Examining Communicative Forms in #TikTokDocs’ Sexual Health Videos

Krysten Stein, Yueyang Yao, Tanja Aitamurto


We build on the theoretical framework of communicative forms and memetic dimensions to examine how obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) doctors’ TikTok videos function as digital artifacts to educate and engage with youth culture. The framework of communicative forms defines TikTok as a communicative environment with unique practices, technological affordances, aesthetics, and digital culture. The three memetic dimensions of content, form, and stance refer to the ideas, configurations, and positions conveyed by memes that are shown on TikTok. We identified interrelated memetic ways OBGYN TikTok Docs deliver sexual health information using five communicative forms (explanatory, documentary, comedic, communal, and interactive). Our findings show that the relatability of OBGYN TikTok Docs was a key element in each communicative form and was crafted by a combination of the three memetic dimensions. In using various communicative forms, the boundaries of health education and entertainment are blurred. Through this blurring, the videos portray a dual-sided presentation of OBGYN TikTok docs, showing them as authentic health professionals and relatable people.


digital health communication, digital health promotion, communicative forms, memetic dimensions, sexual health, women’s health, TikTok

Full Text: