Memes and Constructions of TikTok Culture in #DontPlayPlayBosku

Sumekar Tanjung


Memes have become a medium to convey messages on TikTok. However, memes are often underestimated. The researcher has noticed that TikTok is not merely a platform as it is also a memetic, complex text. As a platform, TikTok not only mediates and facilitates the production of short videos but also becomes a culture. Through the Don't Play Play Bosku audio meme phenomenon, this study aims to provide a perspective on how meme themes are conveyed to the public to create a high engagement space and what sorts of ideology are offered by creators in the TikTok culture space. The researcher conducted digital ethnographic observations, qualitative content analysis, and used the Shifman’s three-dimension approach to analyze 10 video samples qualitatively. This study found three meme themes, including inadequacy, metaphor and a practice of playfulness, and mental satire. At the content level, memes are not only an expression of videos but also an audio control to negotiate. At the form level, memes are delivered with word twists, reactions, and effects frequently repeated. The practice of memes at the stance level indicates that the ideological position of creators in bringing up memes is an elaboration of videos and audio that give birth to these three themes in the mechanism of TikTok culture. Memes as a TikTok culture is a culture that is actively produced and continuously consumed. The construction of TikTok culture is formed from the rituals shared in algorithm-framed imitation and replication.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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