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Am I Too Old For TikTok? How Midlife Bloomers Use The New Social Media

4 min read

If you are tired of picture-perfect Instagram feeds or the lamenting tones of your friends’ Facebook posts, TikTok might just be the app to try out.  According to Sensor Tower, the Chinese video-sharing social network (which is surpassing more than 1,5 billion downloads in 2019) has quickly climbed among the most popular social platforms. And although its target users were initially teens and Generation Z-ers, the app is lately attracting more mature generations, including baby-boomers and Generation X women and men. So, where’s the catch?

Midlife bloomers on TikTok

Many baby boomers and Gen Xers are getting acquainted with the app through their children and grandchildren. In fact, some famous TikTokers are generation-embracing couples like this youngster who went viral thanks to the videos where he is dancing with his grandmother. “I only heard of TikTok a few months ago, but wasn’t curious or interested enough to go and see what it was all about until my nephew mentioned it and started sending videos and then my daughter starting to do them”, says Adriana P., 52.

According to a report published by Statista in February 2020, almost 20 per cent of TikTok users are ages 40-50+. You can find Generation X celebs like Alicia Keys, J-Lo, Mariah Carey and Barbara Corcoran dancing and having fun on TikTok videos, with millions of followers and hundreds of thousands of likes for each shoot. To get an idea of what your peers are doing on the platform, you can do a search with hashtags such as #over50 or #over50club.

My posts are exposed to a much wider audience on TikTok than on other social media, I find that I have followers of all ages and from literally all around the world – says silver model Deborah Darling, 58-. One great feature in TikTok is that you can click to translate comments in any post, so I can instantly understand comments in any language. It is also such a fabulous, fun space: a lot of the content is absolutely hysterical! I am amazed at the creativity of the posts – she adds-. But it’s not just about the crazy laughs, there is also great information to be found, too, from taking great photos to looking after your plants, cooking, style tips. You name it!

And rather than judging or laughing at their parents and grandparents, teens are also quite appreciating their presence on the channel. According to research conducted by Insider Intelligence, younger viewers say the older creators offer positive role models and are popular because they don’t try too hard to fit in or be something they’re not.

Real people, real lives

The app’s slogan says it all: Make your day. Real people. Real videos. The mission of TikTok is to inspire creativity and bring joy to the lives of its users; mission that has been particularly adapt at the times of the Corona Virus when everyone has been confined to their homes, looking for something fun to do and watch.

TikTok videos seem to appeal to all generations for their authenticity, spontaneity and for showing the real side of life, as compared to Instagram where people stage pretty photos and use fancy filters to make everything seem perfect. “I get the best laughs on TikTok. Watching my friends and their kids sing, dance, lip-sync and entertain is priceless”, states Barbara L., 54.

TikTok users create short, vertical videos that run for 15 seconds before looping to restart. Videos typically include music samples and creators can incorporate filters, stickers and other add-ons to enhance their shoots. You can watch all sorts of videos on TikTok, with themes ranging from comedy, food and sports to gaming, DIY and memes. According to Online Casinos, one of the latest fads is featuring your dog on TikTok and with millions of followers, some pups are making really good money, too.

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First steps to the TikTok World

Getting curious yet? You’d be surprised at how easy it is to use TikTok. Apart from your phone, you definitely need a pair of headphones, as music, voice and sound are an essential part of the fun. Just like with other apps, all you need to do is download it from Playstore or AppStore. Once you open TikTok, you are invited to choose some interests from a long list, including themes such as family, sports, comedy, food, learning and sports. You don’t need to choose any, but in order to get your feed going, you might pick a few.

You can start browsing through TikTok videos without creating an account. However, if you’d like to post your own videos, follow other accounts or make a collection of some of your favourite shoots, you need to set up one up. You can link your account to your other social media accounts to make things easier and quicker or use an email address or phone number. The app will automatically create a username that you can change later on.

There are two feeds on TikTok, For you (an algorithmically generated stream of videos) and Following that consists of videos uploaded by people you have decided to follow. You can express your likes with the heart-button and comment other videos, just like on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. You can also find out which background music has been used for each shoot by clicking at the turning disk at the bottom right of your screen.

Producing your own content

As for producing your own content, creating isn’t too difficult, either. By tapping the plus-sign at the bottom of your screen you will start your camera. Depending on the type of video, you can either do a selfie-shoot or have someone else hold the phone while shooting. One of the coolest features is the timer, which lets creators shoot videos without continuously holding down the record button. This is what makes TikTok’s signature dancing videos possible. You can add any type of background music – Hip Hop, Edm, Pop, Rock, Rap and Country to list a few – from the Sounds button and use tons of filters, effects and AR objects to take your videos to the next level. The integrated editing tools allow you to easily trim, but, merge and duplicate clips within the application.

You can study the latest TikTok trends on a YouTube channel and get support for any issues with your shooting here. It’s also possible to pause your video and do retakes as many times as you like. You can participate in challenges, learn quick recipes and get good laughs watching the others perform. The only question to ask is, are you ready for the fun?

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