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Episode 81: Why We Love TikTok (Minisode)

TikTok 'til we drop.

Elder Millennial Lisa and Baby Millennial Iris discuss their love for the trending video app TikTok. What makes this platform so different? Which of our two hosts is verified TikTok famous? How can your brand get involved? Listen to find out.

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Episode Transcript

Lisa: Hi, welcome to our creative community out there. All you listeners working in outdoor and creative positions, marketing... the crew. Welcome to a minisode with Iris and Lisa.

Iris: Hello. Hello. It's like a full episode, but smaller.

Lisa: Yeah. And just if you are new to the podcast, I am a creative director at WHEELIE.

Iris: I am a creative at WHEELIE.

Lisa: Yeah. And we specialize in helping people who thrive outside express themselves and, um, use marketing in a fun way to, uh, promote what we think helps the greater good in life.

Iris: So what are we talking about today, Lisa?

Lisa: Well, Iris, I'm 10 years older than you.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: So I think, I feel like you're going to be great perspective in this episode, particularly in this minisode because I would like to talk about why I love TikTok.

Iris: I am so excited. Am I like a guest expert?

Lisa: Yeah. You are. Because, because when you, because you're really good at TikTok.

Iris: Kinda. I have 18,000 followers.

Lisa: What, you do?!

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: This whole time??

Iris: Well, no, it's... It grows. [laughs] Okay. It's 17.8 thousand.

Lisa: Wow.

Iris: I rounded up.

Lisa: What's your handle? Did we call them a handle?

Iris: It's for my Etsy shop. It's called IrisRaeStitches.

Lisa: R-A-E.

Iris: I tried to find you and I couldn't find you.

Lisa: No, I- I'm a lurker on TikTok right now. I'm a lurker. Here’s what’s up.

Iris: Are you like “af734u…”

Lisa: Here's what's up, Iris. I have been staying up late like a teenager watching TikTok till I can't stop. I'm fascinated by it. I can't stop watching. I can't stop trying to wrap my mind around what it would be like to be a teenager right now. Um, it's, that app is so much fun.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: And it's so interactive and then you get back on Instagram and Instagram feels so flat and boring.

Iris: Yeah. And I was even a teenager during the Vine era, but this is entirely different.

Lisa: It's outrageous. Do you want to know why I love TikTok?

Iris: I do want to know why.

Lisa: Okay. So first of all - This is, this is where I have a tendency to get too heady. So you just have to understand, I live alone in the woods and just think about shit all the time. Uh, okay. But here's the deal. So we, for years people have been saying 90% of internet activity is going to be video based. And I remember hearing that like five years ago being like, really? Like, cause that's blogs were still so popular and Facebook was very, you know, static with photos and comments and you know, not a lot of video. And I was like, really, 90% of internet activity is going to be video? Like just hearing things like that was blowing my mind. But we do so much video at WHEELIE.

Iris: Yes.

Lisa: Um, I mean, it's crazy when we look at the pie chart. Video is like moving into like 60, 70, 75% of our services now.

Crazy. Um, but... which is totally fine with me. Because as a child, I was obsessed with screenwriting and I wanted to write movies for a living. And, um, I got into NYU for that. And I, I mean, like love screenwriting, love directing, love video. So stoked.

So that's why I'm especially excited to talk about TikTok because when you make it a curated video, the way that we do it in agency, so if we're going to make a commercial for Polartec or a super bowl commercial for Whitefish Credit Union, um…. it's very curated. We've written a script. We have our shot list, we have our lighting. Everyone shows up on time. It's a tremendous amount of pre-production. It's like, insane what goes into making a commercial.

Um, and then if you think about like film festivals or full feature films, two hour movies, like for someone to sit down and watch a movie… like, it takes effort at this point in life. But what I love about movies is it's like this true act of putting yourself in another person's story, practicing empathy, and then like when you watch a movie, you're able to feel feelings and process things that maybe you wouldn't process on your own. Like. I don't know, like any, any movie.

Like I remember watching Out Cold in a movie theater when I was like 14. And I, um, became obsessed with snowboarding because that main character, Jenny, was like so cool and she had these fun friends and I like got to put myself in that life and be like, that's what I'm going to, that's what I'm going to do with my life.

Or like the, just when you fall in love with a character, really beautiful character development is all about empathy.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: You know?

Iris: That's why we cry at movies.

Lisa: Totally. That's why people feel feelings and movies. Yeah. Yeah, so like the whole act of sitting in a movie, like you sit in a theater in a dark place around other people and you like feel feelings. And in like really good movies, you like, lose track of time or you lose track of your body and you're like in the story, you know, like... I remember as a little kid being so enthralled with the movie Good Will Hunting, I accidentally walked into the wrong movie theater and just like fell in love with that movie. Um, I was like eight watching like R-rated Good Will Hunting, and I was like, this is the best! Like these are men, you know, like, just like, it was a goofy little kid.

