TikTok Newsletter 60

Make a TikTok Every Day. Or Don't.


This is Understanding TikTok – your weekly TikTok 🤸 update. My name is Marcus.  I am happy to discuss “TikTok the News” at #Storyday21 in Hamburg. Might publish some ideas on that over on Twitter.

This week we talk about:

👯 The Fake TikTokers are here and there
💀 Do you speak Hellmaxxing
📚 365 Books or less

👯 The Fake TikTokers are here and there

A recent TikTok study by Nielsen suggests that users around the globe find TikTok content to be authentic, genuine, unfiltered and trendsetting, reports Social Media Today. Among the key findings: “Globally, an average of 53% of TikTok users say they trust others to be their real selves on TikTok.”

Well. Two weeks ago Vox published a piece about a company called FourFront which is currently running a network of fake TikTokers. These TikTokers are played by actors and use their accounts to act out storylines. FourFront recently sold “tickets” to a live Zoom with one of their characters. Apparently, thousands of people logged on to interact with her. (Garbage Day)

Is that necessarily a bad thing? And what does real and real selves actually mean?
I kind of missed being more, I guess, earnest on the internet, says 31-year-old contemporary art gallery director Alex Fitzgerald over on Embedd. Is he real?

Next we need to bring in the entire synthetic media debate or hand the microphone to William Shakespeare: We are such stuff / As dreams are made on and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep. 

💀 Do you speak Hellmaxxing

Of course the TikTok trend hellmaxxing is not real, writes Kelsey Weekman on Okay Zoomer: If you’re new to TikTok or the world of parent-scaring media, the initial tell for this gorgeous piece of satire is the fact “hellmaxxing” has two x’s in it, which is, mmm, a lot… and also the word hell. (That’s not good for the algorithm! TikTokers would spell it “h311” or something.)

In order to play around with a call Weekman makes in the text, i want to encourage you to gently embarrass yourself into media literacy.

Many articles on TikTok (just check Google News) remain in the shallow realms of negligible one-day trends (coffee + lemon anyone) or random assertions what “the teenagers” are doing these days, mixed with drama, fame and crime. You better reas this one: Do you speak TikTok? by Tom Hoy, recommended by Johannes Klingebiel – “if your still looking for a TikTok primer... this one is pretty great.”

📚 365 Books or less

Welcome to our little book corner. In recent weeks i have scrolled through an analog book on TikTok. 143 pages, filled by no other than Dave Jorgenson - the man behind the Washington Post’s TikTok account (1.1MFollowers 44.9MLikes).

The book is called Make A TikTok Every Day. And indeed you will find 365 ideas for videos in there. They are structured in chapters like “History TikTok”, “Explainer TikToks” , “Political TikToks” etc. plus short interviews with people like Jack Corbett the man behind Planet Money’s fantastic TikTok account.

Should you buy it? Why not. Always good to have a printed book around, right?! If you have to or want to start a TikTok account for an organisation, company or yourself you might find some useful, some crap and some inspiring ideas to start with. All ideas have a hashtag. As far as i have seen on TikTok no one has yet tried prompt number 3 #MakeATikTokEveryDayReview.

What else to read?

If you just read one book per year, here is one for 2022: TikTok Cultures in the United States. If you are more into reports i can recommend Antisemitism in the Digital Age: Online Antisemitic Hate, Holocaust Denial, Conspiracy Ideologies and Terrorism in Europe by HOPE not hate, in collaboration with Expo Foundation and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. Of course i printed out the 5 pages concerning TikTok in order to underline stuff. And for the weekend i bookmarked “It's Viral!” - A Study of the Behaviors, Practices, and Motivations of TikTok Users and Social Activism.

🍰 More

🧁 Notable New Creators. TikTok has curated some. And Creator community lead Kudzi Chikumbu and team have set up a website for you to check out here.

🧁 TikTok is so terrible at threading comments that the people have developed systems, tweets Hank Green. 

🧁 How artists use TikTok to create community during the pandemic. 

🧁 Wholesome content one: Greta + Rick Astley

🧁 Wholesome content two: An auto detailer picking out flaws in Tesla’s body work

Okay, and here is an egg on rice. Enjoy the rest of the day. Speak soon. Ciao