TikTok is popular, but Chinese apps still have a lot to learn about global markets



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TikTok is a music and video sharing app – and it’s huge.
Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

Xu Chen, Queensland University of Technology

If Twitter is the revolutionary version of blogging, TikTok might be the revolutionary version of YouTube. Both Twitter and TikTok encourage their users to post shorter, more fragmented content than their precursors.

TikTok, owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance, is the international version of China’s short video sharing app, Douyin.

This is TikTok.

Presently the app is considered one of the most valuable start-ups on the planet.

TikTok is not the first Chinese social media platform to go international, although it is likely the first to gain traction with non-Chinese users globally. WeChat and other Chinese social media platforms that have gone global have, in fact, been predominately used by international Chinese citizens.




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But TikTok is not yet a complete success story. The video-sharing platform may have broken into some non-Chinese markets, but it still has a lot to learn when it comes to outside regulations and culture.

And this is true for Chinese apps generally – they face obstacles refining their global strategies, particularly in navigating China’s notorious internet censorship.

Chinese social media is already going global

Some scholars attribute the success of Chinese social media to the censorship and isolation of China’s internet. This is because China’s Great Firewall prevents foreign social media from entering the Chinese market.

Nevertheless, many China-based social media platforms, such as Weibo, WeChat, You Ku, Blued and Douyin, are seeking to expand into the global market.

WeChat, for instance, tried (and failed) to expand into the non-Chinese overseas market, even hiring soccer star Lionel Messi to front their advertising campaign.

Unlike the global strategies of its peers, ByteDance has never merged Chinese and international digital realms. Instead, it created a separate app, TikTok, specifically for going abroad.

TikTok and Douyin.
Screenshot of the author’s phone

In fact, ByteDance spent A$1.42 billion to purchase Musical.ly, to target the teenage market in the US. On August 2, 2018, ByteDance merged Musical.ly into TikTok, an exceptional boost for TikTok’s success.

TikTok is trying to remove its Chinese roots

Douyin and TikTok are branded as the same product, but they each have distinct characteristics depending on their marketing target. This is wise for ByteDance’s global ambition, given Chinese internet culture doesn’t always translate in a global context.

Interfaces of TikTok (left) vs Douyin (right)
Author provided (screenshot of app interfaces)

For instance, TikTok, unlike Douyin, has a set of westernised stickers and effects on its interface, as you can see in the picture above.

Still, some prevailing Chinese traits appear in TikTok that emerged from Douyin, such as a meibai (美白, literally meaning “beautify whitening”) camera tool.

A preview photo of TikTok from an Australian app store.
Author provided, Author provided

But the pursuit of white skin isn’t a social motivator in most western countries, and technological constraints like this are easily noticed.

Despite ByteDance’s efforts to minimise Chinese culture in its international app, it is still difficult for TikTok to fully understand western culture.

And this is especially true of other Chinese social media platforms, which don’t really endeavour to incorporate global cultures at all. For instance, WeChat’s mobile payment service, WeChat Pay, only allows Chinese citizens with a Chinese bank account to set up an account.

Global app with Chinese regulations

In April 2018, Chinese internet regulators accused ByteDance, of spreading “unwholesome” content through Douyin.

This includes child users who are making money by live streaming or posting advertising videos on Douyin. And to gain more Douyin followers, some children, for instance, have been reported as recording suggestive gestures or dances.

ByteDance’s chief executive Zhang Yiming responded by saying the company would increase its content moderation team from 6,000 staff members to 10,000. But ByteDance refused to disclose how many of these 10,000 moderators would work for TikTok, and whether the content standards for American users are the same as those for Chinese users.




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Chief executive of Common Sense Media James P Steyer said children on TikTok are “significantly too young for it”.

It’s not that the content on TikTok isn’t okay for your 15-year-old. It’s what happens to your six or seven-year-old.

Last month, TikTok was penalised A$8 million by the US Federal Trade Commission due to its violation of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

ByteDance’s low-level attention to underage users on Douyin and TikTok shows the lack of structural mechanisms in place for protecting children in China. And there are possibilities for more unforeseen circumstances due to nontransparent regulation of social media within China.

