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My media niche: Skincare, Makeup and TikTok?

This week I started a new subject, BCM241- Media Ethnographies!

Ethnographic research is useful for media and communication professionals as it enables them to gain,

“as complete an understanding as possible of the cultural meanings and social formations (and their inter-relationships) of a group, such as an organization, profession, community or society.”

(Daymon & Holloway, 2011, p.148).

Over the following weeks I will learn all about researching people, various methodologies and have the chance to conduct an in-depth research project about a media niche I’m interested in.

To start thinking about this project we were all asked…

Made with giphy.

This question left me with a serious mind-blank, all I could think was that I didn’t have any niches at all. However, after thinking about it for a few days I realised that I have a developed a small addiction to TikTok over the last year.

If you haven’t heard of it, check out the short video below.

TikTok is video-sharing app where users can post short videos (15-60 seconds long). The app is host to all ranges of content from dancing videos, cake decorating, funny jokes and skits as well as super niche communities and sub-communities (have you heard of Elite TikTok or DeepTok?).

Click here for a great explainer about the basics ofTikTok and how it works by the Verge.

Image credit: @helloimnik via Unsplash

TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity over the last two years with over 2 billion downloads worldwide as of April, consequently claiming the title of the fastest-growing social media platform ever (Muliadi, 2020). Wallaroo speculates that the app currently has 800 million monthly active users and TikTok users spend on average of 52 minutes per day in the platform.

Tiffany Zhong explains that what makes TikTok special is that it is,

“…a place where you can be your own weird self and still get complimented and go viral for that, whereas on other platforms you’re trying to be as perfect as possible…”

(Ting, 2020)

Perhaps one of the most prominent feature of TikTok is it’s ‘for you page’, which is a curated feed that shows you new content you might like based off a complicated algorithm that analyses the content you engage with.

My FYP in particular, is full of lots of cosmetic based content, such as makeup tutorials and skincare advice. I personally find this type of content really interesting and find the communities interacting with it to be really supportive and encouraging to one another.

Due to the nature of the app, Sarah Perez explains, “users will often post and share unapologetically wholesome content, and receive less mocking than elsewhere on the web — largely because everyone else on TikTok posts similar “cringey” content, too.” (Perez, 2020).

In this article about how TikTok is influencing beauty standards, user Mouse Rodriguez describes his experience of the TikTok beauty community as finding, “a safe haven of expression”.

To me, this is super interesting? Why do users find this space more welcoming and positive then other online spaces?

What is different about a user’s experience within the TikTok beauty community opposed to other social media platforms?

References:

Daymon, C & Holloway, I. 2011, ‘Ethnography’, Qualitative Research Methods in Public Relations and Marketing Communications. Routledge: New York.

Muliadi, B 2020, ‘What The Rise Of TikTok Says About Generation Z’, Forbes, 07 July 2020, viewed 07 August 2020.

Perez, S 2020, ‘It’s time to pay serious attention to TikTok’, TechCrunch, 30 January 2019, viewed 07 August 2020.

Ting, D 2020, ‘‘Every kid wants to be an influencer’: Why TikTok is taking off with Gen Z’, 07 February 2020, viewed 07 August 2020.

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