American swimmer Anastasia Pagonis is already a Paralympic gold medalist and a world-record holder at age 17, while out of the pool she is on a mission to educate her more than 2 million social media followers about blindness.
Pagonis, who won the first gold medal for the United States at the Tokyo Paralympics, posts humorous and educational videos on TikTok that use her lived experience to communicate to people around her age that disability is unremarkable and just a fact of normal life.
U.S. swimmer Anastasia Pagonis poses with her gold medal for the women’s S11 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Paralympics on Aug. 26, 2021, at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
“I started educating people because I felt like there’s a big stereotype on blindness, where they put you in this box and you have to stay in this box,” said Pagonis, who lost her vision in 2018 due to a rare disease.
“Like, (they say) you can’t dress nice, you can’t do your makeup, you can’t be an elite athlete. I’m kind of showing people, ‘yes you can, here I am. I can do it, so can you’ and educating people in a funny, goofy way so it gets their attention.”
Posting videos on TikTok every couple of days, she shares her daily life, always with a positive outlook. Her videos range from explaining how she sends text messages on her smartphone, how she selects her outfits, to how she avoids headbutting the wall at the end of the pool each lap.
On swimming, specifically, she details how she touches the lane rope in the pool with her fingertips on every stroke so she knows she is swimming straight. Then, a person called a tapper, who is positioned at the end of the pool, touches her with a pole when she approaches the wall.
Anastasia Pagonis of the United States competes en route to winning the S11 final of the women’s 400-meter freestyle in a world record time at the Tokyo Paralympics on Aug. 26, 2021, at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
In a video titled “How I do makeup blind,” she jokes about not needing a mirror and shows how she finds different products by the texture of the case, even by putting rubber bands around some of them as identifiers.
“Not a lot of young people know about disabilities,” she said. “These are normal people. These are people you’re going to have to interact with in life. And showing them how to interact, and you can actually be normal with these people,” she said.
At the Tokyo Paralympics, which opened on Aug. 24, she is one of some 4,400 athletes with disabilities. She put her name in lights by winning the women’s 400-meter freestyle S11 event on Aug. 26, finishing over 10 seconds ahead of Dutch swimmer Liesette Bruinsma.
The teenager clocked 4 minutes, 54.49 seconds at Tokyo Aquatics Centre, slicing more than a second from her own world record she set in June.
Anastasia Pagonis of the United States is pictured after winning the S11 final of the women’s 400-meter freestyle in a world record time at the Tokyo Paralympics on Aug. 26, 2021, at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
“I was able to swim against the best athletes in the world, so it was pretty awesome,” she said before celebrating by getting ice cream at the athletes’ village. She later posted a video of herself dancing with the medal around her neck on TikTok, her performance accompanied by the words, “My back is hurting from carrying my gold medal.”
Her accomplishment in the Japanese capital was the culmination of a journey into swimming she started after she gradually began losing her vision.
Having played soccer since a very young age in New York, Pagonis said she had wanted to be a “varsity soccer girl” when she was in junior high school, but her performance on the field started to make people around her concerned.
After visiting a hospital and undergoing test after test, Pagonis was diagnosed with a disease called autoimmune retinopathy, which means her immune system was attacking her retina, she said. Her doctor recommended she try swimming instead of soccer to prevent injuries.
“I lost all of my usable vision, pretty fast. Within probably two months I lost it, I had to learn how to do my world all over again and find the new me,” she said.
She also suffered depression for months and stopped swimming. Even a five-minute walk near her home felt to her like it was “the end of the world.” But her parents pushed her to take baby steps, making tiny, achievable goals for her like drinking one smoothie a day.
And now, swimming is Pagonis’ “happy place.”
“It’s the place where I feel free. I always have to rely on a sighted guide, my guide dog,” she said. “Although I love my guide dog and I love the people that help me, the pool, it’s just me and the pool, and I love it.”
After topping the podium in Tokyo, Pagonis hopes her achievement sends a message to people with disabilities.
