Content Creation and Responsibility

Years ago, the concept of making a video or writing a blog, or recording a podcast wasn’t considered the best practice in terms of effective persuasion and marketing. How things have changed.

I fully fess up to trying new products based on the product reviews of someone on YouTube or reading about it on a blog. When I’m considering a purchase of basically anything from the mundane to the important, the first place I’ll start at Google and dive down the rabbit hole to content creators sharing their thoughts on whatever it is I’m considering buying at the time. I’ll try a product at a special deal when it pops up on my Instagram feed, I will save memes that inspire me and make me think—often sharing them with someone who would appreciate it.

I devote a block of time at the end of my workday to watch Tik Tok because I’ve found it to highly educational in addition to entertaining. Indeed, important ideas about politics, social justice, activism, and education have found a place to influence others on an app that first spawned a million dance interpretations. For me, as much as I appreciate entertainment value in digital content, their ability to provide new perspectives and food for thought is what has fascinated me, especially in the last couple of years.

But while finding new recipes, other people who share similar viewpoints, and innocent videos that do nothing more than provide laughter seem innocent, we are well aware of how easily the tide can turn.

One post that just hits wrong, and the wave of popularity and trustworthiness attached to leading influencers can evaporate in heartbeat. But the issues are about so much more than branding gone awry. Content creators have power. And with power comes great responsibility.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately—while I’m far from being a creator that is on anyone’s radar, someone in my small following surely gets something from what I put out. So, it’s entirely up to me to influence what it is that person is getting. I can depress someone. I can make someone laugh. I can encourage someone. I can give someone something to think about. I can build someone up, or I could potentially tear them down.

What I have appreciated most about blogging is that this little corner of the world is my place for sharing my thoughts. And for anyone who knows me well enough, they know I don’t mince words. When I’m feeling righteous indignation about a topic, I’ll spout off. I know what is in my heart, but perhaps others don’t. Do I come off like someone who really cares or am I just ranting? There’s a thin line between the two.

It is important to remember that when creating content to be shared with the public, it is important to be true to yourself, to be authentic. People smell fakes a mile away, so putting on pretenses is a foolish errand to go on. But remember and remind yourself of this audience—whatever the size—and acknowledge the power you have to do good or make things worse.

Knowledge is power. Content creators wield immense power in the knowledge they are supplying. Be wise. Be empathetic. Share well.

Photos by S O C I A L . C U T and dusan jovic on Unsplash

Tok Around the Clock

When everything started shutting down last March, Tik Tok was barely on my radar in terms of preferred social media. Tik Tok was decidedly my high school aged son’s thing. But one year later, 40-something moms have arrived! Ok they are there, but that’s not the point of this post. I must preface this by saying while I do have an account, I only have one so that I can like and make comments (always affirming, I don’t do that mean trolling crap). You will never see me in videos of my own creation. That is my promise to you. But for all you Tik Tok creators, keep doing you! BECAUSE I LOVE IT!    

Almost a year into quarantine, Tik Tok has become a part of my life. That’s right. I’m saying it. And while my family thinks I have an addiction to it and can’t control myself, you tell me. Does someone who is addicted designate a specific time of day to look at Tik Toks, then and only then, without interrupting the flow of the day to “cheat” the schedule? Yeah, I thought so. I do set aside the time after I log off work for the day and before I have to cook dinner, as Tik Tok Wind Down time.

Sure, back in March 2020, Tik Tok was a place to find families doing all those dance challenges (Savage anyone?). And yeah, they were pretty funny and nice escape from mess 2020 was quickly becoming at that time.

But over the course of the summer, the lead up to the elections in November and through to now, Tik Tok evolved from this kind of silly social media platform to a legitimate space for learning just about anything. Thanks to the algorithm, Tik Tok is pretty good and feeding me content that I actually care about (Nope, I have not found myself in Trump Tok, thank you Lord). Of course, algorithms are determined by the level of interaction one has with specific accounts (at least that’s how I understand it), so what I’m shown is pretty predictable if you have any sense of my interests.

That said, I’d like to share some of my favorite Tik Tok creators, whom I follow for a variety of interests they address. After several of my more serious posts, I thought lightening up to share some great accounts to check out would be a good thing.

So herewith is my collection of Tik Tok that is more than just pandemic entertainment.

Food

This category has a two-fold purpose. Easy and tasty recipes (got my best Shawarma Bowls recipe from Tik Tok) and DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) spots to check out. When there is nothing to do besides go for a drive to pick up takeout, recs from people in the know are extremely helpful. It also makes for great exploration of your locale.

Italian food the way Italian people make it in Italy. Nuff said.
A foodie from Cornell University who knows his way around a kitchen–both at home with his parents and on a budget at school.
Her recipes are delicious! She also seems to live a pretty charmed life in the hills of LA. Fun to watch, fun to cook.
Come for the Chai (chai means tea. stop ordering chai tea lattés. you’re only saying “tea tea lattés.) stay for the hope.
Where ever you live, someone has an account about food treasures in your zone.
This DMV foodie has the deets on great spots to try. (I was so tempted to say deets on eats!)

Wellness

These are actual board certified medical and nutritional professionals who dispense real science and logic. No, they aren’t there to diagnose your issues online. But you can learn a lot from their content which has proven to be super helpful to me, personally.

A registered dietitians with real facts on good nutrition and listening to your body. Love her!
Another fab RD who knows what she’s talking about. She also has fun with TT trends. Don’t judge.
After 45 years on this planet as a female, this OB/GYN is literally the one who told me things I never knew. 100% recommend her page.

Feeding the Mind

Politics, history, current culture, faith. These are creators provide necessary content for today.

If you don’t know Quentin, get to know him. A follower of Christ who walks the walk and gives you straight talk on politics and doing the right thing.
He’s intro’d himself as that pastor from Oklahoma who voted for Biden. He doesn’t mince words about what it means to authntically follow Christ and how that influences voting and life.
It’s that type of stuff that makes great conversation starters and helps you remember there is still good in the world.
Fascinating insights on American politics, culture, and history from someone outside the U.S. who knows what she’s talking about.

For Fun

These creators just make me laugh, smile, and say “whoa.” There are a lot of them out there to discover, but these are favorites.

This woman lives on an island near the north pole where polar bears roam around and there is no light for four months out of the year. Her page is just cool.
This child and her mom are adorable. Both have recently gone internet-famous for morning affirmations they do together, which we all could benefit from repeating.
His guitar playing is sooooo good. He also made to Jimmy Fallon for playing background Uke music while his brother got busted by his mom. Very cool content.
Last, but not least, Meg, the South Asian student who’s delivery and unabashed accent as the best! Shaddap! #IYKYK

So there you have it! If Tik Tok brightens your day during these very tough days, don’t be ashamed! Right now, to keep laughing and learning is the best we can do.