Yes, I know TiKTok has been around for a few years but it has reached a tipping point where older educators (e.g. in Higher Education) probably need to pay it some attention.

“The bite-sized video site TikTok is gaining on Google’s video juggernaut, YouTube. A new report from the BBC says that TikTok has overtaken YouTube in average watch time per user in the US and UK. While YouTube is still the bigger video site in terms of users and total video watched, the average US TikTok user watches more video than the average US YouTube viewer. “

TikTok is a place to share 15 – 60 second videos. The platform is designed to show you videos you like and fewer of those you don’t. Videos are typically highly visual (faked visual tricks, dancing, pranks, teens acting dangerously). It’s usually a bit mindless.

Is it good for teaching?

As with many new shiny things that have come before it some educators have jumped in with both feet to deliver short easily digestible tips . But, it comes with the same sort of organisational issues and liabilities as Facebook and YouTube (e.g. privacy, intellectual property rights, online bullying, student access to unfiltered content, pushing students onto a commercial third party platform etc). It also has the same issue as previous social media platforms – this is a place people go to play, not to hear from their teachers.

Most of the education examples can be easily replicated on whatever LMS /Messaging/email/storage platform your organisation uses. Organisations wanting to go down this path might be better looking at something like FlipGrid

Like all social media, how long TiKTok remains the place to be for kids is up for debate. Marketers are already diving in to make a buck. Older Influencers are also on the march which means parents are getting on board (which is the traditional death knell for kids).

A reasonable place to start is with Oprah’s guide for beginners (2019) What in the World Is TikTok? A Beginner’s Guide to the Fast-Growing Social Media App.

Make Use Of outlines the concerns in 4 Ways TikTok Is Dangerous to Personal Privacy and Security