Anyway, but yeah, that was like the first time I remember just like losing myself in a plot of a movie. Um, but that's the opposite of TikTok.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: So let's talk about TikTok. TikTok is outrageous because it's not really about empathy and feeling someone else's experience, like, TikTok is about your experience. It's about like doing something, practicing something, telling your story like, like TikTok is a hundred percent the practice of seeing and being seen. It's like this self expression of *hopefully* your truth, right? But really the really engaging TikTok accounts, it's like all about self expression.

It's about just going through that process of making, making, making, making, making. It's not high quality. It's not curated. It's, well, I mean, it is kind of curated by the time you've learned one of those freaking dances, they are really hard. But, but, but it really is like this experiential thing that you're doing to be seen and to share that human experience. And I can't. I mean in that way, me as a, as a TikTok, lurker, I guess it's empathy, but I can't stop watching it and being like, look at this human experience of people all over the globe, like dancing with their parents or like surgeons or like doing like how to get into medical school. Like pointing it like they do the thing where the words pop up and they do it on beat.

And like, I'm just like, how often do you get to like sit down and talk to a surgeon?

Iris: Mhmm.

Lisa: And now it's all accessible, and there's these surgeon communities and like all, anyway, so there's all these different genres.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: What's your genre?

Iris: Um, there's a lot of makers on TikTok that do like process videos and stuff. Um, so I’m kind of in that genre. But there is so much, there's cooking videos, there's tons and tons of humor. There's... like, reenacting scenes from movies. There's, um, lots of like different dystopian worlds where you're like in a perspective of something and um, yeah, doctors and now brands are getting more and more involved in TikTok.

Lisa: Yeah. It's... so, it's fascinating, right? Because on a grand scheme of things, it really is like this individual expression, but it tells this really rounded story of, of human existence with cell phones. And like kids dancing with their parents and social isolation and like, uh, uh, you know how TikTok like it gives you, like, it gives you similar videos as you keep watching things? Somehow, the other night at like two in the morning, I was still going and, and I was on this like train of college kids who were forced to get out of the dorms, so they went to live back with their parents and they're like losing their minds and like dragging their mattresses onto the roof so their moms can't find them. [laughs]

Um, and just like what? I would never ever be able to witness that experience or even really think about that experience because I'm so far removed from that culture.

Iris: Yeah. I love TikTok as like a lesson in content creation because like, the people who are doing really well on TikTok and the ones who have lots and lots of followers and really high engagement - It's because they're creating multiple videos a day and they're, like you said, it's not this like polished, um, highly edited... I mean, there's some amazing stuff on TikTok, but for the most part it's just creating stuff and seeing what sticks. And I think that's what stops a lot of people on social media is like, “Oh, my photos aren't good enough. My videos aren't good enough. I don't have the right thing to post.” And so you're not posting at all. And TikTok kind of teaches you... and if you get into the rhythm of TikTok, just start creating things. And the more you do it, the more comfortable you are, the more familiar you get with the platform. And that's how you build a following.

Lisa: Yeah. It's so the opposite of my seven year beautifully curated Instagram feed that I've been, you know, agonizing over every time you make a post, like, no, like it's so experiential onTikTok. I'm… I'm so just floored. I love it. I love TikTok.

Iris: Yeah. I would recommend to anyone if you're thinking about it or if you're a brand, go snag your username right now. Um, you don't have to create anything, and just start scrolling. It is kind of like going to a foreign country for a while. Um, it's really its own place. It's not like Facebook, it's not like Instagram. So my advice is to hang around and explore this foreign country for a while. Get to know the lingo and how it works, and the more videos you'll watch, you'll see, um, just what kind of content is on there and how to make those videos. And then you can start creating your own.

And I would say it's not just for teenagers. Um, it was certainly, but like, Lisa, you found out about it somehow. So, um, it's getting there. So more and more millennials are joining in. There's even like some grandmas on there that make some really funny videos. So it is growing and it is not just for teenagers. So if, if your target audience is younger people, um, this is definitely the place to be.

Lisa: Mhmm.

Iris: But you have to do it right. You have to speak the language, you have to be authentic. Um, it's not going to be a place where people like to be advertised to. It's a place where you have to be real and human and funny.

Lisa: Yeah. It's a place of fun.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: Hopefully. Hopefully it's not a place of being bullied, but I mean, it is, I think, I think the really engaging TikTok accounts, like you can tell the human beings are having fun.

Iris: For sure.

Lisa: Just being weird. It's like opening up this weirdness of, I dunno, you like see the inside of people's houses.

Iris: Yeah. I think it's kind of what, what Snapchat started with stories and then Instagram took over with stories is like the transition away from highly curated content and the transition towards like, of the moment, real life, not polished content. And just engaging with each other back and forth and putting stuff out there and being seen.

Lisa: Yeah. Cool. Well, thanks for listening to me talk about TikTok.

Iris: I can't wait for you to make your first TikTok video.

Lisa: I can't wait either.

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