Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Let’s dance – aka TikTok

Anne says: TikTok was an emerging phenomenon in music, dance, and video storytelling, then everything changed. You might already be a follower, or perhaps you’ve never even looked at it! It’s time to examine what is going on, including current changes, and how the algorithm works.

As a starter, this article from our colleagues at Sydney University (we feature their weekly podcast in Friday Faves – scroll to the bottom of the post). Encanto, TikTok and the art of social storytelling: why music is not just for listening anymore will demystify the compelling attraction and viral nature of user-generated content on TikTok.

If that all sounds fascinating, there’s a new layer of complexity that has surfaced as a result of the war on Ukraine. TikTok has grown up and has now been enlisted by political leaders as a tool to spread information about the atrocities in Ukraine – but, it has also become the perfect platform to spread misinformation.

To explore this impact further, the article from the Guardian is a must read and explains the complexities of both the users and the algorithms of the platform. The challenges are enormous. While users and media on the ground were using TikTok to share their experiences, just as quickly, the propaganda and misinformation swamped the feeds.

The use of TikTok influencers to be briefed by political leaders and expected to share the message is also an interesting use of celebrity (or is it another form of editorial, or even a form of propaganda). As one young influencer (she has 10.5 million followers) commented:

“…she sees herself as “a White House correspondent for Gen Z” who is there to “relay the information in a more digestible manner”.

Understanding how TikTok presents you with content is equally as important as verifying content before you like it or follow users (feed the algorithms). And if you want to find out how media organisations like CNN verify content – they produced an overview of their processes.

And as a final comment, read the article from the Guardian about Russia’s use of TikTok – which, if you’re not aware, is Chinese owned.

News updates, eyewitness experiences, and messages from influencers briefed by governments just took TikTok to a whole new dimension from viral dance videos.

Read:

An emphasis on brilliance creates a toxic, dog-eat-dog workplace atmosphere that discourages women

Jakkii says: As Women’s History Month comes toward a close (can you believe we’re almost a quarter of the way through 2022 already??), I wanted to share this article on The Conservation about some interesting research out of Abu Dhabi, written by one of the researchers who conducted the study.

In it, the author discusses how they wanted to investigate the underrepresentation of women in certain fields, notably those that “prize raw intellectual talent”, aka ‘brilliance’. They conducted their research amongst academics in over 30 different fields, and found a notable – and troubling – theme: a perception that brilliance is needed in a field leads to at least a perception of, and therefore likely experience of, an accompanying underlying “masculine contest culture.” It is the competitive nature of this culture that discourages women from entering the fields in which it can be found.

The author goes on to discuss why it matters, though my take is that, if these findings hold true, it matters because it gives us insight into something we may be able to actively address in order to increase the representation of women in particular fields where they have traditionally been (and continue to be) underrepresented. And, the authors note, that this contest culture also led to feelings of being an imposter who doesn’t belong amongst men as well as women, which to me sounds like something worth reflecting upon, if not actively working to address, as well.

The author also notes that this is just one factor they identified, and that other factors causing women to be underrepresented in any given field are likely to be involved as well, such as biases and a lack of role models (and I’d add stereotypical gender norms as another example). Like so many things, it’s a complex problem that requires a holistic view and multi-pronged approaches to work through, so the more insight we have into factors that underlie gender inequality and a lack of gender diversity, the better armed we are with information and evidence in order to make better decisions that lead to more effective outcomes.

Gotta love research!

Read: https://theconversation.com/an-emphasis-on-brilliance-creates-a-toxic-dog-eat-dog-workplace-atmosphere-that-discourages-women-178525

Friday Five

Five links you might find interesting this week:

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

From our friends at the University of Sydney Business School, this week, podcast hosts Dr Sandra Peter and Professor Kai Riemer discuss the economics and business decisions behind the New York Times’ decision to buy Wordle, the game that’s taken the (mobile) internet by storm.

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/new-york-times-gets-wordle/


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