How I Learned More About TikTok Through Podcasts

Hello, my name is Lainey and I have a TikTok addiction. Welp…the first step is admitting it, right?

To quote the devil itself: “I downloaded TikTok as a joke and now I’m addicted.”

I started watching these 15 second viral videos because I kept seeing a few that permeated other social media platforms. Originally, I refused to touch the app because it evolved from Musical.ly, a lip-syncing video app that came right after the fall of Vine. I held a lot of animosity because of Vine and Musical.ly’s overlapping lifespan. Little did I know that TikTok could fill the Vine-sized hole in my heart.

So what did I do when I wanted to know more about this tremendously delightful waste of time—naturally, I turned to my safe space: podcasts. I found myself looking for any podcast episode related to TikTok.

I listened to “The Strange World of TikTok” from The Guardian and “How TikTok Took Over the World” from eMarketer.

First of all, what the app is: a platform for making short videos, usually with music. What it’s not: VINE. or traditional social media where you interact with people you may know in real life. Also, unlike Vine, it doesn’t feel like you are getting content created by a friend. The algorithm is chaotic and creators don’t yet have the strong brands that are associated with other platforms, such as YouTube. Although I’m a cynic and have hope that creators will find a way to monetize—which was one of the biggest reasons for the downfall of Vine. Ok, I’ll stop talking about Vine now. Vine.

According to these podcast episodes, there are half a billion users as of October of 2019, with 65 million residing in the U.S. (as of a year ago). They are mainly younger users—although I resent that generalization. TikTok comes in third—a solid bronze—behind Facebook and Instagram as the largest social media platform. The podcast hosts contribute TikTok’s popularity to being more entertaining than traditional social media platforms or news-based websites, allowing you to escape for a while. I can speak from experience—you get lost for a little too long. They also highlighted some of the negative press the app has received, mainly censorship (it’s owned by a Chinese company) and lack of continuity within community guidelines.

I’m very interested in how this app will grow, change, or even possibly peter out. I predict that they will find ways to slip in ads or create experiences around products, much like Snapchat. I mean, look at what the Washington Post has built in a very short time. (For more information, listen to this podcast episode with the WP‘s TikTok Mastermind, Dave Jorgenson) But overall, I’m glad that there is another platform that allows the younger generation space to think creatively and—more importantly—laugh. Much like an older platform that won’t be named.

Now, on to your TikTok education. I picked five of my favorites that will give you an idea of some of the trends. First, see this ‘ready player one’ gamer trend. Then there is the perfect encapsulation of music meets comedy that the app does so well here. Now, here’s a way to explain TikTok to your Boomer family members. This one is just funny no matter who you are. And lastly, this one explains how I feel in 2019 vs 2020 about TikTok.

Enjoy and find a friend that can rein you in after a major TikTok binge (Alex).

-Lainey

Your Winter Podcast Cuddle Buddies

Hey listeners,

We’re taking a break from recording this week, but no fear—plenty of recommendations are here! Perhaps you’ve gotten your fill of holiday family time, or maybe you’re simply looking to switch up your pod rotation for the rest of December. Either way, here are a few snuggly podcasts to keep you company through the cold winter months.

Find a category and get to bingeing!

Journalistic & Investigative

Screen Shot 2019-12-23 at 6.55.30 PMLove a narrative deep-dive? Try out all three seasons of Slate’s Slow BurnIf you’re a presidential history fan, the first two seasons will meet your needs (they focus on the scandals surrounding Nixon and Clinton. The third season switches it up and follows the murders of music legends Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.

 

npr_codeswitch_podcasttilePerhaps the holidays have brought up some tough conversations about identity, race, or politics and you need some backup…try Code Switch from NPR! With episodes dating back to 2016 and continuing content, there’s plenty to dive into for the rest of winter.

 

Fictional & Storytelling

imagined life

Imagined Life from Wondery is the perfect podcast for those who appreciate a blend of fiction and nonfiction elements. Focusing on a different historical figure each week, this storytelling show keeps you guessing until the very end.

 

 

OHC+Season+2+LogoSeeking something a little more magical? The Orbiting Human Circus might be your pick! From WNYC Studios and the creators of Nightvale Presents, this immersive audio production has been going strong since 2018 and features a star studded cast including Tim Robbins, Charlie Day, John Cameron Mitchell, and many others.

True Crime

Screen Shot 2019-12-27 at 10.13.57 AMThere’s a reason My Favorite Murder has a ravenous, unmatched fan base—if you’re looking for the most bingeable true crime around, give them a shot. They release episodes twice a week (from full length to minisodes to live shows), so there’s sure to be an episode for you.

