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What is a TikTok POV and Why is Everyone Doing It?

POV: you’re about to learn what a POV video is…

Credit: trenbolognaaa / TikTok, julietteweg / TikTok, stupidgayslut / TikTok

We can thank TikTok for bringing many viral challenges and memes to the internet. Whether it’s food hacks, dances, comedy skits, or songs, TikTok is one of the primary sources of viral trends. Since it’s the 6th largest social media app, TikTok is home to many niche communities which make their own unique content. Sometimes, this niche content takes off and becomes viral. One such community on TikTok created one of the biggest ‘genres’ of TikTok content: POV videos.

So, what exactly is a TikTok POV video? For starters, POV stands for point-of-view. TikTok POV video creators aim to convey a situation that unfolds in real-time from the viewer’s point of view. The video will be captioned with an explanation of what scenario the viewer is watching unfold. For example, ‘POV: you’re talking to the girl who got her personality from TikTok’.

@kaylinwiley

pov: you’re talking to the girl that got her personality from tik tok #pov #alt #kaylinpov

♬ original sound – kaylin wiley
Credit:kaylinwiley / TikTok

Whilst all POV videos share the general concept of being filmed as if they are from the viewer’s perspective in a scenario, the similarities end there. Within the POV hashtag, there is a massive amount of creative variation in what POVs are about and how they are created. Whilst some use original audio, others use trending sounds on TikTok or popular music. There are relatable POVs that cover situations probably everyone has been in. Then there are ‘meme’ or comedy POVs, which are usually made to be ironic or mock the more serious POVs.

Credit: abbeylouuu / TikTok
@anniegurl15

POV: your mafia boyfriend steals you mafia pasta SlurpeeSummer #pastaqueen

♬ original sound – Read Choi
Credit: anniegurl15 / TikTok

 By far the biggest category of POV videos is romance. TikTokers’ will create POVs where the viewer might be flirting with a person, going on a date, breaking up, or being whisked away by a hot mafia boss (which is a whole other niche on the app). Romance then extends into fandom POV videos, which break the general POV video mold, as they make use of clips from fancams, tv series, anime, and films to create the desired scenario.

Credit: anastasiaautore / TikTok
Credit: goverboe / TikTok

However, TikTok POVs aren’t all so light-hearted. Plenty of POVs have been created which convey what it is like to struggle with certain mental and physical conditions. Showing their experiences through a POV can create a greater understanding for others of what it is like to live with these very serious and life-altering conditions.

@belextrax

TW! pov: What it is like living with binge eating. #acting #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #mentalhealth

♬ original sound – Beatriz 🌺
Credit: belextrax / TikTok
Credit: amyepohl / TikTok

Why TikTok POVs are some of the most unique internet content out there

POVs are incredibly distinctive forms of online video content that were only made possible by how TikTok works. Unlike YouTube, where video content is long-form and therefore viewers can lose interest due to the length of the video, TikTok videos are around 15 to 60 seconds long to. A large part of why POVs are successful is that they grab the viewer’s attention by pulling them and getting straight to the point of the video’s plotline. Viewers are fully engaged for the whole video and can watch more content than if they were on YouTube. On top of this, making a TikTok POV doesn’t require the editing software, a professional camera set up, or hours of filming that a successful YouTube video needs, making it far easier for more people to create them and tailor them to their own interests. This also means a user can make more content in a shorter amount of time, making it easier for them to get more viewers and grow a following.

Another reason why TikTok POVs are so popular is because of the greater level of engagement users can have with each other. TikTok encourages recycling sound bites which are used in thousands of videos and allow for users to interact more directly with one another through reusing these sound bites or duetting other videos.  Whilst a YouTube video won’t make users a part of the video, POVs cast the viewer as the main character, which makes them more engaging for the viewer as they are an active part of the story being conveyed through the POV.

POVs appeal to shared human experiences of falling in love, embarrassing situations, going through mental health struggles, and being a fan of something. Since there is a POV that would appeal to almost everyone, it’s easy to see why they have become such an integral part of internet culture.

Written By

English student at Queen's University Belfast

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