Friday 6 October, 2023
London college of communication
Deadline: July 3, 2023
8.00-14.00 (BST) / 16.00-22.00 (AWST)
TikTok Creators and Digital Economies Symposium
From new dance challenges to instantly recognisable songs, TikTok is often attributed with producing new global trends. Merging short form video, popular and original music, hashtags, comments, and participatory features like stitching and duets, TikTok provides a platform for ordinary users to consume, create, play and participate in public conversations.
Creators benefit from new kinds of visibility and affective economies, yet also complain of shadow bans, seemingly arbitrary limitations on views, and algorithmic personalisation and circulation of content.
TikTok follows and disrupts the social media landscape and popular imagination. TikTok’s ‘For You’ feature amplifies the potential for ordinary users to create viral content and its powerful personalised algorithms extend creators’ reach to global audiences and across multiple platforms.
TikTok influencers and ordinary creators generate niche communities important for identity expression, community building and visibility, introducing new iterations of symbolic, cultural and economic power (Abidin et al. 2020, Abidin 2020, 2019).
TikTok native influencers generate millions of views and leverage virtual, gift, and live-streaming economies, expanding forms of cultural production across platforms (Poell et al 2022, Yesiloglu and Costello 2021).
In addition, Bytedance and Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, point to significant cultural, geo-political, and economic commonalities and differences in platform governance, as determined in and through national contexts and markets (Kaye et al al. 2022, Zhang 2021).
More globally, Bytedance occupies a unique position in the data economy and is at the heart of serious privacy and surveillance concerns, marked by the rise of TikTok bans (Maheshwari and Holpuch 2023).
TikTok and Douyin open up new creator practices with serious implications for creative industries, monetisation practices, digital economies alongside governance frameworks encompassing these spheres.
All of these factors point to big questions about the relationship between TikTok creators and emerging features of digital economies. While TikTok’s niche creator practices share common features across other social media and digital platforms (Hardy 2022, Sujon 2021), TikTok’s specific approaches to monetisation and affective entrepreneurialism raises questions about what is distinct on TikTok for creator economies.
This symposium brings together current work which opens up these dynamics, examining emerging forms of cultural production and also their economic consequences for creators, citizens, consumers, advertisers, and platforms.
We invite papers examining TikTok Creators and Digital Economies, related to but not limited to these themes:
- Creator identities and cultures
- Storytelling, music and creator discourses
- Intimate, relational and affective labour
- Virtual gifting and cultural production
- Creator academy and creator fund
- LGBTQ+ creators
- Materialities of creation, consumption and circulation
- Global, local, national creator contexts and economies
- TikTok, ByteDance and Douyin platform ecosystems
- Douyin and wanghong
- Resilience and precarity
- Influencers, celebrity, and virality
- Creator business models
- TikTok advertising and monetisation
- Political and networked economies
- Nichification, metrics and metrification
- Branded content, paid partnerships and the creator marketplace
- Livestreaming and e-commerce
- Symbolic power and cultural economies
- Attention economy, affective commerce and regimes of visibility
- Algorithmic personalisation
- TikTok audiences and markets
- Platform governance, bans and censorship
- Content ownership, copyright and royalties
- Geo-politics of short-form video
Research students, early career researchers and scholars in and/or or from the Global South and/or underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.
A selection of papers will also be considered for inclusion in a Special Issue tentatively entitled “TikTok Creators and Digital Economies” that will be published in a top-ranked peer-reviewed journal in the field of Media and Communication Studies.
For consideration in this symposium, please submit abstracts (up to 250 words) on previously unpublished papers and a short bio (up to 100 words) to DCE@lcc.arts.ac.uk.
Abstracts and biographies submission: 3 July 2023
Notifications of acceptance: 24 July 2023
TikTok Creators and Digital Economies Symposium: 6 October 2023
This event is a collaboration between the TikTok Cultures Research Network based at Curtin University and the Digital Cultures and Economies Research Hub at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
The event is organized by Zoetanya Sujon, Sevil Yesiloglu, Irida Ntalla, Jonathan Hardy, Yue Qin, Yingwen Wang and Richard Meng.
Please email DCE@lcc.arts.ac.uk with any questions about this event.