TikTok grows unstoppable in the middle of the coronavirus crisis | Innovation

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Locked up at home, bored and with too much free time. For many teenagers, Netflix is ​​no longer a consolation when the bulk of the fashion series have been consumed and the gaze is bound to turn to mobile phones. Instagram is always a good alternative, but it is not the popular social network of Mark Zuckerberg that is taking the cat to the water in full confinement, but TikTok. What exactly is this phenomenon that is shooting up your user numbers? It is a network in which its users record videos of a few seconds and share them among their followers; Thus described, it could be deduced that TikTok is another social network, but once installed on the mobile and after allowing a couple of videos to play, the sensations are completely different.

TikTok engages from the first second and does so thanks to two factors that are proving to be unbeatable: its successive reproduction and a frankly efficient algorithm. Regarding its systematic reproduction, without being automatic, the network offers easy and fast entertainment, ideal for waiting moments. His videos of just fifteen seconds are a perfect pastime and seen one, with a simple touch of the finger you have access to the next one. But this operation would not be enough if the content displayed is not of interest to the user and this is where the magic of the algorithm comes into play. TikTok offers user content that is easy to consume and previously chewed by the internal ‘brain’ of the system.

Mini clips very successful

The magic of this network is that anyone can become a celeb star From overnight. There are no prerequisites and it does not matter too much from scratch, unlike other networks in which the user must gain the trust of a large number of followers to achieve visibility, as happens on Instagram or Twitter. Although TikTok has not officially detailed the keys to success, the system operates as follows: it shows its subscribers the videos of the people they follow, but also skillfully inserts new clips from users who have hardly any followers. This is where magic works. If these new sequences are successful (measured in number of interactions and playing time), they are automatically promoted so that a novice can reach millions in a few hours.

The advantage of this network is that it already has a vast number of users that, due to a mere question of quantity, manages to sharpen the shot greatly. This is precisely what happened to Lara Martín, a teenager from Madrid who acknowledges that success came unexpectedly when she used TikTok for entertainment: “one day I uploaded a video that went viral and motivated me to continue doing what I liked ” The young woman happily drags the weight of her almost 108,000 followers achieved in record time. This tiktoker with the user lalaricius He plays skillfully with two tricks that lay the foundation for the network’s success: music and humor. Dances, versionedLittle gags… anything goes, but possibly the difference between a successful account and another without it, beyond chance, resides in work. “I record the same video several times to choose the one I like the most from all of them and then edit them,” acknowledges EL PAÍS Retina.

Overexposed teens?

Lara’s blazing stardom caught her parents off guard. “I don’t remember very well but two years ago he came running screaming to show it to me. He had uploaded a video that had a lot of followers “, explains his mother, Sara,” from that day on his followers started to upload and until now “. More than a hundred thousand people can potentially be watching what their youngest daughter records at home, but her parents do not lose control of the content. Are there rules about what to upload and what not ?: “Of course, if not He does it, knowing that he can go without a mobile for a season ”, he confesses.

But TikTok is much more than humorous clips and dances. The temptation to ‘like’ you at breakneck speeds means that many users find themselves tempted to show their bodies skirting the border of network rules. Necklines, bottoms and even erections offer the darkest side of TikTok and the one that should alert parents of minors. It is an ‘anything goes’ that can put teens at risk. “Once a video is uploaded, control is lost,” explains Borja Adsuara, an expert lawyer in digital law, warning of the possible absence of conscience on the part of a minor. In this case, Adsuara reminds parents that the law protects them if they supervise their children’s mobile phones and computers “if they have indications” of any criminal conduct. All in all, this expert suggests that parents foster “a climate of trust” with their children, “that they talk a lot and make it clear that any video they upload can backfire on them.”

More radical is Escarlata Gutiérrez, prosecutor attached to the section against computer crime, who recommends “not allow minors to use social networks with open profiles.” This expert, very active on Twitter, warns that in many cases “pornographic material uses content from open social networks”, or what is the same, that the innocent TikTok video of a minor may end up circulating on the more side dark of the network without the knowledge of the minor or his parents.

Millionaire audience and increasingly older

Meanwhile, TikTok continues to accumulate thousands of users across the globe and in Spain the confinement is making the network sneak into thousands of homes with popular hashtag such as #YoMeQuedoEnCasa, which accumulates more than 3 billion views or #AplausoSanitario that exceeds twenty million impacts. This barrage of users has motivated TikTok to choose to reduce the quality of the videos to avoid network saturation, while increasing security measures have been adopted to protect young people, such as disabling direct messages to under 16 years.

But possibly the most interesting fact about this brilliant social network is the profile of its users is getting older. The challenges posed in your videos — known as challenge– They have caused the unexpected landing on TikTok of famous springs such as Cristina Pedroche or Sergio Ramos himself, and this step is nothing but the prelude to the entry of older network users. In this sense, as explained by Ferrán Lalueza, professor of Information Sciences at the Universitat Overta de Catalunya (UOC), “the famous people with a presence on TikTok are only the spearhead of this adult landing”, since according to their assessment “in social networks adolescents are the trendsetters and then adults join because they want to be fashionable or pretend they are”.

What age range are we referring to? Precisely to those called boomers , those who are now over fifty years old; a totally unexpected audience in a network dominated by what is baptized as generation Z. And this new user profile, unlike the younger ones, manages to earn ‘likes’ based on naturalness and adding value, like the mathematics teacher Carlos Maxi who already has more than 140,000 followers on her channel.

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