Hide and seek with algorithm : En intervjustudie av cosplay-kreatörers "folk" teorier i förhållande till TikToks algoritm
Sammanfattning: This essay aims to study the relationship between cosplay content creators and TikTok’s algorithm. To study this relationship the essay will conduct a qualitative semi-structured interviews with creators from the cosplay community on TikTok. Since the rise of digital plattforms the media and the role of producer as well as consumer has changed drastically. TikTok has been growing rapidly in popularity since its entry on the market, and by 2020 it had 500 million active users. Since many of today's digital platforms have consumer produced content, the consumer of today has taken on a mixed role between consuming and creating content, which creates a new relationship. The content consumers produce vary vastly on TikTok but one kind that has been present in much of TikTok’s existence is cosplay content. Cosplayers are creators who design costumes to already established characters or franchises. Since a discourse has started in the cosplay community on TikTok about the algorithm suppressing their content the study found it to be a good way to start examining content creators as individuals and how they behave towards an algorithm in their content creation process. The study aims to use algorithmic “folk” theory to examine what theories have been created in the community and how the theories affect the creators. The study also applies gatekeeping theory and social cognitive theory (SCT) to paint a clearer picture in how these creators view the algorithm. Seven interviews with cosplay content creators were conducted and with the help of a thematic analysis method the study found several themes in how the creators view and behave in relation to TikTok and its algorithm. The results of our study shows that there’s a definite present of “folk” theories created inside of the community. The most distinct behaviour relating to “folk” theory among the creators was that they can’t use the hashtag cosplay in the belief that the algorithm would suppress the content. This study concludes that the creators are more aware of the algorithm then they themself know and have different ways of working with and around it.
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