TIK TOKKING IN THE DARK

My daughter, still on release from University thanks to the response to the threat of Covid-19, and not going back until at least October, has now decided to relieve her boredom by gyrating and muttering, she alleges musically, to herself around the house. It is not unusual to find her in unlikely spots stepping left and right and sliding and waving her arms about.

I am told this is in response to something called TikTok.

I’m playing with you here. I know what Tik Tok is.

It’s what for some reason we call an app. Why the word program was deemed unsuitable anymore is beyond reason, although the difficulty some of the tech generation have with pronouncing two syllable words may have had something to do with it.

It’s basically Vine with a slightly longer play run.

If you don’t know what Vine was – 6 second vids – you’ve probably seen the YouTube compilations of kittens falling asleep, dogs chasing their tails and raccoons eating garbage; all that remains of Vine since Twitter bought it and killed it in a desperate search for a profit.

There was obviously a huge market for Vines, hell, even I liked them.

Instagram no doubt had a hand in the death of Vine with a 15 second video app, which stole some creatives, but it never made the hit Vine did. Possibly because:

In stepped Musical.ly with much the same idea. You’ve heard of musers right? No?

Not surprising – they got bought by ByteDance, a Beijing company who already owned …

TikTok.

Musical.ly, started by Chinese business people, was big in the West, Tik Tok was five times bigger in Asia.

They ran together for a bit, then Byte Dance merged them under the Tik Tok brand. Fifteen seconds is your limit and the world went mad for it. ‘Lockdown’ was a blessing for them and teens and wannabes (my aging daughter is 20) have gone crazy for it in the quiet of having to pause and not be distracted by actual real life.

I’m not suggesting the Wu Han outbreak was a marketing plan by Chinese tech entrepreneurs, that would be a little bit crazy, even for a devoted conspiracy nut (which I am not by the way). It was however a great opportunity. A void to fill.

So my daughter substitutes Hegelian dialectic with Tik Tok dance, and an oblique reference to Darwinian competition in international soft power relations and I go slightly demented.

In the meantime, my son, a big Tik Tok fan via You Tube compilations and challenges until a few weeks ago – curiously enough the same time my daughter started her syncopated rhythmic circuit training – now scorns it and her antics. He is thirteen and I had presumed the target age range for the app. Maybe they have already jumped the shark. My daughter looks as if she is practising to do just that.

 

Photo credit: <a href=”https://visualhunt.co/a5/dc6a9330″>Christoph Scholz</a> on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re7/0669204c”>Visualhunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-SA</a>

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