Wait, before you answer that. Let me ask you this:
Where were you when you first heard of YouTube?
The platform launched in 2005. I was working as an associate editor at Body+Soul magazine and YouTube was something I heard a few other editors laughing about over a cubicle wall.
“Oh, it’s stupid,” my editor Jen said. “It’s people posting dumb videos of themselves.”
And that’s all it was. Bloopers and dopey stunts. I barely glanced at it. I figured, as I usually do, that it was meant for someone else.
That was long before YouTube was earning $6 billion in revenue, and rivaling Netflix in terms of its power. (Of course, back then, Netflix was a red envelope that came in the mail.)
And so now I ask you: Are you on TikTok?
I know my audience. And I’m guessing that you don’t spend TOO much of your time on it. Am I wrong? Feel free to correct me.
Maybe you think of it as silly synchronized dance routines, cleaning tips, and other odd gambits for attention, and you’re not wrong. But I think it’s more than that.
Think it’s just for kids? Funny, that’s what we said about Facebook ten years ago. And now kids wouldn’t be caught DEAD there.
I starting spending time on TikTok for the same reason I started Game of Thrones: I wanted to be part of that conversation. I wanted to know what was doing.
And—I found myself wildly entertained. Who doesn’t love a dog/owner reunion video? C’mon.
What I think is critical for makers and teachers and speakers of all kinds to note is how the app is changing how we think about content.
Just as every talk now aims to be a TED talk, TikTok is making us get right to the point, while giving us room to be quirky and funny and smart and whatever else we want to be—in a very tiny window.
It also flattens and widens the playing field of content. Which means, anyone can play.
After months of watching, I decided I wanna play! So under the tutelage of my 14-yo niece, I broke my TikTok seal over the holiday and am now having ALL kinds of ideas about the things I want to do there.
I don’t think you “have” to be on there, btw. I don’t think anyone has to be anywhere. The fun of trying a new platform is seeing if you like the game of it, if it triggers ideas. And it is for me.
I dragged you along with me when I got excited about Clubhouse, and I’d love it if you’d join me on TikTok too! I’m doing the whole 30 reasons series there, and also plan to do some green screens of me in some unfortunate hairstyles from the early aughts.
Pop over to TikTok and say hi! Just search my name. And feel free to like, follow, share comments (good and bad).
…Unless you’re afraid that China is using it to track your every move (P.S., your phone has been doing that for a decade).
See you over there!