Do You Know DC? A #historytok

Digital Proposal by Grace Conroy

There’s no question that TikTok has become one of the leading social media sites. Over the past few years, many people have become obsessed with the app. 

So, what is TikTok? 

TikTok is an app that lets creators produce short videos from fifteen seconds to three minutes. The content of these videos is entirely up to the creators. In 2020, dancing was the most popular type of content. However, over time, TikTok began to cover a broader scope of videos, including videos dedicated to comedy, heartwarming content, celebrity gossip, workout routines, traveling,  etc. One of the neat things about TikTok is that after utilizing the app for a few days, it will reconfigure your “For Your Page” or “FYP.” This reconfiguration shows app users similar videos they have interacted with the most. For example, if someone were to go down a rabbit hole watching videos of celebrity gossip, they would be more likely to see content regarding gossip appear on their FYP. 

Here are some examples of what covers of TikTok videos look like.

I will use TikTok to create historical videos about DC for my digital project. I’m hoping to title my account “doyouknowDC,” but it may be unavailable. For each video, I will choose a different part of DC to focus on. Ideally, I would like to focus on more unknown aspects of DC history. 

A few ideas I have so far include the following:

  • Finding the oldest restaurant, researching its history, and reviewing its food
  • Revealing an unknown fact about one of the Smithsonian museums 
  • Investigating to see where Presidents and their wives have gone on dates (if this is applicable, it may be hard to find) 
Ben’s Chili Bowl, located on U St. in DC, served as a meeting place for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I want to focus on topics that help people learn more about the city they are in, while also inviting them to partake in the city’s history, e.g., for them to want to go to the oldest restaurant or Smithsonian because of seeing my video. 

History TikToks already exist and see active engagement from the digital community. For my digital project, I am interested in evaluating the traffic my TikTok account will get. Based on the traffic, I will be able to tell what videos people find the most interesting regarding DC history and learn more about how to make history enticing to digital audiences. I plan to construct five three-minute videos for this project. To try and promote my account, I will follow other history accounts, make creative content professionally and aesthetically, utilize hashtags, and interact with other accounts by liking and commenting on their posts. 

I’m excited to dive into the creative process of producing TikTok videos and see what audiences find appealing. Follow me at @doyouknowdc TikTok! (I will make an edit to this post later if the name changes due to unavailability).

2 Replies to “Do You Know DC? A #historytok”

  1. Hi Grace,

    This is a great idea for a project! I particularly like the example ideas, like finding and going to the oldest restaurant in DC, examples for your videos. As a starting off point, you might want to check out some of the videos that Shae Corey made for this class back in 2021. You can watch some of them here I think she finished the AU program in 2022, but is still working in the DC metro area, so she might also be up for meeting up to talk about some of what she got out of working on TikToks like this, and other cool social media projects she has been involved with.

    In terms of scope, you didn’t mention how many videos you were hoping to make and how long they would each be. There is a good bit of latitude in terms of how you approach this and a lot of that will depend on how much research it takes to make each video. In any event, if you do run with this as a project, I think you would want to make something like 3-6 videos. Given the medium of TikTok, it probably makes sense to try to get the scripts for these down to be really short, like 30-50 seconds each or something like that. In any event, exciting project and I’m looking forward to seeing what you develop with this.

  2. Hey Grace!

    I love this idea and I think it is very feasible. I think this type of content is quite popular on TikTok so you have a good chance of getting decent interactions with your posts. I think that the aspect of looking at historic D.C. restaurants could prove particularly engaging for the type of people who use TikTok because, frankly, food videos are popular and plenty of people utilize TikTok to not only find new recipes but also to find fun places to eat in different cities across the world. I even think that doing the whole series on historic eateries in D.C. would work really well for your goal of not only getting people to learn more about D.C. but also getting people to partake in more of what the city has to offer.

    I’m so excited to see how your project turns out! I have full confidence in your ability to create truly immaculate TikToks.

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