TikTok: Journalists need to meet with young people on their territory
To engage future generations in current affairs and politics, we need to move beyond the TV screen.
If you’re new to the TikTok universe, you probably associate the social media platform with viral dances, lip syncs and comedic sketches. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find a wealth of interesting and informative content on everything from crafts, to travel guides, to (you guessed it) news.
Linear TV is certainly one way to share what’s going on in the world, but BARB data shows that the audience base is skewed significantly towards over 45s. Meanwhile, 94% of TikTok users are 44 and below, according to research from Sightly. If we want to share what’s happening to everyone across the UK, we have to meet them where they are.
TikTok is a place that allows news platforms to reach an audience that has been widely unrepresented in mainstream news – and in a time of increasing division, a looming recession and a climate emergency, it could not be more important to get young people – the future of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – engaging with and contributing to the news discussion.
The TikTok Community
Community is central to TikTok. Going beyond the traditional ‘like’ or ‘follow’ of other social media sites, TikTok encourages users to collaborate with other creators’ videos, whether it’s filming your reactions, ripping the audio, or ‘stitch’-ing a video onto the end of someone else's.
In the isolated world of the pandemic, it’s no wonder that TikTok has seen a boom. It’s a place to connect, chat, joke and listen to people from all over the world. It’s a place to bring the conversation forward – all from within your own four walls.
I would argue that journalism, too, is all about connecting, chatting, joking and listening to people all over the world – not to mention, continually bringing the conversation forward. It’s baffling to me, therefore, that huge news programmes and channels are still neglecting the platform. BBC News, for example, does not use TikTok – despite the BBC using TikTok to promote their entertainment shows and Radio 1.
GB News’ mantra is: ‘What matters to you, matters to us.’ Whether you're born this side of millennia, or the other, we will listen to the people that shape all communities across the UK and share your stories – the TikTok community included.
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