So, I started booktok and realized a five things, turned them into theories, and wanted to tell you about them. I might be taking issue with some things, yes, but I just genuinely find these kinds of things interesting.
So much “things” here It’s discoveries. I find discoveries interesting.
Give me a thonk if you also find these interesting. Also, do you agree or (nicely) disagree? Did I get some things wrong? Do you see similar things happening? Let me know
My five TikTok Theories
Algorithm likes certain people Theory: Algorithm tends to push “pretty white people” into my fyp despite that I wasn’t looking for them or anything. It just assumed I would prefer? Which is weird. I don’t have anything against those people. Just that, there are young impressionables on TikTok. I see the problem that I’ve heard people talking about.
Follow the trend is a TikTok trap Theory: What is a trend even? How to find them? I heard it was whatever made its way to your fyp, but I’m starting to realize that’s a trap. It’s a trap for views. If you want views, you create content you didn’t want to in the first place. That’s fine. Not against anyone or anything like that. But certainly there are plenty people not on trend that are doing well, right? My theory is that I can do what I planned and it’ll eventually work out. I don’t have to waste my time doing things I don’t enjoy for views.
TikTok Algorithm is not like IG at all Theory: That being said, TikTok algorithm seems quite difficult in that it has a mind of its own more so than IG. It’s hard getting around it, so I’m thinking maybe the way to do it is to ignore it and hope that something you do is picked up. Best not to dwell or you’ll stress yourself out.
What content you interact with tells TikTok what you are about Theory: Meanwhile, you go around and follow or interact with people posting content that is similar to yours’ to tell TikTok that is what you’re interested in because that is also what you tend to post. It’s not like IG where all that does is that you see them more on your feed. The TikTok algorithm begins to understand you. Maybe even recommend you to the right people. But you have to be consistent (as in, always like the same kind of content or interact with the same kind of creators).
Likes are met quickly Theory: TikTok seems to respond to my likes quite quickly. Definitely do not see too many random people doing random dances because I quickly scroll by, showing TikTok I am not interested. I’m careful with this because once you stop to watch, it keeps feeding it to you until you’ve ignored it enough again. Pretty impressive, actually It creates an app addiction if you like bingeing things.
As someone who has used TikTok for the past two years, and even posted on there (I haven’t posted on there in a while—I haven’t had the time to make a new video or anything), I can kind of understand it as I have seen multiple videos and seen how you can end up on specific sides, etc. Though, due take note: I’m not an expert lol.
Some have agreed with this because they tend to find themselves on a specific side where it’s mostly just white, straight people. But I would have to disagree with this theory simply because the algorithm is focused on your interactions, whether you like a video, comment on it, save it, or watch it for a long period of time (that, too is a possible theory)… it all pushes out videos similar to those ones you’ve engaged with.
For example, my sister is going through a really rough breakup to a point where she’s severely depressed and doesn’t know how to move on, etc. Her TikTok is filled with breakups, heartbreak, depression, and motivational speeches and quotes and songs because when the breakup happened, one video lead to another and with her constant interactions to them, it keeps popping up.
Now, another theory that adds onto this would be it’s similar to other social media. Everything on your mobile devices, through the internet, is connected. For instance, if you go on Amazon to look for a specific style of clothing, you’ll end up getting ads for it (maybe the exact thing or something similar) through TikTok ads and Facebook ads… which in a way, urges you to buy it. Of course, there’s more to this that makes it creepy (when you talk about it or think about such a thing, and it pops up—happens to me quite frequently) but that’s beside the point. My sister has posted depressing or motivational quotes on Facebook and other social medias and that can be the connection toward her TikTok account.
But anyway, when it comes to finding specific people who look different or are different, it comes from your interactions and how you may have to actually put in the work to search people up to find them. When I first started, I wanted to find diverse authors and readers, so I would go through some people’s following lists and look for people who I felt interested in. I’d watch their TikToks, interact, and eventually, my FYP would be people from other races, other parts of the world, have different identities, etc. which helped my FYP page grow with diversity. Even if I find myself on other parts of TikTok (not BookTok or AuthorTok), I still hold a diverse FYP because I see lesbians, gays, asexuals, Black people, Asians, Goths, Emos, normies, and more.
Trends are doing specific things that a lot of people end up doing. In a way, it is a trap. Some may do it just for the views, others may do it just because they like doing it and seeing it. But yes, you can do whatever you want without following those trends (or if you do, you can follow trends that happened ages ago) and still grow your following and engagement.
