Do I Belong on TikTok? Algorithimography and Self-Making


  • James Francis Cerretani Goldsmiths



Building on works in digital anthropology, belonging, and self-making, this article delves into physiological aspects of digital lifeworlds. Through collaborative ethnography the author worked with their sibling and the TikTok Ethnography Collective (TEC) to explore TikTok’s utility as a site of self-discovery and learning. From the processes which unfold during the collaboration, a fledgling methodology of algorithmography emerges and is developed through the article. The use of digital ethnographic methods mediated the relationship between the author and their sibling, opening an exploration into self-making practices on TikTok. Building on recent literature around TikTok and self-making, (Bimo and Bhandari 2022), and through “Tik-Talks'' with the author’s sister which centre on multiple forms of diagnoses with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (HEDS), this article examines TikTok’s capacity and shortcomings as a place where one can learn to belong against the grain of neoliberal and capitalist cultures.