For my exploration of a digital space, I chose the social media app, TikTok. This platform is a free app that allows you to view and create videos that are tailored towards the interests of each user. Videos can be up to 10 minutes long, but most videos are less than a minute long. Videos involve a combination of sound, visuals, and the option of adding filters and effects to enhance the videos. TikTok is a great place for people from anywhere in the world to post content, share their ideas, and create a community based on common interests. 

There are several components of the TikTok app such as the “Home – For You” page, the “Discover” page, and the ability to create your own TikTok. 

On the “Home – For You” page, the user can view videos that the app’s algorithm has determined that would be of interest to the user. The algorithm pays attention to which videos you tend to spend the most time watching and will start to show you more videos that are similar to the ones you watch. It is often asked “Which side of TikTok are you on?” as this algorithm specifically tailors which videos it shows you to your interest, therefore, each user’s “For You” page is different. Many people find a sense of community based on the side of TikTok they are on. If you find certain accounts that have videos you enjoy, then you can follow, like, or comment on any of their videos.

Personally, I have found myself on “Teacher TikTok” so most of the videos I see are about classroom management, advice to first year teachers, funny student-teacher interaction skits, and more.

On the “Discover” page, you can see the hashtags, sounds, and current events that are trending on the app. This page provides the opportunity for the user to find inspiration for creating videos or for incorporating fun activities or useful advice into one’s real-life. The “Discover” page is not influenced by the user’s interest or by the types of videos the user tends to watch, instead, this page allows you to explore what other users of the app are interested in and what is popular. This allows users to learn about pop culture that may not be appearing on their “For You” pages, but keeps them up to date and exposes them to other cultures that could pique their interests as well. 

Here you can see some of the trending hastags and videos that fall under these categories. This is a great opportunity to see what else is being posted on this platform that you may not be seeing on your “For You” page.

Lastly, users can create their own videos. There is no specific structure of a TikTok video and users can be as creative as they want to be when making their videos. For example, some users make advice videos, some do skits / re-enactments of situations from their real-life, and others create mini-vlogs to capture an experience. Videos can include a sound that enhances the video. Popular sounds are constantly changing. Additionally, users do not need to post the videos that they create. Users can save their videos as drafts so that they can still engage in the fun and creativity of creating videos without having to post them for their followers to see. 

Here is where users can create videos. There are many features that make the video-making experience customizable and unique to each user. You can use effects, templates, filters, etc. to enhance the videos.

I chose to focus on the TikTok platform as it is a relevant social media platform that is incredibly popular. It allows users to view and create videos that are unique to their interests. I am interested in looking deeper into the algorithm that TikTok uses to generate the “For You” page and allows the user to have a personalized experience on the app.

1 thought on “Photo Essay (Digital)

  1. Great post! I chose a similar social media platform to you as Instagram. It is interesting because these social media sites are not all bad. You can use tiktok to learn and expand your knowledge. For example, you on teacher tiktok, and others maybe on Instagram watching cooking videos and learning recipes. Technology and social media is not all bad!

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