that was a week, 27 January 2020

(consider everything this week NSFW)

Another week down the TikTok meme mines.

Really enjoyed Charlie Shackleton‘s video essay about criticism in the age of TikTok (thanks Kim). The style of in-device movement around apps reminded me of Grosse Fatigue.

There is some criticism on TikTok these days, notably people getting angry at appropriation of foreign language lyrics, where creators are using what it sounds like rather than what it actually means – eg “no I know” versus “não vai não” – or not understanding quite how rude the lyrics they’re dancing to are. The Duet filter/function is a natural mode for in-TikTok criticism.

One of the hardest things to get used to is the American take on what rude words are (b-s and n-s are allowed, but f-s are bleeped), and that most of the dancing is to pretty offensive rap. I realise this is my problem, not theirs – and it’s not like there wasn’t similar music when I was a teenager. But there’s something jarring between the all-white American smiles against descriptions of precisely how, where and who will be gunned down.

Sounds like Tesco have now caught up with TikTok, and forced employees to take down all the videos filmed in Tescos or in uniform (but I haven’t heard of anyone being fired). I think they’ve missed a trick.

There’s a whole other side to TikTok I haven’t engaged with – live broadcasting. It’s the only way for users to directly make money off the app. But it feels like a step too far for me to explore. I’m old enough to be their dads.

Going back to using TikTok for criticism – I’m really surprised no-one is doing, for want of a better word, GoggleTok: clips of TV reaction criticism, given how embedded the Gogglebox format is in UK vernacular. There’s been some posts around Sex Education (eg which characters people like or dislike) but there’s very little reaction to bits of TV, even though a lot of the sound clips people reuse come from TV and film. Given some phones can now record from both front and back cameras at once, it feels like a natural split screen format for TikTok, or an upgrade for the green screen filter that’s one of the most interesting genres on TikTok.

This week’s old person on TikTok who gets it is Max Foster from CNN.

Also, Byte launched – a Vine remake. It’s likely to be popular with a different demographic to TikTok (ok boomers), but there’s a lot of reposting between the two at the moment. It’s currently very stripped down compared to TikTok, and I miss the richness of background sounds, innovative use of titling and filters, and the difference between a few seconds of video and the 60 seconds TikTok now allows.

In non-short-form-video news:

Started watching the Bon Appetit cinematic universe. Not quite hooked yet.

It’s great to hear that the Thomas Cook archives have been kept as a collection and will be properly looked after. Good work by the Business Archives Council.

Sourdough real talk