TikTok | Prof Crystal Abidin

Whether you love it, hate it, don’t get it or your grandma’s trending on it, TikTok is a cultural phenomenon. But how did it become so popular and should we be worried by its reach?

Join our host Sarah Taillier as she chats with Crystal Abidin, Professor of Internet Studies at Curtin University and Founder of the TikTok Cultures Research Network. 

They explore why TikTok is so popular, how its algorithms might work and its influence on society, now and into the future. 

  • Why is TikTok so popular? [00:52]
  • Activism is trending on TikTok [02:59]
  • The ‘algorithmic imaginary’ [06:12]
  • ‘Social media is not an arbiter of morality’ [10:43]
  • What comes after TikTok? [12:42]
  • First Nations on TikTok [15:48]
  • TikTok Research Cultures Network [19:01]
  • Read the book: TikTok and Youth Cultures [23:20]
  • Finding content on TikTok [28:15]

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Professor Crystal Abidin
Professor of Internet Studies, Curtin University

Professor Crystal Abidin is a social media researcher, digital anthropologist and Founder of the TikTok Cultures Research Network, which shares research into TikTok cultures with scholars based in the Asia-Pacific. Crystal’s notable awards include the WA Tall Young Poppy Science Award (2022), The Australian Top 40 Early Career Researchers (2021) and ABC Top 5 Humanities Fellow (2020).

Crystal has published multiple books and more than 80 articles and chapters on various aspects on internet celebrity and vernacular internet cultures. Her most recent book, TikTok and Youth Cultures, is due to be published later this year. 

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Read the transcript.


Host: Sarah Taillier
Content creator: Zoe Taylor and Daniel Jauk 
Recordist: Anita Shore
Producer: Emilia Jolakoska
Executive Producers: Anita Shore and Jarrad Long

First Nations Acknowledgement

Curtin University acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which Curtin Perth is located, the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation, and on Curtin Kalgoorlie, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields; and the First Nations peoples on all Curtin locations.


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