Social media giants have a culture of cloning each other’s products. To date, TikTok’s features have been cloned by YouTube to create YouTube Shorts and Instagram to birth Reels. Even Netflix announced its plans to trial short-form content on its app called Fast Laughs. A recent announcement, however, reveals that the tables have finally turned. TikTok is all set to roll out a coveted feature—rivalling Snapchat and Instagram in the process.
Confirming its plans to The Verge, TikTok is now exploring additional ways for its community to bring their creative ideas to life with a feature called TikTok Stories. The company explained how Stories will be another option in addition to its existing storytelling tools like videos, Duets, Stitch and LIVE. But it’s not meant to replace them.
Social media consultant and industry commentator Matt Navarra was the first to learn about the feature. According to the screenshots gathered, TikTok Stories appear to work similarly to the functions on Snapchat and Instagram. The feature is housed in a newly-added sidebar on the left which can be slid into the screen to access. Here users will be able to view Stories posted by accounts that they follow for 24 hours before they’re automatically deleted.
Users also have the choice to react and comment on other Stories. And just like Instagram, they’ll be able to tap on a user’s profile picture to load their Story.
TikTok describes this feature as “a new way to interact with your fans.” Users can make a new Story by tapping the ‘create’ button that’s been added to the sidebar. They can then add effects, captions, music and text. Contrasting to the ‘video-first’ concept TikTok has going on, however, users can upload both videos and still images in the feature. Stories therefore provide immense potential for TikTok to tap into image galleries rather than just relying on videos.
One factor that differentiates TikTok Stories from other platforms is that it allows users to comment publicly on a creator’s content. These comments are public, the app explained to TechCrunch, as mutual friends can see each other’s comments. Another tab lets you keep track of the number of views and informs you whether or not you’re following those users. A button will also let you follow people back in one click.
“We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” a TikTok spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Verge. “Currently we’re experimenting with ways to give creators additional formats to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”
Although TikTok didn’t say how long the pilot test would run for, or whether it would result in a public launch, TechCrunch noted how the test has been up for several days. It is currently available to selective non-US users, with the goal of gaining insight and feedback.
TikTok’s announcement comes right after Twitter shut down its Stories features known as Fleets. Many Twitter users also noted how TikTok stories resemble “a vertical version of Twitter’s Fleets bar, even down to the blue rings around creators’ profile photos.”
The fact that TikTok would experiment with Stories, however, isn’t surprising. The ultra-popular disappearing content feature has been a commonplace for social media giants including YouTube, Linkedin, Pinterest and Netflix. Did I mention the Xbox app? Although cloned features aren’t always successful—cue the sad demise of Twitter Fleets—TikTok Stories might just prompt inactive users to generate their own content and engage with others. But just like all features, only time will tell.
In May 2020, TikTok revealed it was working on new job listing and video resume features for its app. Although it sounded pretty big at the time—the chance of spending even more time on the app, for justifiable reasons? I’m down—as of now, the video-sharing platform only started a minor test of its promise creating the hashtag #TikTokResumes and TikTokresumes.com. So, now that we have more information on how it all works and what current applicants are coming up with, let’s have a closer look at it and try to see whether it truly holds potential for the next generation of workers, shall we?
Job applicants submit videos with the hashtag #TikTokResumes and through the website of the same name to ‘show off’ their skills. Think of it as the gen Z way of listing your technical and personal skills on your one-page CV. Applicants can include their contact information and, if they want, even their LinkedIn profile. Employers can then review the videos, which must be set to public, and schedule interviews with the applicants they find the most interesting.
The resumes are an effort to help young people “get the bag” and get paid, Kayla Dixon, a marketing manager at TikTok who developed the programme, said in a statement. If I’m being honest, it’s a pretty exciting idea considering how outdated the modern job search is. And apparently, I’m not the only one seeing strong potential here.
“Employers, many facing labor shortages, are interested. Chipotle, Target, Alo Yoga, Sweetgreen and more than three dozen other companies have started hiring people via the app,” writes The New York Times in a recent article on the new features. Here’s a full list of the companies using the app to hire right now.
That being said, the concept remains in its beta version for now, meaning that a lot of the jobs that are currently being listed are for entry and mid-level positions, not high-level executive gigs. If you’re already established in your career, posting your resume on TikTok may not be all that helpful.
Simultaneously, TikTok has seen an outgrowth of a part of the app called CareerTok, where users share job-hunting advice, CV tips and various job opportunities. Videos with the hashtag #edutokcareer have amassed over 3.8 billion views.
As frustrating as CareerTok can be—tell me one more time how to be a real entrepreneur one more time, I dare you—it looks like TikTok’s new video resumes might have caused more of a problem than the former. Indeed, the format strips away a level of anonymity, allowing employers to potentially dismiss candidates based on their looks or other attributes. Much of the networking on TikTok also depends on amassing views, which can be hard for those who aren’t adept at creating content or who have struggled to get equal distribution in the app’s feed.
LinkedIn being too obvious to even mention, TikTok is not the first social platform that companies have sought to leverage for recruiting. In 2015, Taco Bell advertised internship opportunities on Snapchat, and in 2017, McDonald’s let people apply for jobs through a Snapchat tool known as ‘Snaplications’. That same year, Facebook began allowing companies to post job openings to their pages and to communicate with applicants through Facebook Messenger.
Anyone that spends at least a few hours a week on the app knows that TikTok is bursting with young, talented people and that this talent is ripe for the corporate picking. The real question is, have TikTok resumes actually helped people get jobs so far? Mic asked “a career expert how we can use an app best known for (sometimes culturally appropriated) dance choreography and skincare hacks to expand our professional horizons.” Here’s what advice it received.
“A lot of people struggle with the limitations of a 1-2-page résumé,” said Chelsey Opare-Addo, a recruiter and resume writer in Chicago. “Candidates have a hard time showing their personality and professional brand, and end up sounding like everyone else.” In that sense, TikTok resumes might be more of a helpful tool for people who feel like their skills and uniqueness simply can’t be captured on paper—creatives, perhaps.
Following the same line of thought, TikTok’s job features probably aren’t the most effective way to apply for technical roles. “Personality tends to be less relevant in highly specialized roles, like engineering,” Opare-Addo explained.
As much as TikTok resumes feel like a breath of fresh air in a job seeking industry that lacks, well, just that, it’s also clear it is still missing some key elements for it to become gen Z’s go-to platform for finding a job. First on the list? No discrimination, please.