right, social media platforms have their risks but awareness of responsible use and monitoring by adults is most definitely what is required.

      Thanks for your comment.

  16. Hey Claudia !

    I enjoyed reading your paper and it is good to see some positivity regarding such platform. It is great to see that many users are engage in online activist communities, where there is also the aspect of the participatory culture. As you mentioned in your paper, TikTok is supporting the change of digital communities to facilitate users to connect, communicate, and manage these community-based relationships. For example, TikTok users are using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag on the app for social advocacy, providing tips on how to protest safely, sharing educational resources and speaking out on racial injustice. Others have used the platform to speak candidly about race and how being black has affected their lives whether in terms of relationships, in school or in encounters with the police.

    However, in spite of the fact that TikTok acts as a great platform for entertainment, it also harms its audience and this is a very important aspect to take this into consideration. For example, some of the audience use the platform to criticise people’s videos and discourage them for their efforts and struggles. It also results in a poor impact on emotional wellness that may cause life-threatening scenarios. TikTok additionally boosts competitive content, which goes viral. It is sometimes quite unsafe for various reasons. There have been several situations where users have experimented with creating self-harm or harming other people due to TikTok videos.

    Furthermore, I am quite unsure about your argument where you mentioned ” One of the main motivations for users to use TikTok is form an identity and express that identity to others”. Do you mean that users are creating a specific identity for TikTok whereby they are not showcasing their authentic self? Or, are they stimulating portrayals of their identities by adapting and adjusting to fake ones?

    Thank you Claudia for this paper. Overall, TikTok is a great app if it is used in a positive way. In fact, it is only our carelessness and poor decision-making that makes it look useless and harmful sometimes.

    Awaiting for your reply !

    1. Hey Yovan!

      I appreciate the depth of your comment. You bring up a very real and interesting point in regards to the dangers of TikTok. Sharing social and political views online is in fact a highly delicate matter. TikTok enables users to share these views with a very wide audience on a global scale – unfortunately that level of reach and exposure makes room for positive but also negative critique. This is also the reality on not only TikTok but many other social networking sites. However, each TikTok user is able to choose their level of engagement – meaning it is their choice whether they open themselves up to giving and receiving hate online. TikTok gives users the opportunity to make their profiles private. Additionally, a user may remove the ability for other users to comment on their posts if need be. The most obvious way to prevent digital hate is through blocking which is also an option on TikTok. I don’t think the issues you mentioned are specific only to TikTok, but are relevant to all social networking sites.

      Yes, i believe that one of the main motivations for users to use TikTok is in fact to form an identity and express that identity to others. Whether that digital identity is an accurate portrayal of that person’s particular identity, or an adaption of what they wish people to see them as. Identity formation is not a fixed singular representation of who we are—instead we all have many facets to who we are, and how we display these parts of our identity will depend on who and where we are interacting. I don’t think just because a user wishes to represent themself in a different light online, that then means they are being dishonest or fake. I think it is quite unlikely that many users are able to be 100% authentic online, as we all construct our social accounts to portray us how we wish to be seen by others.

      As you said perfectly, it is most definitely our carelessness and poor decision-making that makes social media platforms appear useless and harmful at times. Nonetheless, i stand by the fact that above all else, TikTok brings users together and creates communities within the application.

  17. Hi Claudia,

    I like how the youths in this generation being activism due to the advancement of social media. I have some of my friends who are using TikTok too. Nowadays, being a content creator can be a proper job too. And I will like to say that social media had given us a way to express our feelings and voices to the public. Back then, we do not have the privilege to voice out but now we do. And nowadays the youths are feeling that if they do not follow some of the trends like TikTok, they will be outdated and cannot participate in some of their groups.

    1. Hey Eric!

      I completely agree and being able to express our feelings and voices to the public is so important. Platforms like TikTok are enabling us to do so. I however slightly disagree with your last point. I think teens are quite influenced by one other, and with the popularity of TikTok on the rise, they are able to use the platform to create shared interests within their social groups. I don’t think that necessarily means they will be excluded from their social group for not having TikTok. If so, i believe that’s due to the people they are surrounded by not the platform itself.

  18. Hey! This is great and so true to our society of youth in today’s generation! Tik tok is definitely the new platform, which inspires creativity, self-identification and self-expression. My piece focuses on the #notallmenbutallwomen movement and can definitely relate to your paper along the lines of utilising social media for activism, with many youth getting involved on the movement via sharing posts to their instagram stories, creating their own posts or even as simple as liking a post! I’ve linked it if you would like to have a read and discuss it further!

    1. Hey there,

      Glad to see you liked and agreed with my paper. Your paper sounds super interesting and I’ll be sure to have a look.

  19. Hi Claudia,
    I found your paper interesting and well-written. It is heartening to know that young people want to participate in activism and make the world a better place. It is easy to see how online platforms are able to connect, share and express their opinions. In my paper below, I discovered that LGBTQIA+ teens use social media to call out homophobia and “haters” while providing support for each other.

    Do you think online protests are the future of activism, especially in the times of Covid where meeting on person can be difficult?

    1. Hey Tiffany,

      Glad to hear you found my paper interesting. To answer your question, yes, I most definitely think online protests are the future of activism. I still think in-person protests are very important, but due to Covid-19 meeting up and protesting can be extremely difficult and unethical.

      Thanks for your comment.

  20. Hi Claudia, I enjoyed reading your paper and I due agree that Tiktok is the platform for people to form identity and express the identity to others and it is a truth that Tiktok nowadays become one of the most-used application for teenagers and adult due to their unique feature. In addition, rather than obtaining information from a long video which can be a little bit boring for some people, Tiktok’s feature offers their user to make a content to create a details information in a shorter length video . To what extent do you agree or disagree?

    and the second question is, do you in your own view think in the future Tiktok will remain as the platform that are preferred by teenager and adults due to Tiktok can help their users to form identity, express their feeling or thoughts ?

    1. Hi Youshua,

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading my paper. I agree that TikTok uses shorter videos to communicate creative ideas as it is a microblogging platform. Not all videos need to be super long to get a message across. I also think TikTok will continue to be valued by younger audiences and will help them with forming identities and self-expressive behaviour.

      Thanks for your comment!

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