Tik Tok creates community through its unique algorithm

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During a worldwide pandemic it has been difficult to find activities to distract yourself. However, thanks to the best social networking application, TikTok, you could find yourself scrolling for hours through random videos specifically engineered to your liking.

TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing social networking application owned by internet technology company ByteDance. The creators of TikTok merged with an existing application called Music.aly, in August 2018. In September 2018, it surpassed Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat in monthly downloads in the App Store.

TikTok gives users access to sounds to use from previously made TikToks as well as preexisting music to create lip-synching videos, comedy videos, travel videos and popular dance trends.

The application is debated among young adults in America because of the raging popularity with younger age groups. Most college-age students are split because no one wants to be on an application that young teenagers think is cool. After all, that will ruin someone’s reputation. However, TikTok is beginning to reach an older audience because of the algorithm.

A unique aspect of TikTok is that people could scroll through their “Following” page, which includes videos of people that one chooses to follow or through their “For You” page. The “For You” page is what makes TikTok special. The page is full of videos that through TikTok’s collective data of personal interactions with other videos the application determines potential videos one will enjoy.

According to a TikTok press release about its algorithm, the “For You” page is generated by a recommendation system. The recommendation system creates a “personalized experience” for users.

The press release said: “Recommendations are based on many factors, including things like User interactions such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create. Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags. Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to make sure the system is optimized for performance, but they receive lower weight in the recommendation system relative to other data points we measure since users don’t actively express these as preferences.”

Similarly, TikTok when a user first joins, the application asks the new user to note what he or she is interested in to help gauge what videos to display. Further, the application notes when you like something based on interacting with a long video or skipping certain videos.

A problem that may occur is that users may find themselves in a bubble watching similar videos. The upside to the bubble is that people find communities with similar interests. 

The application allows people to express their creativity through videography. People can duet their own videos or duet videos from another user. This makes the viewing experience more fun because users can see the original video and then later see someone duet the video adding more substance to the original.

Not only does Tik Tok personalize your experience, companies are willing to pay influencers between $200 to $20,000 to promote their products. The company determines how much influence you have to figure out how much exposure the product would gain.

Influencers will use hashtag generators to try to grow their following. Companies often track the growth of an influencers following over a three-month period. 

Tips on growing a following include knowing your audience, being yourself and posting content consistently. Anyone has the potential to make money on TikTok if they want to constantly post and remain consistent.

California Baptist University students should give TikTok a chance if they have not because it is a personalized experience, how could you not like an application that shows exactly what you want to see? Although, you may find yourself addicted.

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