Tom Divon
Media & Culture Researcher

Let’s scroll  ︎︎︎


I'm Tom Divon, a researcher, teacher, and proud father to my Corgi, Alex. My home is the Internet. I explore social media platforms and digital cultures while asking profound questions about content creators, affordances, influencers, authenticity and cultural-memetic practices across the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. For that, I am utilizing my toolkit of qualitative research methods such as multimodal analysis, interviews, observations, ethnography, and more.

In my ongoing work, I study the never-ending cultural frictions between the online world and humanity as I inquire into the two sides: how people use the internet, including creators, lurkers, influencers, and any other agent with interest, as well as how the internet designs, shapes and affects users' behaviors.

I believe that comprehending any online experience requires an understanding of how people, cultures, infrastructures, algorithms, and labor intersect, influence, and shape each other.

Please journey through my world as you scroll ︎


Playful Trauma:
Users Embodied Expressions on TikTok During The War in Ukraine 🇺🇦

This work examines the affordances and vernaculars of ludicrousness, cynicism, and humour on TikTok, as they give rise to the concept of "playful trauma" by looking at the ways in which playful renarration & embodiments of trauma live in digital spaces.

co-author: @moaerikssonkrut
The Harm of AirDrop:
Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence in Everyday Lives of Young Women

This work examines the nonconsensual unfair use of Apple's AirDrop tech, in which anonymous men use it to bombard young women in public spaces with sexually explicit pornographic images and texts.

co-author: @NicoletteLittl

Playful Platforms:
The Memeification of Participatory Violence Acts on TikTok

This work examines memetic-centered platforms as breeding ground for inflammatory content, while looking at TikTok’s #challenges culture and their role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (🇵🇸) and the anti-religious protests in Iran, 2022 (🇮🇷).

co-author: @EstebanMoralesV
Children as Commodities:
Ethnographic Observations & Legal Implications of Child Influencer Monetization

This work examines how kids become monetization object of virality on platforms like TikTok, developing a taxonomy of monetization supply chain while conducting an ethnographic observation of profiles belonging to Israeli and US-based child influencers.

co-author: @CatalinaGoanta
The Rise of War Influencers:
Content Creation and The Memefication of Trauma on TikTok

This work examines the practices of war influencers, delving into historical and contextual review of war photography, citizen journalism & influencer culture, shedding light on two forms of war influencers: (1) celebrities as war influencers and (2) ordinary users as war influencers.
co-author: @moaerikssonkrut
Bullying Influencers Into Activism Labor In Times of War

This work examines how influencers in conflict territories (🇮🇱) confront their followers' threats to disengage, while navigating their demand to acquire communication skills that diverge from their core expertise, and employ explanatory videos that creep activism into their mundae labor during times of war.
#VladdyDaddy On TikTok:
Users Imagined Imtimacy and Online Memetic Participation 🇷🇺

This work examines the revival of #Vladdydaddy meme on TikTok prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, scrutinizing its diverse forms of sub-memes that try to reach Putin, while drawing on theory of memetic participation and imagined intimacy.

co-authors: @DaniJaraDent @alexgekker 
The Sound of Disinformation:
TikTok, Computational Propaganda and The Invasion of Ukraine

This work examines the emergence of TikTok as a hub for spreading mis-dis information on the war in Ukraine through automated practices, utilizing a typology for mis-dis info spanning from low-volume parody content to high-volume fabricated content, while mapping 24 war-related audio-memes.

co-author:  @m_boesch