TikTok Newsletter 42

TikTok Intifada. The Social Democratic Party. Museum Marathon. Madelaine Turner


this is Understanding TikTok your weekly dose 💊 of TikTok. My name is Marcus. And i think about this Versailles Run Filter a lot.

Today we talk about:

🕌 The “TikTok Intifada”
👋 The Social Democratic Party
🏺Museum Marathon
🎥 Madelaine Turner

🕌 “TikTok Intifada”

The usage of social media in violent conflicts is nothing new. Ever since smartphones have been around they are used to spread mis-, disinformation and propaganda. Compare Newsletter 35 🇲🇲 TikTok’s mistakes in Myanmar.

The 2021 Israel-Palestinian crisis is not an exception. “Everyone is calling it the TikTok intifada,” according to Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute (The Jerusalem Post, April 26).

While the BBC (TikTok: How Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out on social media) and The Print from India (Israel-Palestine tensions aren’t just on the ground, some of it is escalating on TikTok too) sum up the events and give examples i found this observation in The Jerusalem Post notable:

“Shwartz Altshuler told The Jerusalem Post not to believe that because the videos showed Arab youth attacking Jews that the Jews were not incited to violence, too. Rather, the Jewish youth are less on TikTok and more on closed social networks like WhatsApp and Telegram.”

Interestingly enough TikTok is not seen as a regulating force. While a spokesperson told The Print that the “teams have been working swiftly to remove misinformation, attempts to incite violence, and other content that violates our Community Guidelines” Israeli Security Agency sources “said that there is no chance TikTok will act against the incitement videos, and argued that the best strategy is to engage in counter-propaganda.” The company’s owners are likely more interested in making a profit than censoring themselves, says Gabriel Weimann, professor of communication and senior researcher at the IDC Herzliya’s Institute for Counter Terrorism (The Jerusalem Post).

👋 The Social Democratic Party et al.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany is now on TikTok. Well, to be precise the SPD parliamentary group (@spdbt) has an account now, Martin Fuchs tweeted. Out of 152 SPD MPs five have already shown their faces on the account after week one.

The SPD joins the Free Democratic Party (FDP) parliamentary group who has been active under the name @beta_fraktion since November 2020 while the parliamentary group of the Union parties (CDU/CSU) does have an account (@cduscubt) but prefers to remain silent for now. Nonetheless CSU and CDU are active on different accounts like the official CSU-party account (@csuauftiktok) or the CDU campaign team (@connectcdu). Sounds complicated? 🤷 Find all german politicians active on TikTok on Martin’s brilliant list.

While the SPD is still a bit careful and reluctant to embrace the dialogue-heavy USP of TikTok meaning ‘Stitch’ and ‘Duet’ the FDP is already there. Three out of the last five videos posted, include or promote a ‘Stitch’ (Stitch allows users the ability to clip and integrate scenes from another user's video into their own. Like Duet, Stitch is a way to reinterpret and add to another user's content, building on their stories, tutorials, recipes, math lessons, and more.) Even if that means that people make fun of you.

By the way: Here is a neat little trick to find stitched videos. Type 'stitch @[username of the video]' into the search bar.

🏺Museum Marathon

Museums, museums, why am i writing about museums all the time. Maybe you have seen Newsletter 38, including 🎨 The most followed museums on TikTok. Probably because you can not easily go inside one right now depending on your place of residence.

TikTok hosted its first-ever global LIVE museum marathon on May 18 on the TikTok For Good account. During the day there were live sessions from 23 museums from all over. Check out the list above. I here and there joined several hundreds of people who were taken through various exhibitions  including comments ranging from “Wait what is happening here” to “Yep yep slow down so i can write plzzzz”.

Some curators could learn from storytelling techniques being applied on the app. For instance using a hook to drag people in, giving them added values besides intellectual power input. At least i heard and googled the term Biomorphic. Cultural capital ✔️

🎥 Madelaine Turner

Let´s talk about the news cycle for a sec. One year ago Rebecca Jennings did an interview with Madelaine Turner, 26-year-old who “filmed what is essentially an entire Wes Anderson movie on her phone, which subsequently took over the internet.” Turner had been on TikTok for only three month trying to keep up with her younger siblings. She was pretty successful with that due to a brilliant self-thought approach to cinematic filming and editing. So what about the news cycle then? 

Pretty precisely one year later on May 16, 2021 Vogue.com has a story on Madelaine Turner: This Screenwriter Turns Her TikToks Into Cinematic Shorts. It is still worthwhile reading matter for instance when Turner describes her style when making TikToks: Cool babysitter meets victorian scullery maid meets ’90s pop star. I aspire to dress like a main character’s insane, but lovable, best friend. Here is her account. Let´s wait who covers the story next year.

Like, share, comment and spread the newsletter. Like a virus. You know how that goes. Thx. Speak soon. Ciao, Marcus