Entrepreneur, Parent, Baker…
How I found a home for all the parts of me on TikTok.
I’ve always been an IG girl…
When it comes to social media, I’ve always been an Instagram girl. And, it makes sense.
However, there was definitely initial skepticism. Early on, a friend described it as legalized stalking and, you have to admit, she had a point! But, over the years, I’ve settled into a positive relationship with the platform. Everything from my photo-friendly food businesses to my beautiful baking show sets have lent themselves to the visual nature of the platform. I’ve posted regularly, and thus built a large and loyal audience.
But, I became intrigued by TikTok…
TikTok first surfaced for me within my own four walls when my teenage son started spouting random facts, jokes and trivia at the dinner table he’d learned on the platform. I was… slightly concerned. It was, clearly, a time sink, but I figured a passing trend.
Even when I started seeing predictions of TikTok becoming the next social giant, I remained skeptical. In my mind, it was just a creative outlet for kids, not a place for grown-ups or brands. But then TikTok natives started crossing over into the mainstream. TikTok creators began blowing up in the “real world” launching podcast deals, prestigious brand partnerships and even, in the case of the D’Amelio family, a venture fund! Finally, when I began hearing tales of nascent consumer brands shooting to success on the back of viral TikTok videos, I became intrigued.
Could TikTok be my next move…
As much as I loved Instagram, my growth was stalled. And, this wasn’t just me. Anyone I knew who had started a business or personal brand Instagram account in the last couple of years had begun to plateau with eyeball acquisition. The algorithm was predictable, yes — predictably slow. I longed for the early days of Instagram where a cleverly crafted, well timed post could actually move the needle.
In the technicolor world of TikTok, posting felt more like a roll of the dice. A video has equal potential to rack up millions of views even with a small number of followers, or conversely languish in obscurity. As a result, experimentation prevails. Creators try, fail, find success, then fail and try again. And, in an environment where people are willing to fall flat on their face, creativity thrives.
So, while I initially turned to TikTok for the prospect of growth, I surprisingly (to no one more than myself) came to love it for so much more.
TikTok made me feel free and creative…
Once I started to play around with making TikTok videos, I started to feel my creative juices flowing again in a way I hadn’t experienced in a while. And that felt GOOD. This was a brand new space without expectations for a picture perfect feed or a polished tone. In fact it appeared that there was very little if any crossover between my audience on Instagram and my TikTok followers, so I was free to start over! A fresh start on a platform that rewards authenticity and creativity? What fun!
I was personally being challenged to peel back the layers and get as raw as possible. Now, I assure you that as a woman in her late 40s, this is not typically the time of her life when she’s looking to show up on video in as raw a state as possible, but I closed my eyes and jumped into uncharted cold water.
Why I love TikTok…
I’ve found myself addictively scrolling TikTok just like my kids. Being introduced to new people and points of view that were completely unique and fascinating is exciting. And, more than anything I have found laughter. And, it has felt amazing to laugh again. With less of an emphasis on aspirational lifestyles and FOMO, and more of a focus on giving people a good time, top content creators say TikToks are essentially a transfer of high vibrational energy.
It’s a way to connect with my kids!
If you can’t beat em, join em. Instead of throwing shade at my teenagers bringing news to the dinner table that they’d learned on TikTok, I decided to get familiar with the platform myself. It has given us a fresh point of connection to explore. I ask them for help with my videos and they are happy to weigh in. They taught me that too many emojis are “cringey,” and I shouldn't write a long caption. Also — and this proved to be very important — unlike Instagram, on TikTok I am widely followed by my kids' friends. One afternoon I received an urgent call from my son at school. “Mom, you HAVE to take down that last TikTok”. It was mortifying, he insisted. I was in my bathing suit! His friends were talking about it. New audience, who dis?
I’m personally still finding my footing on the platform, but I’ve learned a lot. If you’re considering giving TikTok a try, keep these tips in mind:
Every now and then my son would text me a TikTok he found funny, which would leave me feeling confused. These weren’t funny to me AT ALL. Was there no common generational ground to be had in the world of TikTok? What I learned is that your TikTok is not my TikTok. Just like logging onto my kids’ Netflix profiles would yield entertainment that holds no interest for me, the same goes even more so for TikTok. In fact, I’ve witnessed TikTok personalities namedrop other big personalities on the platform only to find that others have never heard of these people. Kind of cool!
But, there is a limit…
A recent Scott Galloway headline read, “TikTok captures more monthly hours from users than Facebook and Instagram combined. One key ingredient to its success? Content addiction.” Yikes! And it’s true, I see my kids in their “death scrolls,” and have to shake them from a daze. I’m not immune to it either — falling into deep rabbit holes where I look up and wonder where the time went. The stats show that people spend more time on TikTok than any of the other platforms, and I get it! It’s snackable entertainment. It’s the mini cupcake of social media — so poppable and seemingly so innocent, but by the time you’re finished snacking on them, you've done some serious damage.
I’d love to hear from you…
Are you on TikTok? What do you love or hate about it? Who are your favorite personalities or content creators?
Want to follow my TikTok adventures? Click here