“You can do anything you put your mind to,” she said.
“Don’t let people stereotype you or put you in a box because you can do anything. You might need help with some things, but you can do anything.”
Shorter Videos Are In Demand. Here’s How Different Social Media Platforms Are Reacting.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
With TikTok and Instagram Reels slowly conquering social media marketing, there’s no mistake: Short videos are in demand.
The average length for most, if not all, business videos is only six minutes long. And that number is set to decrease as consumers look for shorter videos.
With that in mind, why are short videos in demand? What platforms are implementing short-form videos the best? And most importantly, how can they benefit your business?
TikTok – Changing consumerism, one video at a time
Where shorter videos are concerned, TikTok has always led the industry. What started as a merger with Musical.ly quickly became one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. And what made it so famous? The same concept that made Vine viral short videos.
TikTok has over 1 billion active users, twice as many as Snapchat and Pinterest. For reference, Twitter only has 397 million users. With such a massive user-base, the only thing keeping the platform alive are the 15-second-long videos.
But why are short videos so popular? Simple – people don’t have time on their hands. When they open apps like TikTok and Instagram, they’re more likely to spend time watching shorter videos. And businesses are already catching up.
The impact of Instagram Reels
With the invention of Stories by Snapchat, other platforms like Instagram caught up on short videos. Instagram Reels presents adults and young users with a more straightforward way to tell others about their day. It employs quick photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours instead of being permanently posted. Now engagement is encouraged, especially after Instagram included the “Swipe” option. This has allowed e-commerce sites to both advertise their products and make instant messaging easier.
Youtube has joined the bandwagon
While YouTube is more or less a platform for long-form videos, its recent update offers shorter vertical videos. Known as YouTube Shorts, the feature allows creators to engage with their audience in under 60 seconds.
But YouTube has another trick up its sleeve, and this one is mainly towards advertisers. It is “YouTube TrueView” and is the primary advertising technology for YouTube. Through this, advertisers can promote long or short videos, with some being skippable after five seconds.
However, since most people are unlikely to click on longer ads, YouTube now offers 6-second non-skippable ads. The clickthrough rate for shorter 15 and 30-second ads is around 70%, a whopping number for any business.
It’s time to say goodbye to IGTV
With Instagram’s IGTV coming off as less captivating than its Reels and video posts, it has decided to remove IGTV. Instead, it has a separate section for videos. These videos will appear on a person’s profile and can be viewed from the Instagram app.
The change they made here is that videos posted to the Instagram feed can be up to 60 minutes long. The exact reason for doing this is not confirmed. But it seems like Instagram wants a seamless platform where short and long videos co-exist.
This makes long videos more accessible to users using the Instagram app. And it helps promote video tutorials that people typically do not consume on social media apps.
Another significant change is that Instagram videos that are longer can be monetized, a feature not available on Reels. This significantly shifts the focus towards creators who don’t sell a service and want to gain cash through Instagram.
Does this mean long-form videos are out of the picture?
With short-form videos becoming more popular among consumers, will long-form videos die out? While it’s highly recommended for any business to create videos as short as possible, the answer isn’t that black and white.
While short-form videos will drive traffic from new users, long-form videos are better for brand loyalty. Shorter videos will get more engagement and show up on new users’ feeds. But longer videos will be the backbone of your business.
Of course, that depends on what service you’re offering. Ecommerce companies will want to direct their attention towards short-form videos and ads. However, long-form videos are better suited for when you want to go in-depth about product details. That is, of course, only after you’ve grabbed the user’s attention with a short-form video.
Companies that offer webinars will benefit from longer videos. And so will companies that post interviews. However, promos and how-to videos should remain under a minute or two, depending on how long the tutorial needs to be.
Essentially, ask yourself two questions:
- First, can the video content be summarized in a short-form video?
- Do you want to merely catch the attention of the consumer or develop brand loyalty?
The correct formula is neither short nor long, but a mix of both.
