TikTok: A new way to learn?

tech trends | what's new

The power of this platform should not be underestimated.

What do you think of when someone says TikTok to you?

That it’s all dance moves, lip-synching, and skateboarding dogs. That- why should you be interested because it’s not for your demographic.  Or – do you love it and spend your commute scrolling book reviews and browsing the TikTok Shop?

As with most social media and entertainment platforms, TikTok has gained a complicated reputation – but the one thing it should not be, is dismissed as a mere mindless app for teenagers. It’s evolved into a dynamic and multi-faceted tool that has altered the format of the internet and the way that multiple generations are accessing information.

Yes, 60% of users are between the ages of 16-24. However, the format lends itself to the discovery of new content for everyone. Instead of being populated by videos from people you follow, Tiktok’s main feed is filled with videos the algorithm thinks you’ll like – setting it apart from other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This means that engagement is more accurately measured by likes and views rather than followers because a larger following does not necessarily equate to a wider reach.  

You can literally go down rabbit holes of information, getting lost in this new bite-sized approach to research. It’s so interesting to see how information feels more accessible and down to earth on TikTok – search ‘courgette recipes’ and you’ll be presented with thousands of ideas explained in a concise visual manner – arguably much easier than trawling through Google search results.

Ironically clinging to his title of children’s Masterchef runner up 1997, Whatwillycook uses the platform to share his ‘recipes, not stressipies’, making simple but creative dishes that are affordable and easy to follow. Although his most watched video was viewed by 1.3 million people, it still feels as though you’re messing around in the kitchen with a mate. The humour of his delivery takes the stress and pressure out of learning to cook.  

Then there’s the amazing community of climate activists on the platform. Thousands of creators are raising awareness of ways to help improve our planet, from upcycling clothes to cleaning beaches.  

Octaviachill shares her knowledge of ‘guerilla gardening’- challenging misconceptions and highlighting the positive impact of the movement. It’s not just about planting seeds – it’s about empowering people to reclaim unused urban spaces to benefit both humans and wildlife, one tiny seed bomb at a time. 

There are a growing number of academics using the platform to share their research findings – making this knowledge accessible to demographics that would never before have been within reach. There are countless content creators specialising in niche subject areas, delivering this information using methods infinitely more engaging than any textbook could ever be. Want to learn all of the quirky details of life in the 18th century? Dr Amy Boyington uses her wealth of knowledge to shine light on the lives of the women of history who are so often overlooked. Or perhaps (this one isn’t for the faint-hearted) you’re curious about what exactly a real human brain looks like? The Instituteofhumananatomy has a startling following of 10.4 million viewers who are fascinated by scientific dissections of real human bodies.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s out there, but we wanted to celebrate the diversity and richness of content on this platform. With many other platforms (including Google) beginning to introduce and prioritise short-form video within their search results, it will be interesting to see how our methods of accessing information continue to evolve. It shouldn’t be overlooked as a genuinely enriching tool for education, awareness and empowerment. From cooking tips to environmental activism, there really is something that everyone can benefit from.  

If you haven’t given the platform a chance, why not try? It may benefit you more than you think…