One of the biggest trends on BookTok right now, for example, are people talking about what they’re leaving behind in 2022, like “We need to stop hating people for their preferences on genres and books.” …kind of thing. But not everyone is doing this, and you can still find an audience without it. Sometimes, you may even make a video with minimal effort and it gets a lot more views and likes you thought of. A lot of my videos are rather long (2-3 minutes on average), and I try to put some effort into it, but I remember doing a response video once to someone asking readers what they want the non-readers in their life to understand, and my response (which was like 30-45 seconds) basically said that I wanted them to buy me books as a gift. Didn’t care what book it was, what genre it was, or if you wanted to know specifically I could give a list, but bottom line: birthday, Christmas, etc. all I want is books. And I got over 2,000 views with nearly 300 likes on it. And my average usually has 200 views with around 3-10 likes. After that video, though, I had like a couple dozen new followers, and some of my newer or older videos got higher in views and engagement (like 400-800 views, 15-20 likes, etc.)
Exactly! I think that no matter how you look at it, you’re not really going to get immediately pushed to the FYP on some miracle. Though, I do have to say that to grow your following on there is similar to other places where you should engage with other people within your circle (if you do BookTok videos, find BookTokers) with their videos, etc. While this doesn’t mean they go to your profile, it does mean that you have a higher chance at showing up on their FYP just because you share similar topics.
And if you get low views, it’s best not to stress or dwell on it because it’ll grow eventually.
Pretty much. There will always be a video or two outside your main content and if you end up engaging with it, you can find more of those videos which then, you’ll eventually find yourself on that side of TikTok and have to crawl back to your main content topic. I’m not picky when it comes to videos or needing to be on a specific side, so I tend to like videos that interest me. Because of that, I see a lot of dancing, singing, ice skating, adventurous stuff (like swinging off a cliff or something), cosplay, cat or dog videos, Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez, hair tutorials, and food. With something extra along those lines, specifically something political or deals with employers or some other piece of drama. So yeah, I found myself off BookTok. xD
Oh definitely, especially that last bit. I think with the combination of finding videos you’re interested in with most videos (specifically the ones off BookTok/AuthorTok) being shorter than two minutes long (the average lasting under a minute, though) can become addicting because you continuously scroll by. It doesn’t help the people with low attention spans and it also doesn’t help those with procrastination… simply because it forces you to lose patience and causes you to keep scrolling, watching video after video and realizing you’ve been scrolling for hours when it felt like minutes. I’ve scrolled through TikTok for what felt like five to ten minutes and it somehow turned into four hours. And this kind of obsession may even give you withdrawals at some point in your day because it’s something you may look forward to doing after work or school or when you’re laying in bed late at night.
I thought I would tag you, but I wanted you to come on here in your own time because I knew you would
Aw, breakups can be so hard! Hope she gets out of the horrible time soon.
That’s quite interesting how TikTok just FEEDS people stuff. They don’t feed you specific content, but content specific to your feelings and really really try hard to cater to your emotions (which is such a human thing) and keep you on the app.
Kind of scary how accurate it is.
That means if I want something else, I have to specifically go and look for it in the sea of stuff and hope that Tiktok catches on. But how much of the stuff do I need to interact with in order for the app to start sending it my way? Say if I want to watch booktokkers who are POC. I’d first have to search for them and then what would I need to do so that TikTok would recognize I’m actively searching for that content?
My TikTok is connected to my IG which is connected to my hardly-used Facebook account. How do you think I’m connected to TikTok?? Like, my IG, majority there that I interact with are writers. But the only ones recommended to me on TikTok are booktokkers.
Hm Seems to me that my Tiktok is isolated.
Aha! I was right That being said, I don’t think trends are bad. I just want to put minimal effort into this whole TikTok thing XD I also just want to do what I want to do. Because if I don’t enjoy it, what’s the point? I’m not getting paid
Also, it seemed like the best way to make video content easily without showing my face. And the transitions are actually kind of fun to make and the speech to text is so accurate, I’m impressed.
TikTok has a lot of varied ages. Back in 2018 (and earlier) when it was Musically, it was originally a teen-oriented app, with tweens and kids on it as well. But since COVID, it primarily shifted and changed when people became bored and started to use it. Most of the people on my FYP are in their 30s-40s, and I have seen a few 50s+ people on there. Even Patrick Stewart, an 82 year old man, is on it. xD Though, of course, I don’t doubt that he has an entire team of people to shoot a video, edit, and publish it, but that’s beside the point.