Discussing the Role of TikTok Sharing Practices in Everyday Social Life

Andreas Schellewald


A crucial element of TikTok consumption is the act of sharing TikTok videos with others, such as friends. In this article, I draw on ethnographic fieldwork with young adult TikTok users based in the United Kingdom to investigate this practice. I show how people use TikTok’s “For You” page as a resource to facilitate social relationships at a distance and in settings of physical copresence. I highlight how TikTok clips are shared in a phatic manner to activate social relationships, for example, by communicating messages such as “thinking about you” or relating to others by referencing TikTok memes in conversations. Attending to sharing practices, I argue, provides a fruitful way to understand how self-identities and interpersonal relationships are articulated in social media environments increasingly organized around the logic of personalization.


TikTok, sharing, social media, everyday life, interpersonal relationships, ethnography

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