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I could obviously talk about TikTok all day long, and I'm not out here pretending I have a healthy relationship with any of this stuff. But here's what I know for sure...our world changes so so so fast and I want to stay aware of least for now. We aren't going to get better at it by ignoring it.

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Good morning John, happy Pizzamas!

It’s a little warm for that. It’s got little slices of pizza and your face. And it says “pizza.” It’s perfect.

But that’s not what I wanna talk about today. In May of 2020, someone told me that Tiktok is actually pretty cool if you take a look at it.

And in very short order I was uploading multiple Tiktoks a day. It is now over a year later, and I still am. Why? Why am I doing this?

Is it strategic? Am I just chasing dopamine? Am I trying to increase my credibility with Gen Z so in 2040 I’ll be their preferred Jeopardy host?

I mean, all of those things. But the first thing I will say is that when I joined up on Tiktok, it was very soon going to be the publication date of my second novel. And was I using it as a promotional vehicle? Yes. I’m not ashamed of that.

I have no issue using my prowess with social media to try and promote something that I worked very hard on and that I think a lot of people should read.

And not just books, also the Awesome Socks Club and Pizzamas shirts, both of which are helping build the maternal center of excellence in Sierra Leone.

But it is also definitely not just that. So, for my own sanity, I’ve put together a list of 5 reasons. I’m on Tiktok.

Number 1, it is just really culturally interesting. I’ve always been super into culture and subculture and sub-sub-cultures. And Tiktok is great at sub-sub-sub-sub-cultures. Especially when they collide and you end up with skyrim, urban planning, berries and cream videos.

Like I’m only actually really interested in one of those things, I’ll let you guess which one, but the fact that there are those other cultures is like my primary interest. I’m just really interested in how communities behave and grow when you give them great tools. And Tiktok is a great tool.

Of course it’s also terrifying. But that doesn’t mean it’s not fascinating and fun.

Number two, it’s very inspiring. Like, the tools for making content are pretty good once you get to know them. But more importantly, it is just a really creative community that is just begging you to make content for it.

Tiktok’s discovery system is just better than other places at elevating really good content that otherwise wouldn’t get noticed. And watching great stuff gives you ideas for great stuff, which gives other people ideas for great stuff, and all of it can be elevated. It can be, it’s not that it definitely will. It’s just a higher percentage chance than other platforms.

Number 3, it has kind of been my life’s work to try and understand internet creators. It’s a huge part of what we’ve done at DFTBA and Vidcon and Complexly. The root of a lot of this stuff has been trying to figure out how creative people survive and thrive in these very new environments. How people make stuff, why people make stuff, and how they can try and make a little bit of a living doing it. I’m not quite ready to have something so important as Tiktok to occur outside of my notice.

Number 4, let’s be honest, I like the attention. I like making stuff, and getting immediate positive feedback, because I’m human, and particularly because I’m this human.

And then finally, it is really a thing that I love to see people get curious about their world. I especially love to see them start to get curious about their world. And Tiktok definitely gives me access to a group of people I otherwise can’t reach with that stuff. And it is just really wonderful to be around for the moments when people are first exposed to some of the weirder, wilder ways that our universe exists. I like helping people get curious, I like helping them learn, it just feels really good.

Of course I also recognize that it’s a very limited tool. I recognize that it’s in the beginning of its existence and it has a long way to go before we figure out exactly what it is and all of the potential harm that it can do.

And it certainly doesn’t scratch all the same itches as Youtube, particularly of Vlogbrothers. Which at this point, I think it’s safe to say, is unlike any other place on the internet. And that’s not just nostalgia for how things were in 2007.

This remains a place where anything-- why is there music playing?


John I’ll see you tomorrow!