I’ve been meaning to blog about the Black Country Living Museum’s breathtakingly good use of TikTok for a while but this video took the biscuit.
Reassuring, kind and warm the shot is of an older man in traditional costume warming his hand next to a roaring range.
He’s the kind of person you’ll see if you go to the living history museum in Dudley that’s a few miles from my house.
He greets you, tells you not to keep scrolling but wait a minute. It’s fine, he says, to feel sad ‘tek it one day at a time’.
He rounds off…
“Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’ll be okay in the end. And if it ay? It ay the end is it?”
Black Country Museum, TikTok
And it’s beautiful because its a warm piece of advice delivered by someone old enough to be most people’s grandpa.
I’ve banged on for years about how there’s a need to use the Paretto principle in social media content. It’s the 80 and the 20. It’s 80 per cent warm, human content and 20 per cent calls to action. We hate the idea we’re being sold to but we put up with being sold to every now and then if there’s something to entertain us. Like the best social content, this connects on an emotional level.
Historians will look back in years to come and wonder what the fuss was about, no doubt.
It’ll be hard for them to understand the attritional toll of living in the shadow of an invisible virus that has killed 50,000 people. Seven months in, people feel frayed.
What they absolutely need is someone in a Black Country accent who looks like someone’s grandpa take 56 seconds to tell them everything is going to be alright.
It’s beautiful because it’s in dialect but not too much so people can’t understand.
In numbers, the video has been seen 345,000 times and the 32 videos posted to TikTok have attracted 205,000 followers. At a time when museums need innovative ways to stay in the public eye TikTok is proving to be a hard-headed human strategy.