For April 2020, the WordPress Discover challenges are back. Ben Huberman is leading them this week.
Today’s Discover theme is the word “new.” The challenge suggests reflecting on a new activity. “New” sometimes carries with it a connotation of “young,” and what is younger and as delightful than the going platform for fifteen-second video, TikTok?
It is clear that the social media video service TikTok appeals to the young, but some adults use it, and while I suppose it requires discretion, there are a lot of funny fifteen-second videos that are wonderful. Teaching myself the use of TikTok has provided the biggest payoff for me of late, in terms of an activity that doesn’t do anything short of providing enjoyment.
Why should youth culture be exclusive to the young? If you have any interest in cultural phenomena that characterize youth culture, whether you’re an adult or not, TikTok provides video-format feedback for your interest in a way that is mostly unique to the platform.
I invented a strategy to discover videos. The most popular entries among the fifteen-second video presentations don’t always interest me, but I devise ten phrases at a time, which is how TikTok works, that I use to search for people who have cool videos. I run through them and see what jumps out of the results for me.
For example, any short phrase, like, for example, the two-word phrase “next message,” provides a variety of random but potentially interesting video results. It certainly isn’t scientific, but that’s the tact I take in my pursuit. Obviously, fifteen seconds is a very short time, but even a few minutes on TikTok can pay off.
For example, specifically, any interest in, say, Star Wars is easily accommodated. There are so many Star Wars fans on TikTok, and, as I’ve said in another post about TikTok, the phenomenon of identifying yourself by a Lego Star Wars picture is persistent. Although the latest film trilogy has concluded, with Season 2 of The Mandalorian and also Season 7 of the animated prequel-era Star Wars series The Clone Wars, Star Wars continues to be a “presence,” like Obi-wan Kenobi was for Vader in 1977’s Star Wars film, aboard the Death Star, it is true that any interest in Star Wars is easily met on TikTok. Wonderful, all in all.
I appreciate the April 2020 Discover challenges.