• Chloe Chapdelaine

Understanding TikTok (for Adults)

Updated: Jan 7


TikTok?? What about Instagram? Or Twitter? Or Facebook? ANOTHER social media app!??


YUP.


It’s called TikTok, and here’s what you need to know about it. I gained 60k in less than a week by simply taking the time to learn how it works.




TikTok is a social media app that can be compared to Instagram, however is only used for sharing videos. If you remember the days of vine, it’s kind of like that.


Formerly known as Musical.ly, it gained its rise primarily in young audiences (hence jokes of it only being used by 13 year olds) by sharing videos up to fifteen seconds long, often of dances or lip syncing.


But, things are changing. Now with BILLIONS of users and a plethora of celebrities turning to the app, its popularity is drastically increasing, making it more and more difficult for the “average” person to gain traction on the app as they once could.


Here is everything you need to know about it as an adult:

(or if you just want to get TikTok famous):


TikTok is comprised of two main feeds, your “following” feed (people who you choose to follow) and the “for you” page, which is videos suggested by TikTok that it thinks you may like. These can be anything from skits, to singing, to lip syncing, to nature videos. You can choose which feed you want to browse. If you see someone comment "fy" or "fyp," it likely means they saw your video from the "for you" page and they're just letting you know.



You can only view one video at a time, and must navigate only with an up or down scrolling action as each video fills your entire screen. The video will loop until you scroll creating a never-ending feed of content. This can be compared to Instagram’s main feed.



There are profiles too, which is where you can see all the videos an individual has posted, and scroll through them like Instagram. It’s overall easy to navigate once you understand the layout.


TikTok has a user-friendly option for editing your own videos to be posted on your main page where people can follow you. Editing options include adding filters, special effects, and adding a soundtrack to your video. Your videos will be pushed out via the “for you” page and will perform depending on how people react to them, making it quite simple to get “TikTok viral.”


One thing you will notice is a theme between the background sounds being repeated in videos. TikTok has a data base of snippets from songs which can dictate whether your video (and its sound) are “trending” or not. If you use a trending sound shown in the sound charts on your video, your video is more likely to be shared with others on the for you page. You can also choose to use the original sound from your video.


TikTok is very dependent on trends that users copy and put their own variations on. This can be specific dances, edits, skits, and more. By participating in a trend, other users will often engage with your content. Ways they can engage includes duets (this will show a screen beside yours where you can react at the same time), reactions (similar to duets but your video is in the top left screen), comments, and by sharing.



And that’s a massive summary! But here are some of the secrets to surviving on the app as an adult:


- Be prepared to get roasted in the comments. This isn’t like Instagram where people are polite. These kids can be ruthless and even rude, but it’s seen as normal behavior on the app.


- If you can’t dance, just skip it. I still made it to my size on the app without doing a single TikTok dance. It’s not necessary. 


- There are a LOT of young people on the app. The jokes are only poking fun at the truth.

 

- Your feed doesn’t matter like Instagram. People aren’t browsing the aesthetic of your feed and looking at colours, they’re consuming your content and deciding if you’re worth following based on quality or humour. The biggest girl on TikTok posted 6 videos in a row wearing *gasp* the exact same outfit. On Instagram that could never fly. On TikTok, we just don’t care.


-15 second snippets of songs will always be stuck in your head. *renegade renegade renegade renegade, who, ha! Duh duh DUH!*



- It’s not hard to make it. Just give the people what they want. Honestly, iPhone videos seem to work better than professional ones. Ditch the 4k video quality for this one.


- You’ll learn new slang including: “cancelled, hype, no cap, cake, and vibe check,”

and you need to understand what all these mean to make sense of the comment sections.


- You’re going to download it a joke, you know, just to see the videos. Then you’ll make an account, but NEVER post anything. Just watch. Then you'll do a post here and there AS A JOKE, OBVIOUSLY, duh. *13 posts in an hour later* OKAY YOU’RE ADDICTED. No backing out now. *evil laugh*


Have fun TikTokking!!!! See you on the "for you" page ;)


Cheers,

Chloë 

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© 2018 by Chloe Chapdelaine, @chloe.chapdelaine

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