Following on from last weeks’ Tech Review on deep and shallow fake videos, this week we asked Tony McGovern to look at Tik Tok and why this is so successful.

What is TikTok? 

TikTok, it sounds like the last 5 minutes of work stretching on indefinitely preventing you from getting out and enjoying your night. TikTok TikTok. This (TikTok) is actually a recent social media platform for creating short video. This social media platform is targeted mainly at teenagers and young adults.  

Have you recently walked down the street and seen a group of people doing a weird dance followed by someone doing short sprints back and forth to a mobile phone propped up recording everything it sees? That’s a thing now. TikTok is responsible for the strangeness you may see on your daily walks.  

How to use TikTok? 

TikTok videos can be up to a minute long. This works several ways. Users can create several different short videos and then use the editing and filter system provided to work on creating your ideal video when combining all the features together.

You can also record a standard video on your phone and upload it as it is. And, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. One can deliver a simple video as well. If you create a video on a computer or tablet, please remember TikTok is made for mobiles so create your videos appropriately at the 9:16 ratio. This is ideal for phones providing you with a tall video to match mobile screens.  

TikTok is currently testing the use of videos up to 3 minutes long but this is in its early stages.  

TikTok vs Vine 

Maybe short videos on social media isn’t a new concept for you. Maybe you think you’ve seen something similar before. You will be glad to know you are right. 

There was a previous App called Vine, founded in 2012. This was bought over and released in 2013 by Twitter. This showed short videos at 6 seconds in length.

This sounds like something that has proven to be extremely popular. Why doesn’t everyone know about it? Vine gained a large popularity in a short time. However due to the short time limit of 6 seconds per video (is it really a video or a GIF?), it was found to be unsuited for marketing.

Also due to the timely buy out of Instagram by Facebook in 2012, Vine may just have had bad timing, having to compete with other social media platforms already quickly becoming giants.   

Accessibility in TikTok 

TikTok has several accessibility features. More people can use it. Auto Captions is a feature allowing TikTok to automatically generate subtitles. This lets any hard of hearing users know what’s going on.

These Auto Captions can be edited by the video creator to ensure everything is correct.  Captions can be turned on or off by users as required. Auto Captions is currently available in American English and Japanese. More languages are being work on.  

TikTok also has a photosensitivity feature that allows users to avoid photosensitive content which is good news for anyone with epilepsy. 

What to use TikTok for? 

TikTok provides a wide range of uses for its platform. The fact the videos are short means the focus is on the content. No long boring videos here. It is currently a quick, easy and interesting way to reach the younger generation.

  • There are quick videos on learning new skills (essentially only showing the skill itself – no long intro here). There are lots of quick and easy tutorials available. 
  • Showcasing art: videos are ideal for speeded up drawing, or showing other long projects sped up in a short timeframe. 
  • Education is also available – these are short snippets of information or interesting facts.   
  • Displaying the latest products and its uses. Marketing at its finest. TikTok has also shown itself to be a great platform for promotions of bars, restaurants and holidays (Covid free times & areas apply). Short videos of popular destinations, amazing views, trendy bars and tasty looking food you swear you can smell. These short videos are extremely popular.  
  • TikTok is also popular with social influencers, who are really racking up the views and extending their own brand.  
  • TikTok is currently trending on its short attention videos for popular viral trends, entertainment, dancing and comedy.  
Privacy 

This App is for aged 13+ however it has a separate experience for younger users, but this collects limited information.  

TikTok is owned by a Chinese parent company ByteDance. All users data is stored in multiple servers outside of China in places like the USA. So any users data is not under Chinese Law.  

This App does collect different information as is necessary for any App to become stable and improve. TikTok requires access to your contacts, access to gallery. This is necessary to upload your images, videos and sounds.

You also can provide access to your other social media platforms should you decide to share your content from TikTok. TikTok may also collect information on your location, browser and devices for security reasons and improving usability.  

TikTok may keep any of your information as needed to provide you with the service you are using. Any information not needed to provide the service is kept only as long as they have a legitimate business purpose, where they are legally obligated to hold onto the data. 

You can submit a request to get access or delete any information TikTok has collected about you and your account. 

Conclusion  

TikTok is an App which has come out of nowhere and shows no sign of disappearing. TikTok makes it easy to create content and even easier to watch content. The uses of the TikTok platform are varied from education, marketing, causes, life hacks and of course entertainment. TikTok is proving to be very popular for a range of reasons.  

One of the side benefits of the younger generation using the App is that it provides tech and design skills from constantly creating and editing videos. This improves storytelling and narrative. This App also encourages creativity in users when making new content, which is always a good thing.  

Happy TikTok!


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