TikTok Newsletter 49

Theophilus Junior Bestelmeyer

Hello. 

This is Understanding TikTok – your weekly reading matter. My name is Marcus.
Together with Chris Köver (Netzpolitik) i have just published a study on TikTok for political communication (german).

This week we talk about:

💥 New features
🪐 TikTok World
🤖 The Algorithm
🗃️ Accounts



💥 New features

It is not getting boring on the features front. Remember the shift to 3 minute videos last week (#48)? TikTok let’s you fast-forward through videos from now on. Just look for the white line. Not, not that one Grandmaster. “You will probably not see it in all videos; after some experimenting, I found that I was mainly finding it in the longer videos”, writes Barbara Krasnoff for The Verge. The feature is not yet rolled out for all but might be very useful with more long content formats coming up.

You will probably fast forward through a bunch of TikTok resumes (TikTok Newsroom) if you happen to work in human resources. TikTok wants to be LinkedIn for Gen Z, writes Insider. Fair enough. Quote: “TikTok users have already been using the platform as a tool for sharing career advice as well as providing tips for job openings, interview etiquette, and resume-building advice.”

If you have no idea on how to sell yourself,  maybe a shoutout can help. TikTok appears to be testing a Cameo competitor. You do not know what Cameo is? This is Cameo. And this is one of my favourite use cases. “The feature (Shoutout) is only available in select markets. So far, creators in Turkey and at least one in Dubai appear to have access”, reports Buzzfeed.  Chris Stokel-Waker broke the news earlier and shared this video.

🪐 TikTok World

TikTok can serve as a portal into different world (#47).


🇳🇬 This week i read about Nigeria’s ‘Teenage’ TikTok Stars like Rodney Umeh, Priscilla Isaac, Ope Keshinro or Ayodele Aguda. And there is an article in The Nation: What’s Tickin’ on TikTok? So what is? The #OmemmaChallenge is a gospel-tinged, spirited lip-sync and slomo dance trend using the song “Omemma” by Judikay.

🇵🇭 The first ever TikTok Awards Philippines 2021 have crowned their winners. Guess who won the Top Creator Award. Ranz & Niana. Here is a day in the life of Niana (@nianaguerrero). 25.3M Followers 386.3M Likes 🙀. And here is @ranzkyle.

🇨🇳 The chinese version of TikTok is called Douyin. Rural livestreaming is a thing there. Bloomberg has a story on village-born Jin Guowei – an Internet sensation with 7.3 million followers and 300 million yuan ($46 million) of sales in 2020. It is one of these typical dish washer millionaire stories. This time including pomegranates. And a great photo. Basically i included this story for you in order to feel the need to check out How to Go Live on TikTok: A Step-by-step Guide.


🤖 The Algorithm

TikTok's Algorithm and AI Tech are now up for sale, writes Gizmodo: The China-based company quietly launched a new BytePlus division back in June focused on selling TikTok’s artificial intelligence technology, including the popular recommendation algorithm behind its ForYou feed, to businesses worldwide, the Financial Times reported Sunday.

Recent reports do not shed the best light on TikTok’s snake oil. TikTok admits ‘significant’ error in algorithm after user highlighted ‘racial bias’ in video, writes The Independent. Here is more on TikTok user Ziggi Tyler exposing how ‘Black Lives Matter’ is flagged on TikTok as inappropriate content—but not ‘white supremacy’. TikTok apologized and said it is working to fix it, writes Insider.


While they are at it, maybe TikTok can fix the recommendation algorithm promoting homophobic and transphobic content too. Media Matters has investigated and demands “TikTok to enforce its own policies against the bigotry and discrimination being promoted on its platform.”

🗃️ Accounts

The relevance of the UEFA EURO 2020 as a big fat push for TikTok into mainstream culture will need some extra investigation. I am convinced that the obvious huge costs for ads, accounts and all the rest can be justified. And without telling you more about random german soccer stars on my for you page (please go away) i want to share this little masterpiece by the England national football team (@england). Hats off.


🕵️ Who the heck is Theophilus Junior Bestelmeyer. If you hang around on german TikTok you must have seen a million comments just repeating that name. Theophilus Junior Bestelmeyer. Why? What? Wait. This is him. He makes music. But that is not the reason why his name was all over for a short amount of time. I guess it must have been this stitch-video that started the hype. The rest was platform dynamic and the cultural technique of weird inside jokes gone wrong. By the way the only german medium that paid attention was an online-app magazine (Wer ist Theophilus Junior Bestelmeyer?). That pretty much sums up the current journalistic TikTok-literacy concerning platform-specific hypes, trends and topics that are not pasta-dishes or dead TikTok stars.


🪜 I was pretty intrigued by this story: Inside TikTok’s booming dissociative identity disorder community about a 29-year-old TikToker who identifies as a system of multiple personalities. This is their TikTok account (@theasystem) – fascinating.


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