International Journal of Communication Publishes a Special Section on Research Perspectives on TikTok & Its Legacy Apps

International Journal of Communication Publishes a Special Section on Research Perspectives on TikTok & Its Legacy Apps

This Special Section on Research Perspectives on TikTok & Its Legacy Apps, guest-edited by Jing Zeng, Mike Schäfer and Crystal Abidin, explores the sociocultural implications of short videos, with a specific focus on their technological affordances and platform vernaculars.

Short-video apps, which often feature video content between 15 and 60 seconds long, have become immensely popular around the world in the past years. Among them, the most iconic and internationally successful example is TikTok. However, due to its Chinese ownership and popularity among underaged users, the platform has attracted criticism and has been subjected to close scrutiny. At the same time, TikTok has emerged as a hub for creativity and is being utilized by educators and governments to reach out to the younger demographic. Given the sudden proliferation of interest in and relevance of the platform, no doubt stimulated by its rapid uptake during the period of mass self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current moment is opportune for reflecting on TikTok from a range of research perspectives. 

This Special Section is among the first collections of articles in the growing field of studies on TikTok and its legacy apps. It provides a glimpse of the nascent framings, approaches, methodologies, and applications of TikTok studies in the field of social media scholarship. Six articles are included in the collection. In the introductory article, the guest editors provide an overview of TikTok and related scholarship. In the following research papers, eleven authors offer their pioneering scholarship on TikTok and its legacy apps, namely Douyin and This collection of studies illuminates how short videos have been deployed as a powerful communication device by preteens, musicians, scientists, healthcare professionals, and migrants. Different user communities use TikTok and its legacy apps to connect, entertain, and educate. The contributing authors also reflect upon problems associated with these apps’ platform logic, information quality, and governance. 

We invite you to read these articles that published in the International Journal of Communication on July 7, 2021. Please log into to read the papers of interest. We look forward to your feedback! 

Research Perspectives on TikTok and Its Legacy Apps—Introduction
Jing Zeng, Crystal Abidin, Mike S. Schäfer

From to TikTok: Social Construction of 2020’s Most Downloaded Short-Video App
Milovan Savic

You Made This? I Made This: Practices of Authorship and (Mis)Attribution on TikTok
D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, Aleesha Rodriguez, Katrin Langton, Patrik Wikström

Reposting “Till Albert Einstein Is TikTok Famous”: The Memetic Construction of Science on TikTok
Jing Zeng, Mike S. Schäfer, Joachim Allgaier

Lip-Syncing and Saving Lives: Healthcare Workers on TikTok
Clare Southerton

Short Video Platforms and Local Community Building in China
Wei Wang, Jiena Wu

Larry Gross, Editor
Arlene Luck, Founding Managing Editor  
Kady Bell-Garcia, Managing Editor
Kasia Anderson, Managing Editor, Special Sections
Jing Zeng, Crystal Abidin, Mike S. Schäfer, Guest Editors

According to the latest statistics from Google Scholar, IJoC ranks 3rd among all Humanities, Literature & Arts journals, and 5th among all Communication journals.