TikTok Newsletter 52

A Guide to TikTok


This is Understanding TikTok – your weekly TikTok newsletter. My name is Marcus.

I am currently  investigating German TikTok and #btw21 aka The 2021 German Federal Election as a TikTok researcher for Mozilla Foundation 🦊. Check out their TikTok account. It is good. And deserves more attention.

This week we talk about:

🤺Olympian TikTok
👷TikTok’s Turkish Labour Cinema
🐕 The Verge Guide to TikTok

🤺Olympian TikTok

I wrote about 🏊 Olympians and Paralympians on TikTok in (#50). And just as predicted (that was an easy one) there is a lot of coverage because Olympian TikTok makes watching the Olympics fun (Mashable).

Embedded focuses on “one athlete in particular”. Ilona Maher. Maher, a 24-year-old competing in her first Olympics on the women’s rugby team, hails from Burlington, Vermont.

Forbes has a weird story on Olympians Go Viral On TikTok including some sort of timeline called Key Facts like this one: Australian water polo player Tilly Kearns responded to a video from Australian rugby player Kennedy Cherrington.

The Washington Post has a similiar story about Athletes [that] offer behind-the-scenes look at the Olympic Village on TikTok, from cardboard beds to deep-fried Camembert. Rebecca Jennings concludes Olympics TikTok is one of the best parts of the Games. Quote: “Did you also know that there’s an entertainment center where athletes can all hang out and play table tennis and arcade games together? That’s adorable!”

After this guy “made a TikTok about changing my Tinder location to put myself in the Olympic Village so that I can fall in love with an Olympian” Insider on a more serious note had a story on TikTok creators [that] exposed LGBTQ athletes using Grindr in Tokyo's Olympic Village, endangering them around the world. TikTok removed the videos (Insider).

What does it all mean? International athletes – many in the TikTok-relevant age group – are naturally using the app. What else? It is a source for journalistic stories.

👷TikTok’s Turkish Labour Cinema

I had seen some of Ahmet Tezcan’s videos on TikTok showing how to break up enormous rocks. Little did i know. Until i read this important piece by The Guardian about workers that have become unlikely stars of the video app, while revealing harsh conditions.

“With posts from factories, fields and construction sites, workers in Turkey are going viral on TikTok. The app’s staples such as challenges, dancing and comedy abound, but amid the joy it is hard not to miss the criticism of dire working conditions. Turkey was ranked among the 10 worst countries in the world for workers for the sixth year in a row by the International Trade Union Confederation’s 2021 Global Rights Index.”

The article has links to various video examples, but the most important link is this one. Because when posts by workers started getting popular on the app last year, Karşı Sanat, an art gallery in Istanbul, took notice and made a compilation for an online exhibition. 👈

🐕 The Verge Guide to TikTok

I have seen a lot of The Verge articles in my Google TikTok Alert lately. This is because The Verge has put together an entire Guide to TikTok. There are many listicles and guides telling you what to do when you start using the platform but this whole package is really useful!

Little articles with screenshots help you to learn things like How to teach TikTok what you like to watch 🦑 How to use the Green Screen effect on TikTok 🥬 or How to download your TikTok video watch history 💀.

What else?

🇦🇹 daddy_sh0rty has just entered the building
Sebastian Kurz is an Austrian politician who serves as Chancellor of Austria. He just joined TikTok (Heute.at). Aged 34, Kurz is the youngest head of government in the world. But his performance on the platform does not show. To be honest. His various fake accounts are way more entertaining. Kurz’s appearance feels rather boring. Not sure if “exclusive insights into his everyday life as Federal Chancellor, but also into the summer tour of the People's Party” will change that.

📖 Boom Boom Book Party
Chris Stokel-Walker has written a book on TikTok (Canburry Press). You know his name when you are an avid reader of this newsletter. Chris knows a thing or two about the platform. You can and should join Laura (from First Draft) and Chris to chat all things TikTok on Twitter Spaces (yes, the Clubhouse thingy).

📍Thursday, July 29th - 6.30-7.30pm BST.

I will be on a train with lousy internet somewhere in the middle of the german nowhere but i’ll try to join too.

💉How TikTok Sounds Are Used to Fuel Anti-Vaccine Fears
TikTok Sounds are being used to create and popularise misleading and harmful COVID-19 related content on the platform, in particular discouraging people against getting vaccinated, ISD analysts have found.


That’s it.

I will go back now to reading an undergraduate honors thesis “Does Tiktok show viewers the content relevant to them?” by Ekaterina Fedorova, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley. Or squander my time with this thread. I barely understand half of it. But i am intrigued.