By Aisha Hassan Malik
Not just for frivolous stuff and mindless surfing, more people are turning to TikTok to learn something new.
Lip syncing and performing trending dance moves are what most people do on TikTok, but did you know that more are turning to this highly-addictive app to learn a tip or two?
Increasingly, TikTokers who dish out life hacks, Excel tips and Presentation skills are getting a steady stream of followers keen to impress their friends, colleagues and even bosses with what they learnt on TikTok.
Sindhu Mohan, 19, a self-taught social media coach, uses TikTok to share social media marketing tips. The first-year business undergrad from National University of Singapore started her TikTok account in 2021 and has over 4,000 followers to date.
She says: “Social media marketing tips are the kind of content I create because that’s my niche and that’s what I have spent a long time learning. I aim to create content to simplify marketing for new business owners.”
While many of her followers appreciated the free tips, there were some who felt that her content was too serious for TikTok. Sindhu disagrees. She explains: “Many people just think of TikTok as a dancing app that is for Gen Z and for those who want quick entertainment. That can’t be further from the truth.”
She adds that users wouldn’t know that such educational content exists unless they actively search for them. It is easy to “think that your for you page (FYP) is the only kind of videos that everyone else is watching but actually there’s tons of other niches out there”.
A FYP serves as a personalised landing page for users, displaying video content that TikTok believes each user will enjoy the most from what they have watched and interacted with the most in the past. Common niches that may be sought by users consist of: Lip-synching, dancing and comedy.
NurSalina Bte Mohamed Salim, 20, a second-year Industrial and Operations Management student in Republic Polytechnic agrees that TikTok is a great platform for sharing skills, tips and educational content. It is a win-win for content creators and followers because both parties are given the opportunity to learn from one another through a shared yet popular platform.
NurSalina uses the platform to learn and improve her understanding on certain modules in school. For instance, she follows @SheetGeek to learn excel hacks in order to become more proficient in Microsoft Excel as her course heavily depends on the tool to complete her work.
“It really depends on how we, as viewers, utilise the social media platform and the intentions you have before downloading the app. Some prefer viewing memes or dancing content on their page, while others prefer to learn. I think having a hybrid of both would really expand educational content creators’ reach,” says NurSalina.
In order to continue sharing educational content to their audiences, some creators have gone far beyond to bridge and blur the lines between entertainment and information. One of Sindhu’s inspirations is Sandy Lin, or also known as @smallbusinesstips_ on TikTok.
Unlike Sindhu who prefers to voice her thoughts and suggest tips while sitting down, Sandy would dance in the background of her videos as she provides tips on her captions at the same time. In the end, it all boils down to the intentions a user has when they download the TikTok app and the type of content they prefer to see.
“It’s not a fully educational content app but it’s definitely possible to learn from it. If it was a fully educational app, people are not likely to use it but you know, when you are scrolling on your FYP and you come across an educational video, that’s easy to consume. So, I think it has both pros and cons to it but you can definitely learn from TikTok,” says Sindhu.
TikTokers we can follow to learn tricks and tips:
1. For Excel tips, follow TikTok accounts like @SheetGeek and @microsoft365.
2. For Career tips, follow TikTok accounts like @erinmcgoff and @shadezahrai.
3. For Basic Etiquette tips, follow TikTok accounts like @etiquettegirl and @sofia.marbella.
4. For Study tips, follow TikTok accounts like @fernsulantay and @sarahrav.
According to the mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower, TikTok saw an estimated 1.04 million new downloads in Singapore between January and July 2020. Since its international release in 2017 to the public, it has consistently stayed at the top of playstore charts.
Although the app is well-known for its addicting lip-syncing, funny or relatable content, there was also a rise in the number of informative, instructional and motivational videos on TikTok.
With this as the backdrop, TikTok partnered with over 800 experts, creators and institutions in early 2020 to celebrate how the app has helped the public learn, through their #LearnOnTikTok campaign.
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