On the verge of a new lockdown, a new wave, new steps, action, activities i sit down to recap my TikTok thing. Insert Has It Come to This? here. Going back to December 2019. Quote: "Some ideas and plans for 2020: playing around with TikTok to get more familiar with the mechanics." Well. That was before. Covid-19 hitting the areas around here and there and everywhere.
I came up with a new quick and dirty web format for teaching stuff called Future Proof in April. It was supposed to bring in money in a time of quickly dwindling workshops IRL. Well, that somehow worked out. Way too much work for way too little money but at least it got the entire TikTok machine running. I did two short workshops that forced me to dive way deeper than before when i had been playing around with the app without goal or intention. Life advice: Always go a little further into the water than you feel you're capable of being in. David Bowie said that. Sounds obvious, pretentious or whatever to you? Well, i guess he is right.
In June i stumbled over the whole Alt TikTok thing and got sucked into it. Finally i found aesthetics that i had longed for, i found weird stuff and observed a lot of things that i only later learned had names like high density for instance. And i set up a Substack newsletter because a) i always wanted to play around and learn how to do that b) i wanted to give myself a reason and a framework for doing a lot of unpaid research. TikTok00 was a lot of fun. Especially when there are no constraints and no other people involved. I basically turned my quest to Understanding TikTok into a sort of product with an actual value (and no direct price tag).
During the summer things took shape. I wrote about TikTok and people started reading. Amongst them people who work for media companies. That is why i ended up as an expert on TikTok and Insta Reels, talking on public radio stations, giving interviews to acclaimed newspapers. Still uncomfortable with the expert tag but the notion of "expert" is highly relative depending on your audience, peer group and the rest of the world. Proof me wrong but becoming an expert in things that are new and under constant development is by any means possible if you get your hands dirty (reverse-engineering) and do your homework of reading, reaching out, asking and connecting with the leading people in the field. I learned a lot while trying things out.
While on summer holidays a friend forwarded me a job tender that seemed to fit perfectly. Writing a TikTok study for a political foundation. I applied together with a friend of mine and got the job. That was luck. And probably some dedication. Besides that i got some requests for workshops in 2021 which i happily accepted. Once again it was good to be out in the field and to have a network of people who trust and recommend you.
So now what. I still need to do the research and write the analysis. Will be published around March 2021 i guess. I need to prepare all these workshop and built slides. After playing around with Beautiful.ai i am currently testing Pitch. I need to continue writing the newsletter on a weekly basis. That is quite some work. It is essential because it forces me to keep on keeping on. And: i need to step up my TikTok game. Several attempts to produce and post on a daily basis have failed miserably.
Little november/december update: I am now consulting a German public-service television broadcaster who wants to start a TikTok account. It is for a tv show that i sometimes watched as a kid on Saturdays in a time when remote controls were new at our place and the internet for all was a feverish dream.