Hey Trish, I want to create a TikTok but I’m a terrible dancer and worried that people will just laugh at my posts. Should I create one?
Hi there, and thank you so much for this fantastic question. First and foremost, let me begin by validating how you’re feeling – as someone who isn’t particularly coordinated or graceful either, I completely understand how you feel. You don’t want your friends thinking: Man, she really can’t dance, can she? More broadly speaking, because social media puts a spotlight on us – and in many cases, in front of all of our family and friends – it can be a little anxiety-inducing.
With that said, worries that your purported “imperfection” – or inability to meet some theoretical standard of the “perfect” TikTok-er – should not be the reason you don’t get a TikTok (or any other social media platform). To be clear: if you don’t want to be on TikTok because you don’t want to (or if you only want to be on TikTok because you feel the pressure to join!), don’t join. In past posts, I’ve explored the pressure to post on social media, and it’s very similar to the pressure to join social media – be honest with yourself about your interest in joining, and if it’s not genuine, don’t let yourself be pressured into it. On the other hand, if you really do want to do your favorite TikTok trends with your friends – but are scared about how other people might see you – you should know that that should not keep you from getting started on social media. And in the post, I’m going to briefly explore a few reasons why.
First – while it may seem like your social media is for the folks following you (after all, you’re posting content in the hopes they’ll like and comment on it!), social media should, first and foremost, be for you. Achieving a relationship with social media that is on your terms and personally gratifying is a matter of mindset, setting healthy boundaries, and remembering what really matters (you, not your follower count!). So if you find yourself worrying that your lacking dance skills (and other people’s judgment!) might mean you shouldn’t get on TikTok, remember that you should be using social media to express who you are for yourself. If you feel like you haven’t yet achieved that perspective, consider reading these past Ask Trish posts on stressing about social media and the “siren song” of likes and honestly reflecting on why you’re using social media and what you hope to get out of it.
Second, believe it or not, being authentic – and exactly who you are – is actually rewarded on social media and what social media should be about! For Safer Internet Day 2022, I chatted with TikTok’s Director of Creator Community, Kudzi Chikumbu, about his advice for TikTok creators – and guess what his #1 recommendation for TikTokers was? To be authentic. In his experience, what makes creators successful is bringing their personality traits, quirks, unique experiences, and distinct perspectives to the app. For some folks, that means amazing dance moves and beautifully curated, artsy videos; for others folks, that means hilarious videos with subpar dance moves and funny commentary. Put more simply – you don’t need the perfect lighting or shot to create amazing content on TikTok or on any social media platform. You just need to be yourself – and ideally, to celebrate that via your content.
So if not fear of being imperfect, what should you keep in mind when you get started on social media? Well, there are tons and tons of Ask Trish articles with detailed advice on a range of topics, but I’ll offer one big, overarching piece of advice here: be smart online. Think carefully about the information you’re sharing about yourself in your videos. Be wary and skeptical of folks who contact you. Importantly, think and rethink before you type – and be conscious of the way that the things you say may be interpreted by others. And if social media ever gets stressful or starts to affect your mental health, don’t ignore it; you deserve to feel comfortable and appreciated in your own skin. If you bring some Internet smarts to your social media use, you can hopefully avoid a lot of the bad and experience as much of the good as you can.
I hope you found this post has helped clear up/clarify any misconceptions you have about getting started on social media. Remember, if you don’t want to be on social media, that’s totally cool! On the other hand, if you do want to be on social media – and what’s holding you back is concern that “you’re not good enough,” – the truth is you just have to be yourself. Don’t forget this week’s slogan: do it for yourself, be who you are, and (very importantly!) be smart.
Whether you now have other social media-related questions (bring them on!) and want to keep the conversation going or there’s a completely different issue on your mind, don’t hesitate to share any Internet-related questions, thoughts, or perspectives here. Your question just might be featured in an upcoming TikTok/blog post! Don’t forget – not only will you get some helpful advice, you’ll also help our Ask Trish community: other readers, just like you, are wondering about the same issues. By sharing a question, you might just inspire them to ask a question too! So take 1 minute, and fill out the form. I’m so looking forward to hearing from you!
Have a great rest of your week,