October 6, 2020 9 minutes read This short article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI innovations. Mistakes may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on The Discussion
By Kevin Munger, Pennsylvania State University

TikTok, a social media platform targeting young smart phone users, was the 2nd most downloaded app on the planet in 2019 and top in July 2020.

It has likewise ended up being geopolitical soccer. Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok has been banned by India along with 58 other Chinese-owned apps in July in response to escalating border tensions between the 2 countries. The Trump administration released an executive order prohibiting TikTok and the Chinese messaging platform WeChat from carrying out deals in the United States, prior to voiding it, giving way in September for Oracle and Walmart business to take control of TikTok’s US operations.

As a political scientist studying social media, I have actually taken a look at what makes TikTok unique and why young people have gathered to it. In short, the mobile-only app enables users to tape themselves dancing or goofing around with a music clip or spoken word and then modify the videos using a wide range of effects. Despite its ostensibly pointless nature, young people have actually been using the platform to send political messages, coordinate political action, and hang out in a largely adult-free online area.

How does it work

Each tiktok is a 3-60 second long video that repeats when it ends. Most of the screen is taken up by video published by the user. The app uses a vast array of options for tailoring and combining these videos, consisting of video taken with the user’s mobile phone, images uploaded from the web, emojis, and other text superimposed on the video, and special results. The app’s library of video distortion filters and effects is like Instagram filters but for video.

The bottom of the screen contains information about “audio”: the sound file that accompanies the video. These can be submitted by the user or selected from a library consisting of bits of tunes by professional artists and silly recordings of people speaking. The sounds have actually had a substantial effect on the music industry: Old Town Road, one of the most pop music of all time, first gained appeal as a TikTok audio with an associated dance.

You find a tiktok that begins playing when you open the application. This is the “Page for you”, which plays tiktoks that the TikTok algorithm recommends for you. To go to the next tiktok, swipe up. To see the account that submitted the present tiktok, swipe right.

Smart phone screen showing thumbnails of video clips

Comic Sarah Cooper’s page on TikTok. Drew Angerer/ Getty Images What does it compare to Comparing TikTok to other digital media platforms shows what makes it unique. Like YouTube, TikTok consists completely of videos. Like Twitter and facebook, the primary way to take in tiktoks is to browse through a feed of brief posts.

Like Netflix, the default method to discover material is through the recommendation algorithm, not through building networks of “friends” or “followers.” And like Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok is just playable on cellphones, preferring more youthful users who are more smartphone-savvy.

TikTok is the first social networks platform to combine these functions. The result is an unique way to take in and send info.

Variety of details

The combination of video media and feed makes TikTok particularly information-dense. A lot occurs with every tiktok, and there is an endless stream of tiktoks.

Unlike text, video media runs in two parallel tracks, communicating explicit details (the kind discovered in speech or writing) and implicit details (social cues like TikToker’s clothing and hairstyle, or emotional love music) at the same time.

The feed permits the social networks customer to scan several bite-sized chunks of content per minute, extracting details much more efficiently than on a tv broadcast. Combined, these trends make scrolling the “For You” page an excessive experience, a substantial advance in the density of details.

, if you invest a couple of hours on TikTok you will see how this works.. Other media are starting to feel “slow,” consisting of previously attractive items like a YouTube video or Twitter feed. More youthful individuals tend to love intensity (loud music, bright lights) and it’s no wonder they discover TikTok appealing.

Different costs and advantages

TikTok likewise alters the expenses and advantages of posting. On the cost side, since TikTok is developed for smartphones, it is easier for some people to use and harder for others. As a general rule of thumb, the more years of your life you spend using an innovation, and the previously in your life cycle those years are, the more competent you will end up being at utilizing that innovation.

TikTok also encourages videos shot in portrait orientation intrinsic in mobile phones, so they can be produced any place the user goes, whenever they have an extra moment.

In regards to benefits, the value of the recommendation algorithm on “good friends” networks indicates that everyone is guaranteed to get at least some views, even on their very first tiktok. On Twitter, let’s say, you can log in and Tweet lots of times prior to getting “likes” due to the importance of “fan” networks in identifying what people see.

The TikTok “For You” page varies in between showing the user tiktoks and incredibly popular tiktoks with just a handful of views, therefore promoting higher equality than on conventional socials media. In general, TikTok uses an online platform for young people who feel abnormally detached from the adult world, one in which they make sure to get some attention.

Typical noises, unique motions

The noises that users integrate with their customized videos represent an unique way to classify and navigate a social media platform, an unique function of TikTok. If you click the audio at the bottom of a tiktok, you can see all the other tiktoks that use that sound file.

The most typical example involves a particular dance routine integrated with the accompanying noise. Audio is continuous on this group of tiktoks, but each user supplies a distinct video of themselves carrying out the dance.

These dances are examples of TikTok memes. Memes on more text- or image-centric platforms involve some fixed “meme format” which is then remixed by users who modify the image or text to create a specific meme. On TikTok, nevertheless, the raw material that is remixed is the user’s body, as the user carries out the behavior related to the meme format, what I call “incarnate memes”.

This makes the body far more popular on TikTok than on other platforms. While clever puns are really helpful on Twitter, TikTok rewards striking or conventionally appealing bodies to a greater degree than Instagram.

This likewise indicates that identity classifications that are increasingly central to politics play an important function on TikTok. Incarnated memes typically play on the race, gender, appearance, or physical location of the TikToker.

More traditional photo memes can appear confidential or disembodied as they are shared throughout the web. With TikTok, it is difficult to separate the individual from the meme.

This post was translated by El Financiero. This post is republished from The Conversation under an Imaginative Commons license. Read the initial post.

Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.