Tik Tok is a Social Media platform focused on sharing vertical style 15 second videos.Proven to be a big hit with the Gen Z audience (especially considering is was the most downloaded iOS app in 2019) this channel seems to be the death of originality.
What is Tik Tok
TikTok was formally known as Musical.ly. The change to ‘TikTok’ was to reflect the range of content on the platform which extended beyond music and performance. The app features lots of different tools to help users create videos including reactions, filters, and background effects. The purpose of Musical.ly was essentially lip-syncing, and whilst this is still rife on TikTok, content has pushed further.
So what’s the big problem?
For those who remember the short-lived vine app (6 second videos on a mobile-based platform), TikTok is very similar. However, the lack of originality can be gathered by one short viewing session.
It seems as if the entire purpose of TikTok is to recreate videos over and over again until the hope of going viral. The ability to lift the sound from one video is easy with TikTok and quite often encouraged. The result of this seems to be that a video that gains traction is then repeated continuously by other users in the hope they also get likes, followers, comments etc.
This copycat culture, although popular, doesn’t quite sit right with us at Thump. Does TikTok simply encourage you to get engagement by essentially stealing someone else’s idea into a chain reaction? As a user, it can certainly become frustrating that after 6 scrolls you’ve heard the same audio and seen replicated visuals at least 3 times.
Yet, its still popular. What’s interesting is looking at the audience its marketed to: Gen Z. Generation Z is a generation that has grown up with Social Media intrinsic to their very being (generally). There’s never been a time for this generation where Social Media isn’t about getting the most likes, being the most seen, and ultimately becoming a Social Media star. The cultural force of TikTok might not sit well with us because we are simply not the audience. It’s undeniably popular, thus begs the question: are we simply being miserable and cynical?
Don’t Innovate, Just Imitate
As marketers, the concept of imitation is not a successful one. How can your content be effective if you imitate? It doesn’t seem as if the mechanics of TikTok will translate into further trends for digital marketing, however, its an interesting case study to consider – particularly if you’re looking at marketing to the younger audience. Furthermore, the marker of a ‘viral TikTok’ video tends to be it’s made itself onto other Social Media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
If the raison d’etre of TikTok is to remain as ‘get the most views’, the format works well. Otherwise, in terms of originality, it scores poorly in the world of digital content.