Research Perspectives on TikTok & Its Legacy Apps| Lip-Syncing and Saving Lives: Healthcare Workers on TikTok
While TikTok’s popularity has risen dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, so too has concern about misinformation about the virus on the app. Many accounts of the “infodemic”—the war against misinformation being waged alongside the pandemic—call for an emphasis on authority and prioritizing content from official accounts on social media platforms. However, even before the pandemic, health professionals have spread information by drawing on their personality, as well as their medical expertise, as creators on TikTok. Drawing on a digital ethnography project, this article considers what could be learned about the “infodemic” from existing health information-sharing communities and creators on TikTok and examines the affective spaces of information they cultivate. Findings from this ethnography reveal that health information sharing practices on TikTok use playfulness, memes, and other platform elements, alongside familiar techniques of highlighting one’s expertise and relatability as a healthcare worker.