What this all means for an entrepreneur
Short-form videos hold substantial market value, especially for new businesses. Take the example of the Dollar Shave Club. What started as a viral video on YouTube grew to become a behemoth of a brand.
And that’s not where the examples end. There are countless success stories like this one that prove the value of short videos.
Short videos have a higher clickthrough rate, and for entrepreneurs, that’s all you need. Short videos are of particular interest to people with ecommerce businesses. For example, 84% of people say they are more compelled to buy a product by watching a video. And the statistics keep on showing a friendlier short-video market.
There is no doubt that short-form videos are gradually creeping up the graph. And while long-form videos are great for information and brand loyalty, shorter videos are better for PR.
This begs one last question: Are videos beneficial for you? The answer is – yes!
How to Make a TikTok Video: Beginners Start Here
And with 1 billion monthly active users, it’s time to join the action and get your brand out there to a wider audience!
Want to learn how to make a TikTok Video but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We broke down all the steps and tools you’ll need to make a viral-worthy first video and make sure your debut is anything but cringe.
Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.
How to create a TikTok account
First things first, you’ll need to create a TikTok account.
There are different ways to sign up for one: you can use your phone number, email address or social media account. Here’s how to do it using your phone number.
1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.
2. Open the TikTok App on your iPhone or Android.
3. Click the “Me” or “Profile” icon at the bottom-right of your screen.
4. Choose a method to sign up (we’re choosing “use phone or email”)
5. Enter your birth date and phone number (make sure this is accurate because it’s how you’ll retrieve passwords and confirm your account).
6. Enter the 6-digit code sent to that phone number (see, told ya!)
7. You did it! Celebrate by scrolling TikTok for too many hours.
How to make a TikTok video
Here’s how to get started on your very first TikTok video. Luckily for you, it’s way easier than learning this TikTok Shuffle dance.
1. Hit the + sign at the bottom of your screen.
2. You can upload photos and videos from your phone’s library or make a video directly using the TikTok camera.
3. If recording directly, hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen. Hit it again when you’re done recording. The default video mode is “Quick” which is for 15 second videos but you can switch it to “Camera” for more editing options and longer videos (15s, 60s and 3 mins), or “Templates” to create a specific style of video.
4. Tap the check mark when you’re done shooting all your footage.
5. Make any edits or changes on the post page. All your edits are on the right sidebar of the screen. Also, add music or sounds by hitting “Add sound” at the top of the screen.
6. Post that video and share it everywhere! Make sure to include a description with some hashtags so it finds its way to your audience.
How to make a TikTok with multiple videos
Instead of taking one long video, why not capture shorter videos and edit them together to make your TikTok video? Here’s how to do that (and you don’t need a film degree).
1. Hit that “+” sign to start your video
2. You can either shoot multiple videos directly by hitting that record button after each clip, building up your video with different shots. Or, you can hit the “Upload” button next to the record button and add multiple videos and photos you have stored on your phone.
3. Select all your media and tap Next.
4. You can now sync sound across your videos and make adjustments (or try “Auto sync” which will do the syncing up for you.)
5. Hit Next when done. You’ll be brought to a preview screen where you can further add sounds, more effects, text, and stickers.
6. Tap Next when you’re done editing your video and proceed to the Post screen.
7. Remember to throw in a description and some hashtags and bingo-bango-bongo you’re the Steven Spielberg of TikTok!
5 things to know before creating your first TikTok
TikTok style is less polished than other types of video
Don’t worry about being too precious with your videos. On TikTok, videos are meant to be candid, and natural—and they should show off your personality. Things like perfect edits, smooth transitions or flawless lighting shouldn’t get in the way of your idea and your own charisma.
Sure, there are lots of editing options, effects and filters to choose from (what the heck is the difference between B3 and G4 filters anyways?) but the real star is you —or, at least all 6 of these friends belting out Lady Gaga for the #caughtinabadromance challenge at this bachelorette. If that’s not candid, I don’t know what is.
You don’t have to dance
Good news! You don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to perfect the LaLisa dance tutorial to make sure your video stands out (unless you want to, then no judgment over here!).
