Home Arts “TikTok, TikTok… It’s time for the art world to stop being so tense and join the world’s most entertaining app”

“TikTok, TikTok… It’s time for the art world to stop being so tense and join the world’s most entertaining app”

by godlove4241
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Every year I analyze number of followers on museum social networks and every year I wait for the banks to break and a TikTok flood to unleash. It still hasn’t happened. Looking at the total number of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok followers for the top 100 most visited museums in our annual visitor survey, only 21 use TikTok, and only six of them have over 100,000 followers. This makes me start wondering: doesn’t the art world love TikTok?

The reasons to join the Chinese-owned social media app – which allows users to create, discover and share short videos – are many. It has 1.5 billion monthly active users, making it the sixth most popular social media platform in the world. About 60% of these users are between the ages of 16 and 24, a key demographic to reach to ensure the future of the industry. TikTok’s secret algorithm is “surprisingly good at predicting which videos on the site will pique your interest”, according to a Guardian rapport, which means the people your content reaches are often exactly the right audience. The app’s format of seamlessly swiping through an endless stream of content also makes it addictive—Forbes described it as “digital crack cocaine”, which increases the chances of your video going viral.

There are some in the art world who have managed to get the most out of the app. For example, London’s Saatchi Yates Gallery last month opened an exhibition of TikTok-famous American artist Michael Todd Horne, better known by his pseudonym. @Bijijoo. He has over 110,000 subscribers and 1.8 million likes. There are even solo “art historians” who have gone viral, such as Mary McGillivray (@_theiconoclass430,000 followers, 11.3 million likes) and Evan Pridmore (@evan.hart, 311,000 followers, 8.3 million likes), with playful and educational excerpts on visual culture. And there are some big museums that have adopted TikTok. Madrid Prado National Museum has 440,000 followers (3.9 million likes), the national gallery in London has 240,000 followers (1.4 million likes), the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence has 148,000 followers (1.7 million likes), and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has 132,000 followers (710,000 likes).

But why aren’t more artists and institutions using TikTok? “It’s a tricky platform,” Javier Sainz de los Terreros, Prado’s digital communications manager, told the online platform. Bloop, adding that it is “not easy to manage”. One of the hardest things, from an art world perspective, is its lo-fi quality, intended to be more informal and, dare I say, silly. Museums and art professionals are accustomed to careful productions and, above all, taken very seriously. It can be difficult for organizations to “let go” and have fun on TikTok. If I’m being honest, that’s one of the main reasons why The arts journal also does not have a TikTok account. “The tone demanded by TikTok may appeal to a more traditional audience,” said Adam Koszary, chief digital officer at agency Audience. The Arts Journal. But “as the economy bites, we’ll see a greater effort to connect with new audiences through memes, humor and presenter-led videos.” Maybe it’s time we all lighten up?

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