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Social Media Pop Cultures

Program Leader

Associate Professor Crystal Abidin, Principal Research Fellow & ARC DECRA Fellow, Internet Studies, MCASI


Dr. Jin Lee, Research Associate, MCASI

Dr. D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye, Research Associate, MCASI

Ms. Poh Yu Ting, CCAT Associate


TikTok Syllabus Report, Forthcoming 2021

TikTok and Social Movements Special Issue, Forthcoming 2022

TikTok Methodologies Special Issue, Forthcoming 2022

Cultures of TikTok in the Asia Pacific, Forthcoming 2022

Recent Publications

Abidin, Crystal, and D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye. 2021. “Audio memes, Earworms, and Templatability: The ‘aural turn’ of memes on TikTok.” Pp. 58-68 in Critical Meme Reader: Global Mutations of the Viral Image, edited by Chloë Arkenbout, Jack Wilson, and Daniel de Zeeuw. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures. <Chapter in Book>

Abidin, Crystal. 2021. “Singaporean Influencers and COVID-19 on Instagram Stories.” Celebrity Studies (Online first). DOI: 10.1080/19392397.2021.1967604 <Journal article>

Abidin, Crystal, and Jing Zeng. 2021. “‘OK Boomer’: how a TikTok meme traces the rise of Gen Z political consciousness.” The Conversation, 20 August <Op-ed>

Zeng, Jing, and Crystal Abidin. 2021. “#OkBoomer, time to meet the Zoomers’: Studying the Memefication of Intergenerational Politics on TikTok.” Information, Communication and Society (Online first). DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2021.1961007 <Journal article>

Abidin, Crystal, and Jing Zeng. 2021. “Subtle Asian Traits and COVID-19: Congregating and Commiserating as East Asians in a Facebook Group.” First Monday 26(6). DOI: 10.5210/fm.v26i7.10859 <Journal article>

Harlig, Alexandra, Crystal Abidin, Trevor Boffone, Kelly Bowker, Colette Eloi, Pamela Krayenbuhl, Chuyun Oh. 2021. “TikTok and Short-Form Screendance Before and After Covid.” The International Journal of Screendance 12 (2021). DOI: 10.18061/ijsd.v12i0.8348 <Journal editorial>

Abidin, Crystal. 2021. “Activism in Singapore in the Digital Age: Influencer Cultures, Meme Factories, and Networked Virality.” Pp. 49-55 in Singapore Perspectives: Politics, edited by Natalie Pang, Shamil Zainuddin. Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies. DOI: 10.1142/9789811225734_0008 <Chapter>

Zeng, Jing, Crystal Abidin, and Mike S. Schäfer. (Co-editor). 2021. Research Perspectives on TikTok and Its Legacy Apps: Introduction. International Journal of Communication 15(2021). <Special Issue>

Abidin, Crystal. 2021. “Mapping Internet Celebrity on TikTok: Exploring Attention Economies and Visibility Labours.” Cultural Science Journal 12(1): 77-103. DOI: 10.5334/csci.140 <Journal article>

Savic, Milovan, and Crystal Abidin. 2020. “The Politics and Optics of the TikTok Ban.” Points, Data & Society, 18 September <Editorial>

Abidin, Crystal. 2020. “Pivot to coronavirus: How meme factories are crafting public health messaging.” The Conversation, 28 July. <Editorial>

Abidin, Crystal. 2020. “Meme factory cultures and content pivoting in Singapore and Malaysia during COVID-19.” The Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Misinformation Review 1. DOI: 10.37016/mr-2020-031 <Journal article>

Recent Events

TikTok and Social Movements, 20 September 2021 <Link>

TikTok Methodologies, 19 July 2021 <Link>

TikTok & Youth Cultures in the Age of COVID-19, 29 March 2021 <Link>

Cultures of TikTok in the Asia Pacific, 7 December 2020 <Link>


Influencers and Cultures of Social Justice, Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) Grant Success Panel Development Funding (June–December 2021)

Bubble Tea Pilot Project, MCASI Research Budget Allocation (June–December 2021)

TikTok Cultures Research Network Expansion Support, Strategic Research Investment from Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University (May–December 2021)

COVID-19 Messaging and Youth Engagements on TikTok, Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and Wenner-Gren Foundation Rapid-Response Grants on COVID-19 grant (September 2020–February 2021)

Social Media Influencers as Conduits of Knowledge in Australia and Asia, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), DE190100789 (July 2019–June 2022)