For a lot of people, TikTok is an overnight sensation they didn’t see coming… This brand new platform seemingly sprouted out of nowhere, captivating the same audience formally dominated by Vine – before it was shut down in January of 2017.
TikTok has grown so fast, a lot of us still seem to be struggling to get our heads around what it even is! This isn’t an article designed to explain how to use TikTok to 70-year-olds, (no offense Grandpa), this is an article where we talk about what we have learned from TikTok so far and more importantly what to expect next.
The “For You” Page
Whether you love or hate the crazy TikTok compilations you find on YouTube or the short 15-second videos which seem to be flooding every popular social media under the sun, we highly encourage you to try using TikTok – and when we say this, we don’t mean install it on your phone and then forget about it, we mean actually use it for a week or two.
After using TikTok for a while, one thing should soon become blazingly obvious, Bytedance (the current owners of TikTok) is an A.I. Company.
Unlike pretty much every other social media we have ever used, your feed in TikTok isn’t filled with videos made by the creators you chose to follow. Instead, TikTok defaults to an A.I. powered “For You” page which suggests an endless supply of interesting videos based on your preferences.
At first, this A.I. is just about as useful as YouTube’s trending tab. The videos it shows you are pretty much based on popularity. …but after using the platform for a few days, you will soon notice an interesting shift. Instead of showing you videos that are trending, it will begin showing you videos from lesser known (or even new creators) as well as established creators based on your interests with surprising levels of accuracy!
This not only allows TikTok to remain an open and highly competitive platform for creators but it pretty much destroys the need to have a large following in order to create popular videos. At this stage, if you make quality content TikTok will find an audience for your videos.
This in itself is huge(!), but the fact that the platform doesn’t default to showing users content from the creators they are following means that having a huge following isn’t all that important anymore – which has been the foundation of essentially every “Social Media” ever!
Services like this that allow you to buy likes and followers for TikTok are virtually useless!
*Seriously we’re not endorsing these guys!
If you can’t see how this could change everything, we highly recommend that you spend a little “more time” on social media. Probably the worst advice ever, but anyway…
One example would be Twitter. Right now Twitter is struggling with a huge spam problem which could pretty much be abolished if they were to make use of an A.I. powered “For You” feed instead of the feed they are currently having so much trouble with.
This would kill out the bot problem as well since bots would be forced to create compelling content users are actually interested in, (not easy to do), in order to get any visibility on the platform.
Thinking a step further, the same could be said for Instagram where “user discoverability” is a little less than ideal in my opinion at least. Having a second “For You” feed filled with relevant content posted by users you aren’t directly related to would change the way the platform works as a whole!
Yet another idea which could go so wrong so fast is Google. If Google were to change its search results in order to best suit the person doing the searching, you would no longer have debates about whether or not a certain search result is fair or not… although this would probably spark a whole host of new problems and debates surrounding user privacy…
TikTok is really the first social media we’ve ever seen to use A.I. technology to control so much of what users do and don’t see on the platform. Because the search function as it stands is terrible!
As a user, it does sometimes make it difficult to understand why some videos are viewed over 100,000 times whereas others are only viewed 5,000 times, however, overall A.I. technology seems to be helping creators on TikTok more than it is getting in the way, which is probably why it is such a success at the moment…
We look forward to seeing how other social media giants decide to use the path cut out by TikTok’s success, the future is constantly becoming ever more interesting and exciting!