“I Saw it on Tik Tok: The Nun, the Mormon, and Ex-vangelical: Christian TikTokers share how they are offering alternative paradigms of community, religious expression, and leadership. ”
TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms in North America, bringing together creators and viewers from all backgrounds. This platform connects individuals through short-form video storytelling and communication designed with customizability, accessibility, and virality in mind. On TikTok, there are countless subgroups and content areas, and nothing is off the table: baking, singing, politics, and religion coexist. Because TikTok is designed to connect strangers, rather than existing interpersonal networks, relatability, and the ability to maintain attention serve as the currency in the competitive influencer marketplace, all assessed through an immersive algorithm. Users scroll wherever they are, seeing a video about a new celebrity rumor one minute and a musical nun the next. Religious leaders of varying credentials and creeds may show up on the small screen in any room of the house and on the go.
As scholars of leadership with backgrounds in communication and theology, we are interested in exploring how Christianity is being represented in online spaces and how those online spaces may relate to in-person faith communities. As an emergent platform, TikTok presents possibilities and challenges for faith communities in North America and research in leadership studies has yet to fully explore the use of TikTok as a tool and forum.