Print Project Update: Digital Folklore on TikTok

Since my proposal, my print project has changed a good deal. As I did further research, and I realized that while there certainly is folklore on Reddit, much of my interests showed examples that seemed to limit the capacity of users to partake in folklore practices or create legends. For example, the r/nosleep subreddit has an extensive set of rules, which require viewers to only post original stories, never break character in the subreddit comments section, etc. which fundamentally limits the process of creating and sharing a legend. As a result, I aimed to find what I thought was an incredibly current, viral example of folklore in action: the Randonautica app and the subsequent TikTok trend that grew out of a gruesome Randonautica story.

For my project, I have been evaluating the user video creation and response to Randonautica on TikTok, placing this phenomenon as a case study for the theoretical concepts discussed in digital folklore and digital ethnography. I have tracked the most popular TikTok videos that follow the randonaut adventures of users, looking at views, likes, and comments, as well as mainstream responses through articles and other forms of social media, to understand the impact of User-Generated Content (UGC) on the capability for folklore to spread quickly, powerfully, and ultimately for a very short amount of time (as it seems to be for all TikTok trends).

Please find a draft of this paper attached below, and let me know your thoughts!

One Reply to “Print Project Update: Digital Folklore on TikTok”

  1. Really loving how this paper is developing! You are doing a great job at drawing out a lot of in depth aspects of digital folklore studies and theory and I’ve yet to see anyone take this kind of work and draw it into an exploration of Tik Tok videos. So I think you’re really onto something. At this point, you’ve already met the requirements for a project for the class, so take any of the additional comments I’m offering as notes for if you want to keep developing this as a paper beyond the course. I could see this being a great fit for a journal like New Directions in Folklore https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ndif

    – I think it would be great if you could open with a paragraph that could give us an initial sense of what Randonautica is and how it works. That is, if you could give us a rich discription of one of the videos or somethign and then use that as an opening to then move into how you’re going to demonstrate how it functions as folklore. As it stands it takes a long time in the paper to get to the point where the reader gets a sense of what this trend/style of video is.

    – At this point the conclusions feel a bit thin. It would be ideal if you could go back to the rich digital folklore framework that you laid out and developed and try and sus out some of what your case study on randonautica contributes back to an understanding of digital folklore scholarship. Are there things that you’ve demonstrated here about how ostension is changing or evolving in the context of the way these two apps work together? Is there some significance in the short lived nature of this kind of legend? Is there something about the design of TikTok and the Randonautic app that change how digital folklore is working or being enacted? Whatever kinds of conclusions you wanted to draw it would be great to return to some of the core literature you engaged with and draw out how the results of your project interact with that.

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