Understanding TikTok (And Five Of Our Favorites)

Not sure where to start with TikTok? We’ve got a short explainer and five local follows for you to check out.
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Photographs by jetcityimage, Craig, Pink Badger, and Rick Lohre / stock.adobe.com

TikTok, which is essentially a hosting platform for user-generated videos, was released worldwide in 2017 by the Chinese company ByteDance (after a merger with rival video app, musical.ly.) Since then, it’s been downloaded more than 2 billion times. Videos on the platform can range from 3 seconds to 10 minutes long.

HOW DOES IT KNOW WHAT I WANT TO WATCH?
When you interact with a video, whether that’s by watching, liking, commenting, or sending it to your friends, TikTok’s superpowered AI algorithm takes note, feeding you more and more of what you like.

I WANT TO MAKE A TIKTOK. HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The beauty of the app is that anyone can get in on the action. Videos range from three seconds to three minutes. Just tap that plus button at the bottom of your screen, open up the camera, and have fun with it.

BUT WAIT: ISN’T TIKTOK GOING TO BE BANNED?
In Ohio, some state legislators are pushing for a complete ban. But as long as you’re not using a government-owned device—the app is banned on those in both Ohio and Kentucky—you should be OK.

FIVE MORE LOCAL TIKTOK FOLLOWS

  1. @BENGALS

When it comes to social media, professional sports teams—the Bengals most certainly included—have taken a turn toward the absurd in recent years, answering “burning questions” for fans. For instance: Who would players definitely not want to be stuck next to on a long flight? Spoiler alert: It’s almost unanimously B.J. Hill.

  1. @CINCINNATIZOO

Viewers may have come for Fritz and Fiona, but they stay for the day-making carousel of content that is the Cincinnati Zoo’s TikTok account. With more than a million followers on the platform, the Zoo lets viewers get up close and personal with the animals.

  1. @CINCYLIBRARY

A library on TikTok? Really? Trust us on this one. The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library’s official account is stunningly on-trend and posts almost daily content that’s as informative (how to check out library materials on your phone) as it is entertaining (a short-lived Days of Our Lives sketch parody about—what else?—librarians).

  1. @SKYLINECHILI

Cincinnati’s most notable chili parlor is out to evangelize the ever-reluctant masses with its account, which features enough order hacks and Skyline-themed recipes to keep the tried-and-true menu fresh. It’s also plenty entertaining. Skyline orders as Taylor Swift songs, anyone?

  1. Joey Votto… formerly

For a few glorious months, the Reds’ first baseman dazzled and confounded leagues of baseball fans when he posted several TikToks while not playing during his latest injury, including his (surprisingly very good) rendition of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Name” to the app, live from the dentist’s chair. The account has since been deleted, and there’s no word from Votto on a sequel to the iconic single. But you can still find each video by searching his name on the app.

 

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