There's something I've been thinking about lately. I've started using Tiktok recently and although I've spent hours swiping away and taking in content, I've only recently started using it more actively myself. It occurs to me that whenever a social media channel has matured a bit (and don't be fooled because TikTok is plenty mature, it's been around for years and it's users quickly become power users) we expect newcomers to the platform to know the rules and to fit in. To know what works for them. To know their voice.
As businesses, we are expected to define and know how we wish to present ourselves to the world. Because this is what your brand is all about. By having a clear brand, both visually as 'vocally', people can understand who you are and when they do, they will be able to tell much more easily if they connect with you or not. This is clear advice for any new business and the advice that I've given myself, as a designer, many times. You should know your voice.
But just because you jot down a few words, define a few parameters, or decide a few things, doesn't mean that you've found your voice. Just because there are expectations in the air, doesn't mean that you know what suits you. There are people who are naturals at doing this, absolutely, but for most of us, we learn by doing and we learn by copying the most. We start this when we're helpless little babies and I think that maybe, we keep up this learning strategy throughout our lives. We copy the humans around us and only when we've tried that, do we know what is and isn't us. We mimic their sounds until we understand what they mean. We copy their concepts until we form our own. We reflect their style until we can find that what feels like 'us'. We do this all our lives. Is it so strange then, to do the same later on in life?
I'm having a good time trying out new things on Tiktok. I am terrible at the medium of film and I find it interesting to have so many styles to choose from within such a limited span. This makes it feel like it's okay to try some things and to fail at them. To try this and to try that and to see what works. What connects with me and what may be connects with others.
As designers, but even as people, we're often told that copying is something of a sin. That lack of originality is shameful. But so long as you always filter it through yourself it is never a duplicate. Your thoughts, experience and vision will always make it unique. And I think there's nothing wrong with that.