"Social media is increasingly being leveraged by researchers to engage in public debates and rapidly disseminate research results to health care providers, health care users, policy makers, educators, and the general public.
This paper contributes to the growing literature on the use of social media for digital knowledge mobilization, drawing particular attention to TikTok and its unique potential for collaborative knowledge mobilization with underserved communities who experience barriers to health care and health inequities (eg, equity-seeking groups).
Setting the TikTok platform apart from other social media are the unique audiovisual video editing tools, together with an impactful algorithm, that make knowledge dissemination and exchange with large global audiences possible. As an example, we will discuss digital knowledge mobilization with trans and nonbinary (trans) communities, a population that experiences barriers to health care and is engaged in significant peer-to-peer health information sharing on the web. To demonstrate, analytics data from 13 selected TikTok videos on the topic of research on gender-affirming medicine (eg, hormonal therapy and surgeries) are presented to illustrate how knowledge is disseminated within the trans community via TikTok.
Considerations for researchers planning to use TikTok for digital knowledge mobilization and other related community engagement with equity-seeking groups are also discussed. These include the limitations of TikTok analytics data for measuring knowledge mobilization, population-specific concerns related to community safety on social media, the spread of disinformation, barriers to internet access, and commercialization and intellectual property issues.
This paper concludes that TikTok is an innovative social media platform that presents possibilities for achieving transformative, community-engaged knowledge mobilization among researchers, underserved health care users, and their health care providers, all of whom are necessary to achieve better health care and population health outcomes."