Over the course of this semester, I have undertaken my final digital artefact for BCM302 (wow!). By integrating the skills and practices I learned from previous digital artefacts, I formed my final product of curating content on ‘TikTok’, a popular social media platform that allows you to produce short videos following trends and popular sound, calling the intended page “So you are at Uni”. With my previous in-depth knowledge of Tiktok, I hoped to create detailed TikToks dedicated to aiding first-year students at University (or even students from later years that want extra assistance). The page aimed to include a series of short videos giving tips such as where to park at the university, apps they should get to assist them, carpool and what to bring to class as well as tricks I have learnt along the way. I wanted the page to also be a place students can come to when feeling stressed about assignments and exams, so I made videos with breathing exercises and activities to calm my audience down.
All of my previous digital artefacts in this course have also been centred around Tiktok, branching from the success of my first digital artefact. At that time, in 2019, Tiktok was a vastly growing application which in turn meant small videos were targeted with the growing success. I had two videos that went viral over the space of two weeks, the views ranging from 100k to 800k and I received over 200k likes between the both of them. Due to the viral content, I made, I received over 7000 followers, boosting my original content. This initial exposure coerced me into wanting all of my digital artefacts to be created on this popular platform. Along with the far reach TikTok has globally, it also is one of the most straightforward and most felicitous applications around today. I have always found TikTok to be extremely effortless to create content on, on average a video taking me around 2 minutes to create and post. With all of this information in tow, it was inevitable I would move forward and do my digital artefact on this platform again. As a prerequisite, I researched how many people had downloaded the application since I did my first digital artefact. When I completed a digital artefact in 2020, Oberlo stated that over 100 million users had downloaded the application since May 2020.(Oberlo, 2020). Since then, in 2022, according to Social Media Perth, TikTok has one billion active users per day. The article also recorded that 83% of all users on TikTok have made a video on the application, they go on to say “Since TikTok’s launch in 2018, its growth has been explosive, especially among teenagers, and is showing no signs of slowing down despite impending regulation. TikTok celebrates storytellers, and we’ve witnessed the positive impact that creativity and storytelling bring to the TikTok community and the experience of our platform” (SMPerth, 2022). With these statistics, It clearly highlights the explosion of the application and its users over the past 4 years. In a positive account, with over one billion users per day, the reach my videos could have is astronomical, to the minuscule possibility of reaching billions. In opposition, however, with the insane amount of usage and users on the application, my videos could simply fall into the ether and go unnoticed. These possibilities were weighted within my hypothesis and I determined strategies to make sure my content got maximum exposure if possible. I used popular sounds in my videos as I discovered that videos had even further projection when they used sounds people loved and interacted with. One of the largest learning moments in this digital artefact and past digital artefacts was timing. Timing of all posting on social media is crucial for maximum exposure. Timing is everything when comes to posting on any social media platform but more specifically TikTok, due to the average amount of people online at any time. The Influencer Marketing Hub stated that the best times to post on TikTok (EST) where on average 6am, 10am, 4pm and 10pm. I attempted to follow these guidelines throughout this project to maximise results. As well as perfecting how I would approach my final digital artefact logically, I also found it important to remind myself that although I may not receive the successes I want, they are not considered failures either and it is not an opportunity to give up. These small letdowns are rather stepping stones to getting where I want to be.
WHY I CHOSE MY IDEA/ THE METHOD
My method was simple, create calming and insightful content that will genuinely help new (and even current) students. I still remember my first day of university 4 years ago, it was one of the most stressful and anxious days of my life. Walking into an unfamiliar space, which was very unlike high school and required so much more independence. Being socially anxious, the experience was definitely overwhelming, but unsurprisingly (big shocker!) I got through it. I also distinctly remember the night before, tossing and turning in my bed, running through the 1000 different scenarios of how the first day may go. If only there was a relaxing and easily accessible page I could source which told me how to get through my first-day jitters, the lead-up may have been way less stressful and anxious. With the familiarity of my first day of university and the very convenient time of university orientations and the HSC, I found it of extreme relevance to create my “So you are at Uni” page on TikTok. The Australian Heath And Wealth fare stated “54% of Australian students aged 15 expected to continue their study at university when they finished Year 12, around 382000 students starting study per year nationally” (AIHW, 2021). Along with this statistic, the Australian Bureau of Statistics discovered that “Almost two in five people (39.6%) aged 16-24 years had a 12-month mental disorder in 2020-21. Around one in four people (27.1%) aged 25-34 years had a 12-month mental disorder. Almost half (46.6%) of females aged 16-24 years and almost one third (31.2%) of males aged 16-24 years had a 12-month mental disorder” (ABS, 2022). Combining both statistics, they would suggest that around 142000 students entering university yearly in Australia can relate to mental health issues and find the entrance of a new environment extremely heightened and stressful. The passion and drive sourced from discovering these stats when beginning my journey of this digital artefact inevitably led me to decide on this idea without question. I really wanted to help prevent the way I personally felt the night before my first day. I hoped that the night before these individuals’ first day at University or in the lead-up to it, they had a safe space to go to and scroll, hearing other people’s experiences and reading the little tips and tricks to better prepare them in advance. I wanted my TikTok page to even be as welcoming as reaching out privately and messaging for further information or even just as a friend to help level them before they begin their new journey. With my approach and back story, I hold this digital artefact much closer than any project I have taken part in the past. I genuinely felt like I could have a meaningful and powerful impact on an individual’s life and really make changes that could in turn make myself feel like I’ve genuinely contributed.
