Like millions of other homebound creative people during the pandemic, I started using TikTok in April 2020 to stay active and connected to the outside world. My first post to go viral happened in August of that year, garnering 150K views.
As a lifelong TV director, I immediately fell in love with the platform for its ease of use, encouragement of collaboration, and the fun ways you can do cuts, transitions, and effects previously only available to professionals.
Fast forward to 2022, and with over 570,000 followers and 2.3 million likes and a new business helping others unleash their creativity, TikTok has become a dream come true. I am not the only one. So many people have seen TikTok change their lives.
Two famous examples:
TikTok user Dogg Face went viral lip syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams while drinking Ocean Spray, reintroducing the iconic band to a new generation of fans, earning sponsorship from the juice company, and even encouraging members of Fleetwood Mac to recreate his iconic video.
Another user, Jamie Big Sorrel Horse, posted a video of him lip syncing (notice a trend?) to a Nelly Furtado song in front of the mirror. That video, posted when he only had a few followers, now has 420 MILLION views.
Of course, it’s not about the numbers; every day some of the most creative humans I’ve ever met log on to tell their stories and truths to a couple of followers or millions. No other platform provides such a robust creative palette to tell stories. That anyone can go from a few followers to one of the most-viewed TikTok videos of all time is just one reason why I love TikTok. Here are some others.
True creativity with inspiration without boundaries or agendas. Every time you log into TikTok, you can follow a trend or try to create your own if you have a fun, creative idea. Many trends start with one user saying what if.
Ease of use. In my career as a TV commercial director, I know first-hand how much work goes into setting up the perfect shot. But, on TikTok, it often feels like you have a whole production studio in one mobile device. Many impossible-looking videos are simple if you know some tricks (more on that later). If you just want to post your unique spin on what’s trending, TikTok makes that incredibly simple.
A sense of belonging. On TikTok, you can find and connect with people like you or people completely different. But they all are happy to be there and happy to help you find your way. It encourages you to come out of your shell and let your true self show. I personally have been changed by it; before joining TikTok, I was much more critical of myself and worried someone might insult or make fun of me. Now, it’s virtually impossible to knock me down. Also, I am floored by how many friends, colleagues, and collaborators I have found there.
The generosity of friends you meet at “TikTok University.” Sometimes it feels like everyone on TikTok is a helper. You can learn anything and everything from others who would never otherwise be able to share information with the masses in the way it can be done on Tiktok.
True equality. I have seen some of the funniest and most creative people in the world make their names on TikTok. More than a few of them may have never been discovered through traditional means and therefore not given a shot to show the world what they’re made of. While other social platforms, such as YouTube, have created stars, it feels like a new one is born every day on TikTok.
It’s so much fun. The joy of finding and connecting with others who have the same struggles or interests or hobbies as you is unparalleled on TikTok. And being able to visually tell a silly or meaningful story (they all have a place on TikTok!) with the push of a few buttons makes me smile every time.
I know joining TikTok can be daunting for some, so I created Socialize to share everything I’ve learned with other dreamers. TikTok is so popular that Instagram and Facebook are trying to capture the TikTok magic through Reels. While I’m active on those other social media platforms, none but TikTok allows you to post one video and potentially gain an audience of millions overnight. I’ve learned so much in the past two years, and I am excited to share what I know with creators, young and old, whether they are beginners or experts.
It often feels like TikTok is selling a dream. But if the fun and excitement found on TikTok is a dream, I don’t want to wake up.