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Column: Find The Times on TikTok and maybe we'll brush off our dance moves
Shannon Casas high res
Shannon Casas

The Times is on TikTok.

I was a bit skeptical about it, definitely more skeptical than when I pushed us to get on Facebook back in the day. 

We jumped on the Instagram bandwagon, too. We hopped on board with Pinterest for a while. We’re technically still on Snapchat, but I could never really figure out what a local newspaper could do there. We’re on Twitter, too.

So many social media platforms to follow, but TikTok is the current darling.

I don’t walk around with Airpods in my ears, and I have not taken a natural liking to this short video platform like the kids — and some others — have. And rest assured, my elementary age boys are not on TikTok.

But the newspaper is, and we might even start having fun with it. Some of the newsroom folks will have to be convinced, though. That was the case back in the early days of Facebook, too. I was the young employee then, pushing the older editors to embrace the new frontier. Now, I’m still a bit hesitant about this and have spent less than one hour total on the platform. Can I even make a TikTok? Will I have to ask the teen living at our house how to do it? Maybe the younger newsroom employees can help me out.

In any case, I’ve got some TikTok ideas. You can look for them on TikTok — or just read them here.

A day in the life — I think this has been a trend going around. I think. I mean, I’m not really sure, but I saw at least one influencer doing this.

A day in the life of a reporter. 

Get woken up by your cat. Get coffee. Eat something.

Check emails. So many emails. Make sure you’ve got some plans for the day before you hop on a video call for the morning meeting.

Start making calls for your story. Boss asks you to work on a breaking story. Write story. Come back to first story. Go to interview for a weekend story. Come back to first story. Boss asks where’s that story. Keep writing that first story.

Answer phone call from someone you called earlier. Rewrite what you’ve written so far.

Turn in story. Open a can of something — it might be a beer. Editor calls. He has questions. Call a source again, rewrite some more. 

That’s how I think it probably goes, anyway. I was never actually a full-time reporter, though I managed more of them than I can count during my career. 

In any case, it’s a lot easier to type that day in the life than create it in TikTok. I’m a writer. This new platform may push me out of my comfort zone. 

I have to say, though, some of these TikToks are fun to watch. The Washington Post does a fantastic job of breaking news topics in an entertaining and informative way.

So, next TikTok idea — why are Gainesville apartments so expensive?

Cut to young professional lifting her sunglasses off her eyes in sticker shock. 

Insert reporter who explains building costs and land costs and supply and demand plus investment buyers and other cash buyers.

Actually, this might be a great exercise for reporters in speedily explaining something to their audience that they might otherwise try to write 1,000 words about.

TikTok idea, No. 3. Dance. It’s TikTok. You gotta dance.

I tried that one out Thursday afternoon. The newsroom gave me death stares before I even had the chance to encourage a little happy dance. We’ll work on it.

To find out what did end up as our first TikTok post, you’ll have to go find us on TikTok @gtimesnews — you’re allowed to ask the nearest young person to look it up, just make sure they follow us, too.

Don’t forget to comment, like and subscribe. Wait, that’s YouTube.

We’ll figure this out eventually — just in time for the social media winds to change.

Shannon Casas is director of audience for Metro Market Media, parent company of The Times. She is a North Hall resident.