This article is about TikTok and my experience as a 59 and ¾ old man. I will talk about how I enjoyed it and what I have learnt. For me, Tick Tock goes with “Hickory dickory dock. The mouse went up the clock”, the nursery rhyme. Suffice to say I am not of the TikTok generation! So it was with a little trepidation that I signed up to this Chinese social media phenomena that is used by well over 500 million, generally young, people in over 150 countries. For those of you who do not know, it is an app where you can make short videos up to 60 seconds.

Having heard a lot about it from the more popular social media personalities such as Gary Vee, I thought I would pop in and see what it is all about. I enjoyed it especially during this time of lockdown where so much of the news is rather depressing. TikTok has lots of upbeat, amusing and generally positive people giving it a go. Most of it is rather light, if not superficial, but some are very well informed and very intelligent. After spending far too much time scrolling through a great variety of videos, I came across one which was a 30 day challenge. This resonated with me and I knew I had to take it up.

So this is the story of my first week. I got all excited and planned out 6 topics with 5 subjects to do to cover the remit of 30 days. This was about as far as it got as I faced myself with my doubts – I will be boring, not really got anything interesting to say, poor camera presence and so on. After spending the night tossing and turning, I knew that I had to ‘just do it’ as the advert says. A week through and I am so glad that I did!

It is true to say that I am no social media whizz having seldom engaged with it in any form. When I uploaded my first video I had 7 followers, only one of which I knew, I followed 81 profiles and had made no ‘Comments’ or had any ‘Likes’. A week later, with 8 uploads, there was no meaningful difference. The figures, for sake of completeness, were 21 ‘Likes’, 10 followers and 103 that I was following. Digging a bit deeper into the analytics, I had an average of 138 views on each video which did cheer me up a bit. After all this is over 1100 people watching over the week. And I had 22 comments although I tend to make the first one to remind posters what I had asked them to write about. It was then that I saw the viewing time at only 120 minutes or 9 seconds each. This depressed me somewhat for the rest of the afternoon. It reminded me that I am probably three times the age of many of them, my style is decidedly ‘old school’ and my performances were far from slick!

What have I learnt?
TikTok is a fun, often informative place which I have enjoyed. There are many different, intelligent people posting and not just lip-syncing and dancing. They come from all over the world and have many different views, some articulated well and others less so. There are parents with their children, all sorts of business owners from farmers who only grow onions to craftspeople to specialist trades and retailers, all who tend to be digital natives. They are giving it a go and entertaining in doing it.

My journey has been mixed. I started in a planned way, 6 topics with five videos on each, but soon changed to what was relevant to me in the moment. I had real problems doing the first ones; had to get it right and got caught up on myself. I have pushed through and now I nearly enjoy getting out my mobile to record my musings! I have taken my first few steps to develop a voice. I can see ways to improve my message and I am having fun exploring some of the tools. It is early in the challenge but I can see myself completing the 30 days. From that point alone it has been useful in that it has got me out of a rut. I am learning not only about TikTok but also a lot about myself, the younger generations and how to relate to them. Will it be any use for business and what will I do after? I am not sure but I do know that, so far, it has been a winner for me.

Come and see me at jtbc114. When you do, please promise me you will watch my videos for longer that 9 seconds!

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