“Every now and then, a technology appears that is so intriguing that it spikes fantasies of what it is, does and all the things it might make possible…” this is how I started an article about Blockchain in the July 2019 Digigram. And here we go again: The next such technology is TikTok, the world’s fastest-growing social media platform and the hottest new thing for 2020!
TikTok will be very BIG. And it is way more than just a selfie-app for kids: Firstly, it completely hits the sweet spot of today’s mobile social media users – A “video first” combination of Facebook-Instagram-Vine-Snap-Twitter all in one. Secondly, it is easier to use than its predecessors – It includes tools for video creation and editing and for adding music (legally and without royalty costs!). An advantage that is hard for Instagram & Co. to copy because of their user interface legacy. And thirdly, they started with an almost exclusive focus on the teen segment, precisely the age group that advertisers will want to communicate with once TikTok has gone global mainstream. And when these two will come together, it will result in a massive “Ka-Ching” for TikTok – watch-out YouTube! In summary: TikTok is THE highly addictive platform for the quick mobile video candy that one of the most attractive consumer groups wants.
If you are still not convinced that TikTok deserves your attention, consider its mass appeal through the 1.2b downloads globally, of which over 100m in the USA alone, according to a FastCompany article. One social media consultant told me that in Asia, the reach of TikTok already surpassed the one of Instagram – all advertisers must take note! So let’s download the app and start filming and posting (you could start by trying to find me on the platform. Hint: Cat). Promise: I’ll make my first TikTok-video about this Digigram article. TikTok may still be pretty nascent outside of Asia, but it is growing more rapidly than any platform before, and consequently, there is still plenty of room (and usernames) to be occupied. So, nothing to lose, really!
But not so quick! On the downside of TikTok, there are serious allegations and concerns because TikTok is a Chinese company (owned by Beijing-based unicorn ByteDance). And obviously, there is a big difference between Chinese privacy norms, cultural and political tolerances, and Western ones. And this has already led to conflicts: Allegations include that TikTok suppresses content which is unsuitable to Chinese policy. The Guardian reported having seen TikTok moderation guidelines that banned “highly controversial topics, such as separatism, religion sects conflicts, conflicts between ethnic groups, for instance, exaggerating the Islamic sects conflicts,” aka as the Chinese government’s controversial efforts to “re-educate” millions of Muslim Uyghurs.
And a Muslim girl living in the USA who uploaded a video criticizing China for this effort had her account blocked. Furthermore, TikTok has been accused of storing videos on its servers in China even without users saving them. So think twice what you upload to TikTok.
I for one say that we should all start TikTokking and make our own experiences. Let me know what you think about TikTok!