TikTok for Dummies
Vertical videos and anthropological research on the big screen: for the first time ever, goEast is presenting a programme culled from TikTok that also gives audience members who have not yet discovered the app a medial look at the subcultures of Eastern Europe. The medium is especially popular with young users – you only need a smartphone and the app to get rolling as an amateur video producer. The trend is creating a new generation of “auteurs” who have made the medium their own, processing pop-culture references, clever hashtags and stitched-together dialogues in their videos. Migrants, queer communities, dissatisfied citizens or loners with extreme opinions and niche hobbies connect up on TikTok, where they find a platform to share with the like-minded. Since the onset of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the medium has increasingly become a political tool as well: most recently, politicians have been briefing influencers about how they should report on the war. TikTok is a source of entertainment, but it is also a venue for simplification and disinformation. It is often unclear where the videos originate, when they were recorded or which country they were created in. But young Ukrainians have also been using the app to report on their everyday lives or their efforts to flee the country. In Russia, the platform was banned on 6 March 2022, in connection with a new law that deals harshly with organisations accused of spreading “fake news”.