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“This used to be a children’s app” - Media ideologies and social life in Finnish TikTok

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Title: “This used to be a children’s app” - Media ideologies and social life in Finnish TikTok
Author(s): Alahuhta, Veera
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Degree program: Master 's Programme in Society and Change
Specialisation: Social and Cultural Anthropology
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
This thesis examines the social interaction and media ideologies of Finnish TikTok users and how they are different from the discourses about TikTok in Finnish news media. My aim is to understand how TikTok is seen as a social media platform and what kind of social interaction and face-work users do when encountered with differing views of their media ideologies. I use Gershon’s framework of media ideologies to understand the implied and explicit opinions of Finnish TikTok users of the proper ways of using the medium and to compare those views to Finnish news media’s representations of the app and its use. By analysing discourses of the online news of Finnish Public Broadcasting Company (YLE) and the online news of Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (HS), I identify main categories of discourse about TikTok and its use. To understand the users’ perspective, I have conducted online ethnography in TikTok with two separate user accounts to collect data from videos, comments and video replies. From this data, I identify multiple media ideologies voiced out among the users of TikTok. Lastly, I compare these two data sets to see where they overlap and where they live separate lives. In order to understand the social phenomena related to the debates over different media ideologies, I utilise Erving Goffman’s concept of face and face-work. By exploring these questions with these methods and theoretical frameworks I wish to contribute to the discussion of how young users might adopt new ways of interacting and expressing themselves within a new medium, and how that might be different from the views of the people outside that medium. The goal of my thesis is to create an analytical overview on social interaction and media ideologies in TikTok, especially among Finnish TikTokers and how that differs from the discourses represented in Finnish news media
Keyword(s): social and cultural anthropology media anthropology digital anthropology online ethnography discourse analysis media ideologies face TikTok algorithms social media

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