About a month ago, I started experimenting with the social media platform TikTok. After all, it has over 1 billion users with 200 million downloads in the US alone. And by social media standards, it's still within its infancy.
Yes, I am aware that the vast majority of videos on TikTok are juvenile antics designed purely for entertaining and addicting Gen Zers. But there is some seriously cool stuff on the platform including educational videos in finance, cooking, photography, outer space, language, and so much more.
I've been cranking out content for my TikTok account while being mindful that it isn't just another version of YouTube for shorter content. Within the three-minute limit, I'm creating a mix of quick-focused entertainment and education on various music-related topics.
Creating for TikTok presents an interesting challenge. How do you make a worthwhile video statement within just three minutes? Believe me, when trying to make a point with video, three minutes is not very long.
Here are a few samples (they don't require a TikTok account):
Playing the alto trombone
My first video remains my most popular. I'm not sure why.
My son thinks TikTok boosts your very first video in order to get you started and enthusiastic about the platform. I admit that I was thrilled to see 700 views of it within the first couple of hours after posting it.
Appropriately and oddly enough, this video is about #AltoTrombone.
It's an example of the fun I can have exercising my video building chops using my fun audio/video production gizmos.
The third category within which I've posted is more on the entertainment side. I created a quirky video on Redbull and its effects on trombone playing, my music video on Angels We Have Heard On High, and this piece on how I built the sounds for my composition Spock's Trombone.
Believe it or not, the Spock's Trombone build is one of my most popular on TikTok.
Even for trombone players, the piece is somewhat obtuse since it's made from digital samples created from banging the bell, clicking the slide lock, hitting the mouthpiece, and various odd sounds created from the horn and other household items.
If you are on TikTok, follow me and like the videos that you enjoy. @JazzBoneGuy.
Not on TikTok? You might just download the app to your phone and see what comes from it. You do need to train it for a while for it to bring you topics of interest to you.
The genius of the app is that it learns what you like, and it's spooky good at it. After all, its success depends on keeping you watching.
At first, it will feed you inane lip-syncing and dance videos along with the ever-popular cat and dog antics.
But if you search for topics of interest, like things you enjoy, and actively reject things you dislike, TikTok will start bringing you wonders of the short video content universe curated specifically for you.