The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok

13 minute be taught

The “je ne sais quoi” of TikTok

How a misunderstood platform has fully taken over the arena.

TikTok has taken over the arena. Every other social media has a shallow replica of it that sucks. I accomplished using most frequent social media about 5 years ago. I became cheerful with out it — I didn’t feel love the leisure became lacking from my lifestyles. If I accomplished using TikTok, I could perchance perchance omit it. TikTok is diversified from the total lot that has attain sooner than it in many programs that are advanced to narrate. In French this concept is legendary as “je ne sais quoi.” I also have faith in it’s the long stir of social media. As in, each subsequent a success social media product will incorporate some part of TikTok’s improvements. The difficulty is, I don’t mediate reasonably about a folks realize what these improvements surely are. I’m a mammoth fan of TikTok, so I belief I’d strive to lay it out in this post.

Only in the near previous this tall article did a deep dive with metrics and records to bewitch a comprise a study to quantify exactly why TikTok is healthier. This post is no longer that. It’s unapologetically anecdotal. Furthermore, I’m mindful that TikTok’s status has geo-political implications that are the sphere of intense debate. This post doesn’t take care of that at all—it’s purely about TikTok as a product and platform.

From MySpace onward, the paradigm of social media has always been about telling. Telling the platform—and every person else—who you are. You repeat it your gender, your date of birth, your pursuits, your pals, your thoughts about this or that field. You’ve got this persona you craft and latest to the arena. A brief look over my LinkedIn profile reveals this in motion. I’m presenting myself as a competent and experienced professional. I comprise even taken little quizzes to level to talent in this or that talent. Right here’s doubtlessly overkill. My work ancient previous is enough to keep my bona fides. However the reason it’s so fleshed out is that I’m indulging in this ritual — this act of increasing and heightening a persona. Whereas you occur to’re my age, you’ve been doing it in some develop or one more on social media since you had been a teen and even younger.

The difficulty with these personas is—it’s no longer reasonably surely you. The act of describing your self causes distortion. It’s who you mediate you are, or it’s how you’d like folks saw you. Perchance it surely is you—to your most productive day. This has been widely renowned and decried. The review and despair form of comparing every person’s manicured outside to your inside of. At it’s worst, a “who has the finest lifestyles” contest. Attention and validation (each exact human wants) is a scarce resource that wants to be scraped along with performative posts that originate with phrases love “I’m humbled to mumble…”

That’s correct for deepest social media. The ache is even worse in the event you’re on the lookout for to design art and attain folks, love with writing, music, or are residing streaming. The winners bewitch the total consideration. You are going to secure folks commenting on original music movies begging somebody to bewitch a comprise a study out their state material.

When I first tried TikTok doubtlessly some time in 2018 or 2019, it didn’t quiz me for the leisure. No longer even my name. It undoubtedly didn’t quiz me to abolish a persona the attain other social media does. That appealed to me, nonetheless the state material it confirmed me became also diversified from the leisure I’d viewed sooner than. Obviously there had been comedy sketches and frequent state material reminiscent of that you just have to want viewed on YouTube or Vine. But when TikTok is talked about, folks focal level on “the algorithm” and the blueprint in which it reveals you state material that’s particularly attention-grabbing to you. What they omit is that TikTok enables forms of state material that merely can’t exist on other platforms.

@mikeb_hehe_ ♬ Hunger – Florence + The Machine

One day, this video chanced on my feed. A brief swipe over to his story reveals that’s all he posts- correct movies of him dancing his coronary heart out to ecletic pop music. There’s no sizable payment proposition reminiscent of that you just have to gaze on a quick develop Instagram video about design cute popsicles for summer. At the cease he didn’t attain the digital camera and divulge “Hiya in the event you cherished that, make plug to love and subscribe and hit that notification bell.” It’s correct somebody dancing their coronary heart out and playing themselves.

That’s it. It is doubtless you’ll presumably bewitch it or leave it. When I review this video, it makes me feel cheerful. I revel in seeing somebody give themselves over to music so passionately. I mediate his song choices are tall and he publishes a Spotify playlist that has led me to gape some of my original accepted music. Customarily he dances outside, generally he dances in his kitchen. I don’t know the leisure else about him, and don’t if truth be told ought to.

His TikTok story has over 25,000 followers. He has a fanbase for his movies and clearly will get his wants as a human being (consideration, validation, connection) met by posting these movies.

It’s nearly very unlikely for me to have faith in somebody posting the same state material on YouTube or Instagram and being a success with out a longtime following. They’d be belief to be an oddity/insane for posting movies of themselves dancing to 10-20 views per video.

Right here’s my accepted develop of TikTok. I don’t comprise a smartly defined categorization scheme, nonetheless this falls below what I could perchance perchance timeframe “impressionistic” – It’s a window into somebody else’s experience and emotions. Almost love a prick of lifestyles. It connects you to one more human being in a attain that Fb always claimed to. Right here’s one more one of my favorites.


most productive moment in my dj profession🕊💖🥺🥲#fyp #nyc #sophie

♬ customary sound – ♡︎

Accurate a moment posted by a D.J. of a instruct he became playing, nonetheless when the fall hits I’m able to feel the pure expression of pleasure, condensed accurate into a moment in time.

