Whether we need a movie recommendation, the latest news, a history lesson or information on local events – many of us are now directing our queries towards social media, and for 74% of all TikTok users, that’s specifically what they use the app for.
Instead of digging through text when you have a question, social media search bars flood the page with bite-sized visual answers, and when it comes to finding ideas, the instant supply of video not only provides the user with a wide range of opinions but cuts down on decision making time too. If, for example, recipes are what you’re searching for, you can immediately pick out something that catches your eye and then hit the comments just as fast for reviews. What appeals here to young people is cutting out information they’re not searching for, such as the stories accompanied by most food blogs before getting to the recipe, which through video can simply be a voice over.
The rise of TikTok being used as an information source was noted by the app back in 2021 when it promoted the hashtag #TikTokTaughtMe, as not only do people use TikTok to find recommendations, but to learn too. DIY videos can easily break down complex subjects, explainer videos can combine audible and visual elements to retain information, and news feeds can be tailored to fit specific niches. But big news stories can also be found on social media too – and according to Pew Research, trust in social media news outlets compared to national news organizations are almost evenly matched for those under 30, with 50% trusting the former and 56% trusting the latter.
While short form video content online can quickly and succinctly provide the latest news on a broad range of specialized subjects, it can just as easily lack nuance and is often fertile ground for misinformation to spread. Video content can be a great information source when it’s used as a primer or overview for a subject by abstracting the key points and engaging people’s interest, but further research should be taken afterwards to ensure a broader and more accurate understanding of what it is you’re searching for.
If you want to learn more about video’s role as an educational and informational tool, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.