Over the last year I’ve come to really enjoy seeing the wide range of really creative things that folks are doing on TikTok. For example, I think it’s fun to see what folks do with history on the platform.
The platform is largely written off as something frivolous, but I’m routinely impressed by how people are using looping audio and video and green screen tools to create genuinely engaging stuff and thought provoking media.
As I was compulsively refreshing various online dashboard/election maps last week to see how the election was playing out, I was also switching over to TikTok a lot.
On TikTok, users were playing with those maps too, and I started thinking that by sequencing those videos you could see a bit of the emotional rollercoaster of the election playing out.
Below is the result of selecting and sequencing some of these. I included the text and hashtags that go along with each video to offer some context. I think it hangs together as a short documentary film about the election, data visualization, and storytelling on TikTok.
In these videos the states become characters with different personas. Memes like “I did it” and “what was the reason” become conversations between the states on the maps. A states teaches other states how to do a TikTok dance to a remix of a Russian Honey Nut Cheerios jingle. Lorde lyrics answer questions about why the map looks the way it does.
Looking at these reminds me a bit of some of the ideas that Dragan Espenschied was putting out in Big Data, Tiny Narration. That is, as we all kept refreshing these maps which pull together real time data, a whole cast of folks was sorting through what that data meant and doing creative storytelling about what it meant to them.