DIP IN: One tip to start to understand how TikTok works as a new user

Of all the useful things to emerge from a pilot session of my new workshop on making video for TikTok and Reels was speed.

By speed I mean the speed of TikTok threw a few people.

At first, it feels fast and the edits within each clip are fast, too.

If Facebook is your chosen platform it can feel dizzyingly fast at first.

We’re getting used to faster delivery. YouTube say more people are watching video faster.

As a user, I can scroll quicker through TikTok than I can navigate through YouTube. At first, that’s disarming.

One tip to understand TikTok as a new user

Download it and spend some time with it. Within a day or so the algorithm is working out the stuff you like from what you watch and what you don’t. Very quickly you’ll start to get onto the wavelength.

Academic Kimberley Hall, associate professor at Wofford College, has come up with an intriguing theory. 

“TikTok changes the relationship between user and content because there is less control. You are moving through this stream and letting it wash over you. It changes the relationship between the user and content because they’re in some ways in less control. They’re being carried along by this stream of content by others. 

“Operating behind that is the algorithm that’s deciding what content to present to them. On the surface, it feels like a live performance. You’re there to enjoy and participate rather than control and orchestrate yourself.”

The feeling of being passive takes a few moments to get used to.

The advice I was given when I heard about Twitter is 2008 was to join and create an account in your own name. Spend some time with it and make some mistakes under your own name.

That advice is timeless for any new channel, TikTok included.

With Twitter, yolu have to go looking for your interests.

With TikTok they’ll pretty much come to you so watch and like the things you like the look of and scroll past those that don’t catch your fancy.

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