There are so many different ways to engage your followers that don’t involve you popping and locking in your living room in front of a ring light (but again, no judgement if you do, except maybe from your pet and their adorable judging eyes).
You also don’t have to attempt whatever this is.
Hashtags can help more people see your post
It’s no secret a good hashtag can go a long way on TikTok. Strategic use of hashtags will help people find your videos who don’t already follow you, and maybe even see it on their For You Page (FYP).
The right song can go a long way
Attaching a trending song to your video or audio from a popular TikTok video can help it get seen by more people. This app has a big music following (lots of new songs are intentionally promoted through the app to help them climb the music charts) so lassoing your video to one of these shooting stars is only going to help you get on more FYP and in front of new audiences.
Your greatest asset is you
Don’t overthink it, just come up with a simple idea and let your personality shine through. The sense of intimacy and community that TikTok brings is why people love this app—it feels personal.
Even if you’re doing a TikTok challenge or trend that’s popular, the thing that will make you stand out is your unique take on it. It’s not about gimmicks but about putting your best self out there. Nothing should feel too staged or self-aware (that’s cringe territory). Pretend your audience are your good friends and approach it with that energy!
@janikon_No, I can’t re-record this, I’m laughing too hard #fyp♬ original sound – Stu (he/him)
Warner Music reports accelerating streaming revenue from TikTok, Facebook & Peloton in …
Warner Music Group has announced its fiscal fourth quarter and full-year financial results for the period to September 30, 2021.
The major reported continued momentum across established and emerging streaming platforms, while artist services and physical revenue bounced back after the impact of Covid last year.
For the fiscal year, recorded music streaming revenue increased 24% year-on-year to $2.403 billion. In the fourth quarter, streaming revenue was up 22% to $639 million.
Total revenue increased 18.8% (15.4% in constant currency) to $5.3bn for the financial year. It was driven by strong digital revenue growth of 21.9% (19.1% in constant currency) across recorded music and publishing. Digital revenue represented 66.8% of total revenue, compared to 65.0% in the prior year.
“Music is essential to billions of people across the globe,” said Steve Cooper, CEO, Warner Music Group. “But now, more than ever, great talent needs help to cut through the noise. By delivering for new artists and songwriters, returning superstars, and global legends, we’ve also delivered outstanding results in 2021.
“Looking to 2022, we’re excited to release incredible new music from the world’s hottest artists and most influential songwriters. We’re also planning innovative moves and collaborations that will strengthen our leadership position across a vast universe of opportunities, in both the digital and physical worlds.”
For the 12-month period, recorded music revenue increased 19.3% (15.9% in constant currency) to $4.54bn. Digital revenue grew 20.9% (18.2% in constant currency) to $3.54bn due to the strong performance of new and prior year releases, as well as accelerated revenue growth from emerging streaming platforms such as Facebook, TikTok and Peloton.
We’re planning innovative moves and collaborations that will strengthen our leadership position
During 2020-21, recorded music physical revenue increased 26.5% (22.3% in constant currency) to $549m thanks to vinyl sales. Over the same period, artist services and expanded-rights revenue increased 14.1% (8.7% in constant currency) reflecting an increase in merchandising revenue, partially offset by the impact of Covid disruption on touring and live events.
Music publishing revenue increased 15.8% (12.6% in constant currency) to $761m for the 12 months compared to the prior year. The revenue increase was driven by growth in digital, sync and mechanical revenue, partially offset by a decline in performance revenue.
Operating income was $609m, compared to an operating loss of $229m in the prior year.
“Our strong fourth-quarter results put an exclamation point on an outstanding year,” said Lou Dickler, acting CFO, Warner Music Group. “Even as certain revenue was impacted by Covid, the strength and resilience of our music propelled us to double-digit revenue growth and margin expansion in 2021. As the possibilities for music continue to evolve, we remain focused on delivering shareholder value through our financially disciplined investment strategy and positioning ourselves for the next wave of growth.”
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