 

scam goddessIf murder isn’t your style, Scam Goddess (Earwolf) has you covered with all the best cons and rackets. Host Laci Mosley brings her signature humor to the show with new episodes every week, and don’t miss all the hilarious guests.

 

 

Music

npr_tdconcerts_podcasttileAt DYEP, we’re huge fans of Tiny Desk from NPR! This great pod has introduced us to new artists, but it’s also shown us another side of our old favorites. Make sure to check out the Youtube channel for the full videos.

 

 

song explFor a deeper dive into music, try Song Exploder. Every week, a different creator breaks down their songs and walks listeners through their creative process. There’s something for everyone, from fans of Meek Mill to lovers of Bon Iver.

 

 

Happy listening and happy holidays!

—Alex

S3: E14 Interview with Alex, Hana, and Rachel from Lindsey: A Radio Play

Hi pod pals!

This week, we were absolutely thrilled to chat with Alex Genty-Waksberg, Hana Wuerker, and Isabelle Platt from Lindsay: A Radio Play

This six-part audio noir podcast tells the fictional story behind Lindsay and Sydney Lohan, twin sisters and stars of The Parent Trap…and how these two sisters became one. Creating a podcast truly takes a village, and this fantastic trio shared everything—from their experiences collaborating on the script, to finding a knockout cast, to sharing their creation with the wider world. We even asked our guests which twin they identify with, and you don’t want to miss their answers!Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 11.51.37 PM

If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to give the show a listen! You can find them on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Follow them on Instagram and Twitter (@LindsayPodcast) too!

 

Guest Pod Post: Marcus Wong from The ABSURDIST NEWS Podcast

This week, we’re putting the spotlight on fellow podcaster Marcus Wong (Max) from the Absurdist News podcast. Absurdist News is basically two truths and a lie with news articles! Each week a host presents 5 crazy news articles, upon which one of them is fake. At the end, the other two people have to guess which news article is the fake one. Find the podcast on iTunes and Spotify or on twitter @Absurdist_News.

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Can’t get enough of people doing absolutely crazy things in the world? Yeah, us too. We at Absurdist News tackle the weird and funny news stories of the world with a fake news article thrown into the mix. Hosted by Marks, Max, and Dave, every Wednesday we review 5 news articles, upon which 1 of the articles is fake.

We like to take a comedic approach when doing our research of news articles, and thankfully podcasting has grown to the point where there’s plenty of news stories published! In this exploding industry, almost anyone can start a podcast, and as soon as you let the flood gates open up, you know some ridiculous news stories will come up.

Can you guess which one of these podcast related articles are fake? You’d be surprised. We usually are.

Guest Pod Post: Hannah Zoe Weilbacher from THE B-SIDES

This week, we’re putting the spotlight on fellow podcaster Hannah Zoe Weilbacher who is 1/3 of The B-Sides (@listentothebsides), the pop music appreciation podcast for progressives. You can find the show on Apple and Spotify and subscribe to the newsletter (with playlists!) by going to bit.ly/listentothebsides

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Pop music can save the world. That is, if we stop denying ourselves the pure joy we can access when we listen to it.

But here’s the problem. We get in our own way when we don’t take pop music as seriously as we take other media. Critical progressive thinkers often feel more comfortable with a nuanced appreciation of the new Star Wars franchise than the new Taylor Swift album. Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars. But that’s kind of the point. We need to treat the mushy, pop-y magic of movies and television the same way we treat pop music.

At The B-Sides, we constantly unpack the myriad reasons why pop music is dismissed despite it still being part of dominant culture. One reason we have clarified is simply misogyny. People associate pop music with young women, whose taste is not taken seriously, despite young women from all demographics consistently being on the cutting edge of taste (see: Elvis, The Beatles, and frickin’ One Direction).

And there’s another misconception: that pop is unsophisticated, inauthentic, and overall not a genuine form of expression.

That misconception is also rooted in structural oppression like misogyny as well as racism and homophobia. It comes from the limiting, reductive thinking that suggests that the only music worthy of legitimacy is made by whiny white boys on guitars.

I see the tides turning on how we talk about pop with the success of a new era of artists, with Lizzo in particular. Her powerful messages combined with true musical prowess is allowing pop skeptics to finally embrace the unbridled joy that comes from listening to pop. Lizzo is a classically trained flutist who was mentored by Prince – you’re wrong if you think she’s not a truly talented artist.

Listening to pop music sends a different message: one of choosing joy and of rejecting dominant narratives about whose talents are worthy. So blast that Lizzo song – or that Carly Rae b-side – and dance your butt off.

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