TikTok & Youth Cultures in the Age of COVID-19 Speakers

TikTok has become one of the most widely used short video platforms around the world, with millions of new users joining during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. The platform is now a key social arena for global youth culture, creativity, professionalization, and activism. This event was an open forum for discussions on how digital cultures are evolving in the wave of a global pandemic and the massive uptake of TikTok by diverse groups of people during this time.

Speaker Bios

Tahlea Aualiitia

Tahlea Aualiitia is a radio presenter, producer and reporter currently working on ABC Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program. Before that she worked at ABC Sydney and ABC Hobart. She was recently awarded RESULTS Australia’s Media Leader award for 2020 which means she can now be introduced as an “award winning journalist”

Ariel Bogle

Ariel Bogle is an analyst with ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre, where she researches online disinformation, among other topics. Most recently, she was a technology reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and technology editor at The Conversation. Her reporting has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Australian Financial Review and The Guardian.

Oddie Randa

Oddie Randa is Gushcloud Indonesia’s Country Director. He implements rigorous management process and takes responsibility of profit, revenue, cash, and quality targets. He also oversees talent and music units. Furthermore, he provides insights and inputs on how Gushcloud could scale its presence in Indonesia. He started at Gushcloud Indonesia as its Country Manager in 2013 and was promoted as Country Director in 2016. Under his management, he was able to grow a team of two employees to 70 today, as well as gaining trust and maintaining long-term relationships with many of Gushcloud clients – made evident by 39x increase in Gushcloud Indonesia’s revenue from 2014 to 2020. Oddie pursued a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès as well as a degree in Management and Engineering Food System at Taylor’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Nich Richie

Nich Richie is an Indigenous and Non Binary digital activist that uses social media to share information and engage audiences with Indigenous affairs, and confronting racism. Nich’s platforms are also used to share their personal experiences with racism, mental health and their queer Indigenous identity.

Patrick Smith

Patrick is US native who has been teaching English abroad for close to ten years. Currently in Tokyo, Japan. Patrick enjoys making TikTok videos about his experiences teaching as well as his overall day to day experiences in Japan.

Kylie Sng

Kylie is the Creator Development & Analytics Lead for Hepmil Creators’ Network (HCN). She helps creators in SEA to grow their social media platforms and develop content monetisation opportunities. Prior to HCN, Kylie’s work at SGAG involved in generating audience insights and pioneering its research arm. Her work in academia has also been covered by the International Journal for Strategic Communication.


Aleesha Rodriguez

Aleesha Rodriguez is a PhD candidate in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology. Her research examines public communication on social media platforms and explores how people and technology mutually shape each other. Aleesha is particularly interested in applying Science and Technology Studies (STS) approaches to study the relations between digital media and energy futures. Aleesha is a founding member of the TikTok Cultures Research Network.

Emily van der Nagel

Dr Emily van der Nagel is a Lecturer in Social Media in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. She researches social media identities, cultures, platforms, and intimacies. Her first book, Sex and Social Media, co-authored with Associate Professor Katrin Tiidenberg, was published by Emerald in 2020. Emily tweets at @emvdn. Emily is a founding member of the TikTok Cultures Research Network.


Crystal Abidin

A/Prof Crystal Abidin is the founder of the TikTok Cultures Research Network. She is a digital anthropologist and ethnographer of vernacular internet cultures, and researches internet celebrity, influencer cultures, and social media pop cultures. She has published 5 books and over 60 articles and chapters on various aspects of internet cultures. Crystal is Associate Professor of Internet Studies, Principal Research Fellow, and ARC DECRA Fellow at Curtin University. For her public scholarship and continuous engagements with industry, Crystal was listed on ABC Top 5 Humanities Fellows (2020), Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia (2018), and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 (2016). Reach her at wishcrys.com

D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye

Dr D. Bondy Valdovinos Kaye is an early career researcher that recently completed his PhD in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology. His research interests include digital music, cultural policy, and platform studies. He has recently published several research articles on TikTok and is under contract to deliver a scholarly book on TikTok in late 2021 published by Polity Press. Bondy is a founding member of the TikTok Cultures Research Network.

Xinyu (Andy) Zhao

Dr Xinyu (Andy) Zhao currently teaches and researches at Deakin University, University of Melbourne and Curtin University. He completed his PhD at Deakin University in 2020 and is particularly interested in the intersections of transnational mobility, digital technologies and young people. Andy is a founding member of the TikTok Cultures Research Network.