The social utility I based my work on this digital artefact was simple – to approach everyone as an individual and not just a number. In my findings for this subject, I wanted to branch away from seeing how many or how few numbers my page but rather how helped the individual. I didn’t want to enter my DA with a me and them approach yet rather an us approach. I desired for people to want to approach me with any questions or enquiries, even a confidant to just have a chat with. This approach successfully worked on 2 occasions, two individuals approached me about starting out at university and asked a series of questions in confidence. When asked to post it within my project, they wanted to keep their questions and discussion private. Having a seemingly casual conversation with both students further pushed my motive to radiate friendly and welcoming energy within all my interactions and content.
THE PROCESS AND RESULTS
Across the semester, I made 6 videos and had 2 private consultations/discussions. Although it was not exactly the numbers I hoped for or the amount of exposure I wanted, the TikToks did make me feel accomplished and I did feel the sense of helping the individual. I used Canva for all of my videos, a very simple and effective website that helped me create seamlessly beautiful videos that matched a specific theme. As TikTok is also such an easy application to create and share content, both Canva and TikTok worked hand in hand to help me post efficient work at a rapid pace. I also, as I stated earlier, attuned to specific and popular music in my videos. The videos ranged from 5-30 seconds long and were perfectly looped to watch as many times as the viewer wanted. I posted a video once a week for the first 3 and then 1 every fortnight moving forward. Each video was posted at either 4pm or 10am, as I predicted this would be when it received the most views and interactions. One of my videos reached 500 views which I took as a small success. Aside from this, however, my hypothesis withstood what I believed, the overcrowded-like behaviour on TikTok and the immense and continuous activity lead my content into the abyss. I was quite disappointed with how little activity my page received yet no one is to blame. With the statistics stated earlier in my report and the erratic timing of posts monthly, there was only a minuscule chance my videos would receive any attention. The demographic my content was reaching was out of balance, with many of the viewers being recorded as 12- to 16-year-old females, with little to no reach towards males. It was definitely frustrating not being able to control how many people saw my videos and target what demographic I hoped to achieve, but unfortunately, this was out of my control. Ideally, the videos would have reached 17–24-year-old individuals with a large spread globally.
THE NEXT STEP
Moving forward with my pre-existing passion and motivation for this project, I want to continue my TikTok page after the completion of this subject. However, I want to take away with me my many learning moments and findings to help better aid me in future work. My largest learning moment centred around responsibility and consistency. I learned much more about responsibility within this subject. It was my sole duty and responsibility to uphold, maintain and manage my TikTok page, yet, I began to lack at this. I would sometimes spend days without checking in on my work and began to slow down with posting and maintenance. I do believe this impacted my work and delayed results and really wanted. Another important learning moment I had was to remember the likelihood, in past DAs and projects, I’ve tended to let disappointments overtake my work and place me at a pause. I slightly let this affect me this time around and it stunted me. Moving forward with this page, I need to not be so hard on myself and recognise the content I make as a success rather than its interactions, which is all up to likelihood.
I’m proud of the content I have created despite its low statistics and can’t wait to continue my work outside of university, hopefully reaching more people that need that extra push when starting university. Overall, this subject and the digital artefact have really aided me in learning and strengthening important skills which I can take into my next stage in life. I really can’t believe this is my last digital artefact done and dusted, and by far the most special one to date.
Orbelo, 2021. 10 TikTok Statistics You Need to Know in 2021 [March data]. [online] Au.oberlo.com. Available at: <https://au.oberlo.com/blog/tiktok-statistics> [Accessed 23 October 2022]
Australian University student numbers – australian university ranking (no date) Australian University Ranking | UniversityRankings.com.au. Available at: https://www.universityrankings.com.au/university-student-numbers/ (Accessed: October 24, 2022).
by SMPerth, P. and 19, L.U.J. (2022) 2022 tiktok statistics for marketers // SMPERTH, Social Media Perth #SMPerth. Available at: https://www.smperth.com/resources/tiktok/tiktok-statistics/#:~:text=TikTok%20has%20over%20two%20billion,10%20and%2029%20years%20old. (Accessed: October 23, 2022).
National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2020-21 (no date) Australian Bureau of Statistics. Available at: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/mental-health/national-study-mental-health-and-wellbeing/latest-release#:~:text=having%20higher%20rates%3A-,Almost%20two%20in%20five%20people%20(39.6%25)%20aged%2016%2D24,a%2012%2Dmonth%20mental%20disorder. (Accessed: October 26, 2022).
Schwedel, H. (2018) A guide to tiktok for anyone who isn’t a teen, Slate Magazine. Slate. Available at: https://slate.com/technology/2018/09/tiktok-app-musically-guide.html (Accessed: October 26, 2022).
Secondary Education: School Retention and completion (no date) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/secondary-education-school-retention-completion (Accessed: October 26, 2022).