TikTok’s joy-miners created considered one of my favorite locations on the web | TikTok

During Melbourne’s initial lockdown, Jeanette Nkrumah spent a lot of time on TikTok.

The videos she saw on her “For You” page – the personalized homescreen that appears when you open the app – were initially not particularly convincing. But as she started spending more time there, the recommendations improved.

“The content just turned out really good. I started writing it to my friends and roommates. At some point I started posting it on my Instagram stories for everyone to see. “

Unlike other social media apps, TikTok allows users to easily save videos with a watermark right on their phones. Dr. Belinda Barnet, Senior Lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology, says this feature is helping “make their content go viral and bleed onto other platforms”.

“It’s not just a fundamental feature of TikTok,” she says, but more of a design decision to “make content … easier to share”.

When Nkrumah started watching and saving videos, her mental health was worse than it had been in a long time. Her first videos posted on Instagram sparked a flurry of positive messages from friends. At first, she feared her friends would jump right past them, so the reactions felt especially affirming.

Jeanette Nkrumah’s Monday night ritual, Top of the Toks. Photo: Jeanette Nkrumah

Nkrumah kept the uploads going. “A friend wrote to me to call it Top of the Toks and it just grew from there. Now I post my curated topic dumps every Monday evening.

Nkrumah does not make its own TikToks. Instead, she curates them based on their mood or world events. Her Instagram uploads on Monday evening are not just a ritual for her – her account has become one of my favorite places on the internet.

Watching the videos posted by friends gave me a deeper insight into who they were

Share moments

Like Nkrumah, I downloaded TikTok after watching the videos on other platforms for about a year. Unlike her, I never made it through the initial stages of training my algorithm.

I found it difficult to assert myself in the app. The reward of eventually being fed the right content compared to the time I spent looking at things that weren’t interesting just didn’t match. It made more sense for me to go back to where I first started watching TikToks: other people’s Instagram stories.

I valued the taste and sense of humor of people I’ve already followed more than the algorithm’s experiments on me. Also, I got a deeper insight into who they were when I watched the videos posted by friends. It made me feel more connected to them.

Barnet noticed this trend. She says TikTok videos are “extremely good at capturing a moment” and can get others to “share that feeling or moment on another platform.”

Content aggregators on social media are nothing new. New media empires were built in search of and the emergence of viral content. It can even be a profitable endeavor. YouTube has compilations of Vines, Snapchats, and TikToks with millions of views, with money changing hands with every ad that plays alongside them.

The amount of creativity I see on TikTok continues to surprise me, Amber Akilla, curator and creator

Sophia Smith Galer, Vice World News reporter and TikTok content creator, says while content aggregators should seek permission from the original creators to re-share, aggregation isn’t always done by books. “If you don’t care about rights or anything, you can grab a whole bunch of videos and upload them to a monetizable channel and create ads.”

YouTube has an opt-out process for copyrighted works and states that “short videos you have collected from other social media sites” are not eligible for monetization. Smith Galer – who has been approached by aggregators wanting to license their content – says “some people obey the laws of the internet,” but violations still happen. “I’ve seen my videos on other people’s YouTube channels and haven’t given them permission to use them.”

In particular, TikTok compilations are ubiquitous at the moment, because the video platform is currently setting the most trends. It offers “meme culture in a very engaging way”. “[TikTok] has a high content density. Every second is full of so many different things – audio, visuals, captions – trying to get all of these different emotions out of you. “

A screenshot of one of Amber Akilla's tiktok dumps titled One of Amber Akilla’s Tiktok dumps. Photo: TikTok

Amber Akilla, a DJ and creative director who also curates Tiktok dumps on Instagram, agrees. “The amount of creativity I see on TikTok always amazes me,” she says. On her TikTok page, she mainly posts original videos, while on Instagram she mainly shares content from her For You page. Akilla sees Instagram as more oriented towards “aspirational” content, while TikTok is more “relatable”.

“I haven’t seen any people on Instagram talking about our relationships, friendships, relationships – things I’ve always been interested in. So when I saw it on TikTok, it was really confirmatory. “

Making your own videos is easy – she holds up her phone and talks about her interests straight into the camera. But the TikToks she shares with her Instagram audience are absurd, chaotic and often – in internet parlance – “cursed”. She does not post them because she agrees with the videos, but to get a reaction. “I still think Instagram is a better tool for communicating directly with people,” says Akilla.

While Akilla shares her curations with thousands of people, Nkrumah shares them on a private account that only her real friends follow.

Sharing TikToks that other people created but still felt personal to them was a safe way to express their feelings. “It’s nice to be able to share these things in public spaces and to make others feel less alone,” she says.

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