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The TikTok Vortex - Part III Shareability
Science and Psychology in Product Design
Part III - Shareability
You’ve spent an hour watching TikTok videos.
Who are we kidding?
You’ve probably spent 4+ hours on and off on your first day and every day since.
I’m not judging. I’ve been there.
We’ve arrived at the final step of the vortex - shareability.
If you share content with your friend, you’re accelerating the TikTok flywheel. You're feeding the first step of the process - acquisition.
1. Share the Love - Shareable Content En Masse
Most of us are lurkers. We like to watch stuff, but hardly ever act on the content.
Let’s say chances of us sharing a video with a friend are 1% - laughably low.
Well, that means statistically you’d share a video every two hours you spend on TikTok.
On top of that, the friction of sharing is so low as the share button is visible on the right side of the video at all times.
2. Become the Hero - Breaking Content Creation Barriers and Training Promoters
The internet rule is that 99% of us are lurkers and only 1% are contributors.
How do you get people to contribute?
TikTok has lowered the barrier of creation so much that anyone can create content. You don’t have to be funny, you don’t have to edit, you don’t need to think. You watch a video, click the button to use the same music and all you have to do is copy what someone else already did.
It makes you feel creative, funny and provides a moment of delight.
It makes every creator a hero.
Once you’ve created content, you become a TikTok promoter for life. It’s your own psychology applying a concept called Commitment and Consistency.
In 1950, China imprisoned American soldiers. After the war, prisoners collaborated with their captors and many even stayed in China after the war. What could move patriotic soldiers who train to withstand brutalisation to give up the ideals of their country? The answer was to start small and build. Prisoners were asked to make statements that were mildly anti-american and pro-communist almost inconsequential - ie “the US is not perfect”. Gradually, prisoners were asked to put them in writing, sign their name under it, read out in a discussion group and finally in a broadcast to the whole prison. Aware that the prisoner had written the essay without any threats, he would change his image of himself to be consistent with the deed and as a collaborator.
This is an extreme example but highlights the power of the principle.
When we create something actively, publicly and through free will, we commit ourselves. Even though we might have previously opposed something, because of the small commitment, your brain wants your actions and attitude to match.
It’s our ingrained desire to appear consistent.
3. Become a Celebrity - The Lottery of Fame
Finally, the best for last.
Micro-interactions triggering positive and negative signals take TikTok's virality to the next level. New videos receive hundreds of interactions within minutes and can reach the whole user base within hours.
The algorithm serves your tagged video to hundreds of people with that interest. Then it waits for feedback. If the ratio of positive feedback to number of views is right, it will keep serving your video to more people.
You don’t have to create lots of content, gain millions of followers or engage with your user base. You can get famous overnight.
TikTok is a lottery for fame without discrimination nor borders.
Case in point: my video only received 145 views and 10 likes, which was not enough to show it to more people. #sadface
On that note - watch my TikTok here!
Substack followers make me famous! 🙌
Jk - I’m off TikTok - wish me luck to stay off! 😬