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Group Media Psychology teaches Social Media Research

MCS Students explore YouTube and TikTok


In the research module "Social Media Research" of the Group Media Psychology and Media Design at TU Ilmenau, MCS students first examined YouTube channels operated by older people (over 60 years old) in the summer semester 2023 and then corresponding TikTok channels in the winter semester 2023/2024.

Using a case study design with self-selected YouTube and TikTok channels, MCS students went through all fields of communication science from communicator research (interviews with the content creators) to media content research (qualitative and quantitative content analyses of the videos) and audience/media usage research (audience characteristics and media usage patterns described in video comments) to media effects research (exploration of subjective effects mentioned in video comments). The case studies showed, among other things, a high degree of professionalization of the older content creators, a wide variety of topics in their videos, an audience of all generations and subjectively experienced positive effects on an emotional, cognitive and behavioral level. One case study channel was that of @Grandma_Droniak, run by 93-year-old Lillian Droniak with the help of her grandson, both from the U.S. Her morbid sense of humor has made her a social media star.

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