#85: Numbers are nice
but relevance is nicer.
This is Understanding TikTok – your ✨ more or less ✨ weekly update. My name is Marcus. I will be in New York next week. If you want to talk about TikTok on a rooftop (Bedford Ave) please let me know.
Today we talk about:
🚣 Numbers are nice
📡 TikTok Journalism
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🚣 Numbers are nice
TikTok has a new king. And he is succeeding a queen. Well, this is not the British monarchy. But Khaby Lame now has more followers than Charli D’Amelio. If you do not know either. Here are some infos about Khaby. And here are some infos about Charli.
Some commentators had some thoughts about what the change of places means: Lame’s rise in followers signals the increasing rate of TikTok’s global audience and appeal of content that surpasses language barriers. It shows that an app that was mostly known for music and dance is expanding beyond that to other genres and to greater recognition (The Publish Press).
I suggest that we check out the engagement rate of both accounts instead of staring at the follower numbers. In fact Charli currently has 11,0B likes and Khaby has 2,3B. This is quite a difference. Especially on a content platform where you do not need to follow accounts to consume them on your For Your Page!
Here is a thought by German journalist Dirk von Gehlen i just read this morning: Why do people believe in the value of followers? Because they assume that the number makes a statement about the reach of an account. However, the number actually says very little about this – at least much less than is commonly assumed.
It makes more sense to regard prominence or visibility in the digital ecosystem as a fluid currency – which only ever has a very short half-life. The goal for content creators these days is not to accumulate numbers, but to become and hopefully stay relevant by adding value to an ever demanding audience.
Numbers are nice but relevance is nicer.
📡 TikTok Journalism
Journalism has suddenly taken off on TikTok, writes PressGazette. This definitely depends on whom you are asking. I have been covering JournoTok since the start of this newsletter in the summer of 2020. And quite a few media companies and journalists have been around ever since and before. Francesco Zaffarano has compiled an extensive list already in 2020. Here is my german list.
But undeniable there has been some momentum in recent months. Now that some big names have finally joined, e.g. BBC, FAZ, etc. But there is still some confusion about who is on the platform. The chart Which news publishes have the most followers on TikTok? by PressGazette was discussed on Twitter, because it left out some big names and apart from that includes only UK/US accounts.
A new academic project is about to change that. MAKE IT NEW(S) project is an international and interdisciplinary research collective led by Daniel Klug (Carnegie Mellon University, USA) and Ulla Autenrieth (University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons, Switzerland).
They compiled “a worldwide list of currently 1400+ news providers and journalists with profiles on TikTok. The list is not complete and will be frequently updated. Not all accounts could be verified, but most of them look real. The list so far does not include radio stations and student/university news.” Here is a little interview with Daniel.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the criteria that you applied: What is a news provider and what is a journalist? Do you only include „traditional“ media companies and trained journalists?
We loosely understand news providers as institutions that are providing and communicating news through a main media outlet other than TikTok. This does not depend on the content they are posting on TikTok. For now, we include accounts of legacy newspapers, print magazines, digital first news outlets, legacy television channels and formats, and journalists that we could identify by name and/or affiliation on their TikTok account. We manually searched for accounts, therefore the list does not claim to be complete, and we are aware that the list is biased by our search strategy. We understand this list as an ongoing project given that more and more international, national and regional news publishers are starting to utilize TikTok.
How often do you update the list?
We are constantly adding new accounts to the list, and we are planning to update the list every couple of months or so, depending on how many new additions we have. The next big step will be to add radio news providers. We hope to do this in late summer this year.
What surprised you the most when compiling the list?
We definitely were surprised to find many local news media accounts in countries such as Nepal, Maldives, or Azerbaijan. It was likewise surprising that we couldn't find a lot news providers accounts from European countries like Belgium, Denmark, or Netherlands, which we were expecting to see more of. Again, we are in no way claiming to have found all of them. If you know a news provider account that's not in our database yet, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
🍉 Gen Z is influencing the abortion debate — from TikTok (Washington Post)
🍉 Patrick Bateman is now a Gen Z20 detailing his skin care (Garbage Day)
🍉 TikTok is advertising job openings in Moscow (Free Beacon) ← Source
🍉 Cowboy Caviar (New York Post)
🍉 0.5 Selfie (New York Times)
🍉 58.15 minutes interview with Jeremy Fragrance (in german)
This is not the end. Speak soon.