3.6. TikTok History


TikTok history



Zhaojin Zeng, Duke Kunshan University

Zhaojin Zeng is Assistant Professor of History at Duke Kunshan University (zhaojin.zeng@duke.edu).

He specializes in the business, economic, and industrial history of modern China and the world, with additional interest and training in digital humanities and computational data analytics. He is the founder of the digital history project -  The Chinese Factory Project (cfp.pubpub.org).

The chair of this session is Valeria Giacomin (Bocconi University)

Description of workshop 

Social media has presented both challenges and opportunities to historians. Sitting at the intersection of business history and social media, this workshop will discuss the ways historians can undertake to effectively engage with social media - its topics and trends, its born-digital data, and its broad social and political significance.

One conceptual framework that is helpful to induce a more structured discussion is to view social media as source, subject, and method. This simple categorization will allow us to ask questions that may help to expose opportunities for potential engagement by historians.

Social media data as source: Social media data will likely constitute one major type of primary sources for future historians. What types of social media data can be used for rigorous historical analysis? How to collect and read those types of data? What is their historical context, and what are the methodologies suitable for interpreting historical digital data - and, wait, what is historical digital data?

Social media topics as subject: Each day social media generates countless topics (or # hashtags). Some hashtags are already legitimate research questions, and others might become one day. How to develop serious historical research questions in the digital age? What are the new research questions social media inspires? And, how to engage with trending issues in an academical and professional way? In the end, how to study social media history, if that is what our future society is organized around?

Social media as method: Social media itself provides many useful digital and computational tools that will potentially expand the scale and scope of our work. What are the most exciting or powerful research tools you have encountered? In what ways social media has enhanced your current conventional-style research? How to integrate social media as an analytical method  into our historians’ toolbox?

For more information or if you wish to participate in this workshop, please check this document.