We looked at TikTok but didn't understand it, so stand-up comedian and social media star Finlay Christie (100 million views and counting) has jumped in to offer some tips on how to use the platform...
So you've finally given in. Intrigued to see if it's more than Chinese propaganda and teenagers dancing, you've downloaded TikTok. You're probably trying to promote yourself, your business or you're still interested in those dancing teenagers. As someone with a following that was once considered impressive, but is now probably just par for the course, here's my guide to TikTok:
- Take a deep breath. TikTok is not as complicated as you're imagining. The "For You Page" shows you videos based on what you watch most, be that educational content, food, comedy, sports, news. Do not ask your children why TikTok is full of big booty Latinas twerking. It is not. TikTok has just correctly sussed that that is what you love watching.
- Don't judge TikTok based on the mainstream stuff. Yes, Charli D'Amelio and the Hype House probably aren't your thing. Go down the rabbit holes on the weirder side of TikTok. One video on telekinesis will lead to another, and suddenly you're invested in a subculture you never knew existed. For about a month TikTok thought I was both gay and Somali. I saw some incredible content in that time.
- For some reason everyone on TikTok talks like a black American woman/uses LGBT slang. I also don't know why this is. It's very weird and you don't have to get involved. Nobody will see you do it and think 'Dayum, sis really ate!!!' The comment section can be hilarious but for the most part it's the same four comments repeated over and over. Some variation on "This video lives in my head rent-free and that's on period" or "It's not too late to take this down bestie" or "Bro really said [random emoji related to video]."
- If you're trying to make videos, get straight to the point. Young peoples' attentions do not span. Have you noticed that every YouTube star is jarring, shouty and speaks really quickly? This is all we can manage. Don't do that old person thing of breathing heavily into the camera for the first four seconds and then saying 'Oh, hello there'. Grab the viewer in the first second and put a caption on screen that explains EXACTLY what the video is going to consist of, just in case the viewer didn't understand the point of the video on the first few infinite re-watches.
- The app's functionality is based around collaborative creation - re-using sounds on viral videos, filming your own video alongside someone else's. This essentially means TikTok is a meme machine, which can have some hilarious results, as seen here:
- Yes, the comments are mean. They're written by anonymous children. What do you expect?
- Just don't get the app, man. You'll hate it. You hate young people and everything they stand for.