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What the Heck is TikTok?

The value of TikTok to Baby Boomers and GenX

By Angela SchnaubeltPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
What the Heck is TikTok?
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

TikTok is more than just pre-teen dance challenges, thirst traps and silly pet videos with cats flinging around a ceiling fan. You have a lot of control over the content that is shown to you on your "for you page" (fyp for short).

You might be surprised at how hyper-specific the video content has become on TikTok, including things you are wildly interested in, passionate about, and curious to learn. Yes. Even for us "old folks" born before the turn of the century!

Let's explore some interesting video categories and communities you can find on TikTok. You'll find big, overarching, popular themes and communities such as cooking, dancing, music, travel, history, science, politics, fashion, etc.

Subcultures and Niche Communities on TikTok

You'll find very drilled-down, hyper-specific categories on TikTok that combine the interest and add "tok" to the end of it to make up the hashtag. For examples:

  • travel + TikTok becomes #traveltok
  • plant + TikTok becomes #planttok
  • spirituality + TiTok becomes #spiritualtok

To get your imagination and juices flowing, here are some hashtags and videos you can search for (so that you get the idea and use a word that describes your hobby or interest).

Travel #TravelTok

  • specific cities (e.g. #amsterdam, #rome, #london, #nyc, #beijing)
  • #bucketlist, #travelbucketlist, #destinationweddings, #dreamvacations
  • #adventuretravel, #spelunking #scubatok, #parasailing, #ziplining
  • #travelhacks, #traveltips, #travelsavings, #travelonabudget

Click on this article for more in-depth information about TikTokTravel.

Cooking #Cooktok

  • #cookinghacks, #kitchenhacks, #cookingtips, #cookingforbeginners
  • #christmascookies, #foodart, #holidayfoodart, #decoratingcookies
  • comedy and humor #funnycookingvideo, #cookinghumor, #kitchenhumor
  • #holidayrecipes, #classicholidayfood, #familyrecipes, #holidaybaking
  • #vegantok, #glutenfreerecipes, #lactosefreerecipes, #juicingrecipes
  • specific ingredients (e.g. #broccoli, #brusselsprouts, #pinkchocolate, #carob)
  • Search for world-renowned chefs, famous restaurants, and twists on recipes

Click on this article for more in-depth information about CookTok: Creators and niche cooking communities on TikTok.

Interior Design #Interiordesigntok

  • DIY ideas #diyinteriordesign, #interiordesignideas, #remodelhacks
  • #fengshui, #fengshuitips, #fengshuihacks, #diygiftwrappinghacks
  • #bedroomredesign, #livingroommakeover, #kitchendesigns
  • #cottagecorevibes, #fairybedroom, #romanticdecor, #candlelight

Role Play, #Cosplayersoftiktok

  • #dungeonsanddragons, #harrypotter, #roleplaygames
  • #Wizards, #dragons, #fairies, #costumecon, #sewtok

#Gender Fluidity, #Neurodivergent, #Autism

  • #therapy, #trauma, #healing, #selflove
  • #womenempowerment, #trans, #nonbinary
  • #lesbiantok, #femmedom, #masc, #lgbtq #queertok
  • #neuroscience, #neurodivergent, #adhd, #autistichumor

#Booktok #Authortok

  • #newauthors, #popularauthors, #audionarrators, #audiobooks
  • #bookrecommendations, #favoritebooks, #trilogies
  • #scifibooks, #romancebooks, #murdermysteries, #romancenovels
  • Search your favorite author, search your favorite audiobook narrator

Even more categories include serious subjects such as science, politics, spirituality and religion, history, PTSD, narcissism, healing trauma, fitness, health, mental wellness, French language, and relatively obscure forms of self-care and healing such as qigong, Feldenkrais, laughter yoga, and so much more.

Click on this article for more in-depth information and statistics about BookTok: Creators and niche book/author communities on TikTok.

How to Train the Algorithm on Your TikTok Channel

The "For You Page" on your TikTok feed will present random videos to you at first. You can train the algorithm to let it know what you like by the doing the following:

  1. Watch the entire video to the end or multiple times. This activity (length of time and number of times watched) is the metric that is the most heavily weighed for the algorithm to know what interests you the most. It's not enough to simply click "like" and scroll past without watching the video to the end.
  2. Click the heart icon indicating you like the video.
  3. Make a comment or comment on a comment.
  4. Bookmark the video to refer to it later.
  5. Share the video with a friend via text, Facebook messenger, or on TikTok.
  6. Respond to the video by making your own that is a duet or a stitch.
  7. Follow the content creator by clicking on the name of the person's account on top of the description of the video. This will take you to their account page that shows how many followers they have and other videos that they have made. Click on the big, red "follow" button. Watch some or all of their other videos.

If you dislike a video and want to see less of that type of content, hold your finger down on the middle of the video and a screen of choices show up. Click on "not interested."

Finally, you can be quite purposeful and look for specific content based on some of the ideas in this article, and you can use the magnifier icon on the top right of your screen to search any term you want: motorcycles, companion gardening, parenting teens, human resources humor, classical piano music, child prodigy, updates on civil unrest in countries not covered by mainstream media in America, culture (scottish humor, Russian chess players, Bali lifetyle, etc.), dog singing, cat videos, really anything you can think of.

Following Your Favorite Creators on TikTok

When you find someone who is hilarious, clever, creative, an artist with incredible talent, or who is relatable, informative, interesting, heart-wrenching, or for any reason, you can "follow" their TikTok channel.

A creator's TikTok channel is similar to a blog in a sense. A blog is a website where a creator posts a series of articles on different topics, or a theme like cooking, travel, politics, or their life. Whereas a TikTok channel is a collection of short videos instead of articles.

The most effective TikTok channels with the most followers and engagement are ones that have a theme. We will explore and highlight wildly popular TikTok creators in another article. For now, themes are similar to the topics you search like the ones mentioned above, but take the theme further by doing skits, humor, POV (point of view), editorials, education format, and other consistent formats.

I hope this helps. TikTok is for all ages! All generations are enjoying the social media platform both as users and as creators.

Please leave a comment to let me and other readers know who your favorite TikTok creators are, and/or what your favorite topics are to watch.

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About the Creator

Angela Schnaubelt

Stage 4 cancer survivor and thriver. Marketing strategist and business development coach for alternative health practitioners. World traveled, intelligent and ambitious yet heart centered. Lover of nature, animals, and life!!

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    Angela SchnaubeltWritten by Angela Schnaubelt

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