Opinion: Should I Be on TikTok? How About Threads?

Earlier this month, Christine Persaud provided Wifi Hifi readers a detailed analysis of Threads, the new Meta social media platform to directly compete with Twitter (now X).  Threads surpassed 100 million users in just four days of launch making it the fastest growing social media platform in history.  So far, I have resisted downloading Threads.  I have also resisted downloading TikTok, even when knowing that my travel obsessed daughter is putting out some gorgeous content and is growing her TikTok audience nicely.  “Thanks for the support dad.”  Is this the beginning of the end for a guy in his mid-fifties to show his irrelevance by not jumping on the latest and greatest by at least staying current with the trends? 

Threads feature
An image capture of Christine Persaud Threads profile

In the business community, we may have been brainwashed to believe we are luddites when we don’t engage on social media platforms. (I am pretty sure that social media platforms are the ones that have made us feel that way!)  Without a steady stream of content to drive “user engagement” you’re nobody.  Perhaps that’s true, for there are a lot of “influencers” making serious money on TikTok and Instagram. According to Forbes, a 17-year old dancer named Charli D’Amelio with over 133 million followers reportedly is worth over $20 million and earns $105,000 per sponsored post.  What teenager doesn’t want to be the next D’Amelio? The competition for eyeballs is so fierce that many companies now put out random press releases of nothingness in the hope of creating engagement.

Press releases that we receive at the Wifi Hifi news desk used to be 90% about meaningful advances in the industry and 10% fun entertaining feel good content that we enjoy sharing, now more than half the releases we get are from companies providing what really should be categorized as click bait, where they attach some tidbit of content to align to their name.  “According to” is the most popular phrase in media these days.  

OK I’ll bite and take a look at the full report here!!

Earlier today, US shoe manufacturer KURU, based in Salt Lake City, released an entertaining pictogram outlining the most watched fitness exercises by category on the social media platform TikTok. The views are staggeringly impressive, and I will give KURU the benefit of the doubt that the release may be justified by tying a fitness shoe manufacturer to corresponding fitness Tik Tok data, and hat’s off to KURU since here I am, “reporting” on their findings, but what does data reveal and is it even important?

Courtesy: KURU Footwear

The Center of Disease Control states that close to half the U.S. population is defined as obese and the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was nearly $173 billion in 2019 dollars.  And yet 1.7 billion videos have been watched related to Cardio alone on Tik Tok.  Now granted, 1.7 billion cardio views are a global total, but soccer, arguably the most popular sport in the world only garnered 89.5 million views on TikTok, so who is watching these videos and how does releasing this data by KURU benefit…KURU?  The only answer that I can come up with is that it gets KURU mentioned, and in the world of digital and social media, getting mentioned is now the Holy Grail and the reason Charli D’Amelio gets over $100 grand just to mention you to her followers. Why go for a run when you can watch someone else run!!!

The Influencer Marketing Hub states that the United States has the most TikTok users and TikTok is the most popular app not only in the United States, but also the most popular app downloaded globally, available in 150 countries with over 3 billion installations.  The average time people spend on Tik Tok is 55.8 minutes per day according to the Influencer Marketing Hub, while Instagram ranks at 30.6 minutes per day.

The most viewed content category on the app based on hashtag views:

Entertainment: 535 billion hashtag views (that’s a big category)

Dance: 181 billion

Pranks: 79 billion

Fitness/Sports: 57 billion

Home Reno/ DYI: 39 billion

Fashion: 27 billion

Cooking: 18 billion

Pets: 10 billion

Outdoors: 2 billion

So that brings me back to where I started; am I missing a joyful part of existence by avoiding TikTok?  Am I going to be left in the dust not adopting Threads? Has my new avoidance of Facebook all but guaranteed that I am going to completely lose touch with those “high school” friends that I have not seen or talked to in over 40 years?  Is this what getting old looks like?

I will keep watching the trending data and if the day comes where the category “Pets” gets more views than “Dance”, I will jump on TikTok. Until then, if there is something that you think I really need to know, just give me a call.