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Thoughts for the Weekend & this Week’s Links

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Tikory Hickory Tok, The Mouse Ran Up The Clock.

After spending a week immersed in TikTok, I’ve peered into every corner of its vibrant, chaotic landscape. It’s a peculiar digital town square, showcasing everything from mundane daily routines to the strangely hypnotic, where I found live-streaming to hold the most allure.

Live-Streaming Lures

Tom’s 80s music breakfast show streams every weekday morning, a delightful gem amidst the usual fare. He dons eye-catching shirts and exudes a warm radio DJ charm without the clutter of ads and traffic updates. Live content varies widely—pool games from cosy living rooms, truckers showcasing long hauls, and even a mortgage advisor called Ryan deftly fielding real-time questions. This morning, builders silently filmed their artistry, from plastering ceilings to repointing walls. Their work, methodical and mesmerising, was a live tutorial on craftsmanship.

The Viral Vortex

Yet, for every engaging stream, there are countless forgettable TikTok videos. One rare exception was a man precisely edging a lawn into a curved bed—a simple, satisfying watch. Most content, however, dips into the forgettable—echoing the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “hardcore soft porn.” It’s a stark reminder that not all content is created equal, and much of it panders to the lowest common denominator.

Economic Realities

From these observations, the parallels to YouTube are unavoidable. Videos promising lucrative returns from passive income ventures like Etsy mugs and t-shirts flood viewers yet seldom disclose the full economic picture. Duncan Bannatyne’s words on Dragon’s Den resonate here: “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity.” Many creators don’t reveal the hidden costs and slim profit margins, possibly because real success wouldn’t necessitate endless tutorial videos.

A Reality Check

My foray into content creation yielded a video with 9,763 views and 1,763 likes—a minor viral success by some standards but not a triumph. Delving into analytics revealed a sobering average watch time of 2.2 seconds, with just 33 viewers watching it through to the end. These metrics will prompt a shift in strategy towards 10-second videos, aiming for five seconds of viewer retention as a starter.

The Time Suck Dilemma

This experiment has led to a poignant realisation about the nature of TikTok and similar platforms: they are colossal time sinks. Watching others live out their hobbies or travels is no substitute for personal experience. Historically, the issue isn’t unique to digital media—television and novels have long been critiqued for their passive consumption models.

Content Creation: A Reflective Pause

The relentless demand for content on platforms like TikTok encourages a cycle of perpetual posting—often at the cost of quality. Advised to post thrice daily, I’m compelled to evaluate whether this pace is sustainable or desirable. I prefer creating and engaging meaningfully rather than filling digital space with ephemeral content.

Future Directions

Moving forward, I’m inspired to harness my expertise constructively. Like the mortgage advisor offering real value through advice, I aim to produce content that genuinely aids and inspires. Since starting my practice in 2006, I’ve transitioned from public projects to personal home designs, finding profound satisfaction in impactful, intimate projects. Now, I seek to replicate that impact digitally—through concise, meaningful videos that transcend the superficial allure of virality.

Join Me

If the digital spectacle of TikTok has left you cold, consider a more tactile engagement: join me for a glass of wine at our next event in Southsea. It’s an opportunity to connect offline. Sign up below for an evening of real conversation—far from the ephemeral streams of TikTok.

This week’s web links are carefully curated to pique your interest and have nothing to do with the above: A Greek island, learn how not to kill indoor plants and a link to a free glass of wine.

I’m always eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the topics discussed. You will always find me at carl@carlarchitect.co.uk

All the best

Carl's signature

This Week’s Links:

You can sign up for our property event in Southsea here.

Winners of the 2024 World Nature Photography Awards.

Think you’ve killed your indoor plants? Here’s your guide to becoming plant parent of the year.

The 12 ultimate hero foods: how to improve your meals in seconds – without really trying.

The 12 best design museums in the world.

An off-grid guide to Greece’s bucket list island.

The collapse of a different bridge.

Main image credit: The clock struck one, and the mouse ran down… (DALL-E)

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