The TikTok Obession

Monday Author:  Susanne Skinner

TikTok, social media, videosBecause we’re still stuck at home, we’ve still got time on our hands. Social media plays a siren song to stay connected that few of us can resist. As I’m still in the game, I try to keep it real by steer clearing of religion and politics—two subjects creating internet dumpster fires.

Staying connected socially gives us our isolation lifeline. It provides the next best thing to being there and we won’t have the opportunity to be there any time soon.

But social media is a hot mess. I only use one platform—Facebook—and It’s losing its allure. It creeps me out to see a vitamin supplement I looked at on Amazon staring back at me from a Facebook ad.

The creepy ads, coupled with click bait in every frame, reduce my participation and enthusiasm for this site.

Enter Tiktok—a social networking app for creating and sharing short, user-generated videos.

There’s a New App in Town

TikTok has a simple mission—to inspire creativity and bring joy. You won’t find politics, sports or world news there, unless you’re looking for it in a funny video or a meme.

Facebook continues to dominate social media but they get stiff competition from other platforms that challenge their market position. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, you don’t have to register to watch, which means no data collection. If you want to create and share videos, however, you have to sign up and provide personal information.

TikTok rests comfortably in third place under The Book and Instagram—not too shabby for a newcomer.  It began as a way to bridge the distance between family and friends and quickly became the leading platform for short-form mobile videos. Its success depends on users collaborating and adding on to other users’ videos. Trust me, it works.

The app allows users to post videos up to 60 seconds long with access to audio clips, songs, and special effects.

With 1.65 billion global downloads, 850 million monthly active users, and one billion views per day, they’re doing something right. Fun Fact:  TikTok’s total revenue to date is $247.6 million.

Facebook has 2.45 billion monthly active users but it’s also had 16 years to build its following. Although TikTok was founded four years ago, it rebranded under its current name in 2018. The company is creating some big buzz and is recognized as a major part of internet culture.

A Focused Market

If your brand’s target audience includes people between the age of 13 and 40, you are likely on TikTok. It draws all ages, although their main demographic is Generation Z, with content that focuses on current trends. Young people know what’s trending and offer the best market validation when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not.

target market, target audience, focused, TikTokThe TikTok audience is young and engaged in current affairs. If you’re looking to break out, get noticed and perhaps even become famous, TikTok has your back.  This inter-generational platform appeals to just about everyone.

Dedicated to having fun, this social network offers its customers a 15- to 60-second video format to lip synch or dance to hit songs. Last month it added a feature that allows users to record their reactions and share them.

The app offers personalized recommendations, keeping users updated on trending content. It uses an algorithmic feed based on previously viewed videos that users interact with or watch.  It never runs out of material to recommend.

TikTok also has a digital well-being feature, alerting users when they exceed two hours on the app. That’s something.  It also includes built-in privacy controls and settings for parents to monitor what the kids are watching. Because the kids are watching. Users in their teens accounted for 32.5 percent of TikTok’s active user accounts in the United States.

Who Started It?

TikTok was created by a Chinese tech firm called ByteDance,. A quick look at their web site (that’s all it takes) leaves you with a vague idea of who they are and what they do.  They bill themselves as an artificial intelligence company but they’re more of a consumer app factory. They create social platforms with content powered by AI technology.

TikTok began life as an app called Musical.ly, a social network built around lip-syncing and dancing, that merged with TikTok two years ago.

Musical.ly (now defunct) came into the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission in 2019 and received the largest-ever penalty for violating child privacy. According to Bloomberg News, the FTC fined ByteDance $5.7 million after discovering Musical.ly had illegally collected data from its underage users.

It’s So Easy to Use

All users have to do is record anything and everything from their daily routines and post it. Due to the short format, neither the video creation or viewing process takes much time or effort.

Easy to use and install, TikTok, social media, videosIn this year of isolation, social media can be a time suck with no return on the investment. TikTok offers instant gratification by allowing users to jump from forum to forum, sharing trends, jokes, songs, and memes. Feedback is instantaneous, Warning:  users and watchers like me find TikTok addictive.

Users don’t need an account or pay subscription fees. You don’t have to be famous or invest in expensive equipment to make a video. Most are created and uploaded on mobile phones and everybody’s got one.

But the brand does enjoy paid partnerships and benefits from a wide range of celebrities who use the platform.

Why We Love TikTok

TikTok makes us laugh.  When you need a moment – in this case 15 seconds—it provides entertainment and inspiration. The offerings are short, funny and irreverent and a refreshing change of pace. Mission accomplished.

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