Other impressionistic fashion movies can pick the essence of a predicament, or an intimate moment.


the enduring diner is aid #losangeles #minivlog #101coffeeshop #clarkstreetdiner

♬ constellations by duster – ‍


scurry with me

♬ customary sound – Kyle Rothwell


He’s the final rascal, nonetheless boy does he deserve the arena 😭😭😭 #borzoisoftiktok #flowerfarmerflorist #flowerfarmersdog #longdog #borzoi #wolfhound

♬ customary sound – Roisin (VerdeFlowerCo)

No longer each video ought to be the massive name of the level to, that you just have to comprise these utility avid gamers making up elements of your “For You” page.

Even when no longer impressionistic, there’s condominium for introspective or “unfavorable” state material that explores the rotund spectrum of what it’s love to… be a particular person. It feels official. No longer created to elicit sympathy, reasonably, commiseration.

Fancy this particular person expressing how they feel after shifting to one more country.


How I comprise been feeling lately #movingboard #seoullife

♬ That wants to be so confusing for a little bit lady – William

Or a particular person being very candid about his fight to climb the socioeconomic ladder, and his self doubts.


Abilities of on the lookout for to secure an house in China #condominium #house #condominium #china

♬ customary sound – Roger Wu

Collaboration is so straightforward. A user can write a raw, vulnerable verse to somebody else’s song and form the emotional connection that music can faciliate with a complete lot of thousands of people. Without even displaying their face or name. To me, that is improbable. Especially in the event you bewitch into story that the closest other platforms get to that is spammy “Plz review out my music 🙏” comments on a Drake music video.


wrote some of my comprise lyrics to @Katie Gregson-MacLeod song because i’ve been obsessed and listening nonstop and this doesn’t ship it justice nonetheless i couldn’t wait on it #songwriter #phoebebridgers #advanced #lucydacus #homosexual #veil #music #indie #saviorcomplex #musician #singer

♬ custom sound – ethan javellana🪬🧿

Or, folks can birthday celebration and mock some highly polished performative state material. The capability to stitch and layer original movies on top of each other is incredibly interesting.


longest one? @TomWalker #duet #emo #midwestemo #americanfootball #musictok #SongOfTheSummer

♬ customary sound – Graham

For the total cynicism I’ve viewed about social media over the final 7 years, TikTok has felt love the reverse. A scroll through a Fb or Instagram feed can leave one feeling no longer up to. TikTok has never made me feel that attain. It’s made me feel viewed and understood by complete strangers. It’s helped me realize myself and folks better. It made me feel a lot less alone all through the pandemic.

That’s the level I’m on the lookout for to get at with this post. It’s very advanced to list, especially to “Product Managers” targeted on KPIs who mediate of TikTok as “quick movies.” It’s no longer correct a structure trade or a tab that you just have to add to your app’s navigation. It’s an unambiguously particular trade in social media, on reasonably noteworthy each entrance. To strive to get it down to a bulleted checklist:

  • Organic viewers acquisition with out want for self promotion.
  • Forms of state material that can flourish is blueprint broader.
  • Unbelievable collaboration tools, ensuing in mixing and remixing art on the platform. The finest other instance of this I’m able to mediate of this on other social platforms is textual. Quoting somebody’s tweet and commenting on it and the love.
  • Manages to withhold a platform-stage “zeitgeist” of kinds, reminiscent of Twitter, while also giving customers highly customized experiences. It does this with out the need for trending matters or curated hashtags, it’s all in the algorithm.
  • Fosters empathy as one more of sowing division. Much less emphasis on “culture battle” and politics.

That’s the change enlighten I crucial to address in this post. Whereas TikTok is interesting and modern, it is no longer all encompassing. It could per chance most likely perchance perchance’t bewitch over the characteristic that Fb plays. Especially when it involves issues love Teams or Market. I believe love ever since MySpace, the memoir in social media has been “the subsequent one will pop up, then yours will die.”

But I mediate the condominium has matured. Fb must aloof bewitch an attain of pivoting to becoming the “Oracle” of social media. A legacy participant that’s always going to be there and play to it’s strengths. It has a a success and winning portfolio of companies with entrenched userbases. Are these rushes to replica floor stage capabilities from original social media apps even a su ccess? Because they’re surely embarrassing. Only in the near previous Instagram customers revolted because the platform became morphing to focal level too intently on video. Why no longer correct focal level on what makes Instagram special and bewitch a comprise a study to withhold innovating on that? Or better but, comprise a study how TikTok is surely diversified and bewitch a comprise a study to snarl these ideas to your comprise product.

Anyhow, that is my strive to narrow down what I secure so compelling about TikTok. To effable the ineffable. I hope I became in a instruct to jot down something factual. I believe about that skills in a broader attain love that is de facto necessary. I stride to bewitch a comprise a study to attain it extra in most cases.

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