While TikTok agreed to pay the largest ever penalty in a children’s privacy case in the US, there is still much for it to learn and adapt in the global market.The Conversation

Xu Chen, PhD candidate; sessional academic, Queensland University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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‘Use this app twice daily’: how digital tools are revolutionising patient care



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New electronic devices are being used by people of all ages to track activity, measure sleep and record nutrition.
Shutterstock

Caleb Ferguson, Western Sydney University; Debra Jackson, University of Technology Sydney, and Louise Hickman, University of Technology Sydney

Imagine you’ve recently had a heart attack.

You’re a lucky survivor. You’ve received high-quality care from nurses and doctors whilst in hospital and you’re now preparing to go home with the support of your family.

The doctors have made it clear that the situation is grim. It’s a case of: change your lifestyle or die. You’ve got to stop smoking, increase your physical activity, eat a healthy balanced diet (whilst reducing your salt), and make sure you take all your medicine as prescribed.




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But before you leave the hospital, the cardiology nurse wants to talk to you. There are a few apps you can download on your smartphone that will help you manage your recovery, including the transition from hospital to home and all the health-related behavioural changes necessary to reduce the risk of another heart attack.

Rapid advancements in digital technologies are revolutionising healthcare. The benefits are numerous, but the rate of development is difficult to keep up with. And that’s creating challenges for both healthcare professionals and patients.

What are digital therapeutics?

Digital therapeutics can be defined as any intervention that is digitally delivered and has a therapeutic effect on a patient. They can be used to treat medical conditions in a similar way to drugs or surgery.

Current examples of digital therapeutics include apps for managing medications and cardiovascular health, apps to support mental health and well being, or augmented and virtual reality tools for patient education.

Paper-based letters, health records, prescription charts and education pamphlets are outdated. We can now send emails, enter information into electronic databases and access electronic medication charts.

And patient education is no longer a static, one-way communication. The digital revolution facilitates dynamic and personalised education, and a two-way interaction between patient and therapist.

How do digital therapeutics help?

Digital health care improves overall quality of care, even in cases where a patient lives hundreds of kilometres away from their doctor.

Take diabetes for example. This condition affects 1.7 million Australians. It’s a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and stroke. So it’s important that people with diabetes manage their condition to reduce their risk.

A recent study evaluated a team-based online game, which was delivered by an app to provide diabetes self-management education. The participants who received the app in this trial had meaningful and sustained improvements in their diabetes, as measured by their HbA1c (blood glucose levels).

App based games of this kind hold promise to improve chronic disease outcomes at scale.

New electronic devices are also being used by people of all ages to track activity, measure sleep and record nutrition. This information provides instant and accurate feedback to individuals and their therapists, allowing for adjustments where necessary. The logged information can also be combined into large data sets to reveal patterns over time and inform future treatments.




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Digital therapeutics are spawning a new language within the healthcare industry. “Connected health” reflects the increasingly digital ways clinicians and patients communicate. A few examples include text messaging, telehealth, and video consultations with health professionals.

There is increasing evidence that digitally delivered care (including apps and text message based interventions) can be good for your health and can help you manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

But not all health apps are the same

Whilst the digital health revolution is exciting, results of research studies should be carefully interpreted by patients and providers.

Innovation has led to 325,000 mobile health apps available in 2017. This raises significant governance issues relating to patient safety (including data protection) when using digital therapeutics.

A recent review identified that most studies have a relatively short duration of intervention and only reflect short-term follow up with participants. The long-term effect of these new therapeutic interventions remains largely unknown.

The current speed of technological development means the usual safety mechanisms face new ethical and regulatory challenges. Who is doing the prescribing? Who is responsible for the efficacy, storage and accuracy of data? How are these technologies being integrated into existing care systems?

Digital health needs a collaborative approach

Digital health presents seismic disruption to patient care, particularly when new technologies are cheap and readily accessible to patients who might lack the insight required to recognise normality or cause for alarm. Technology can be enabling and empowering for self management, however there’s a lot more needs to be done to link these new technologies into the current health system.

Take the new Apple Watch functionality of heart rate notifications for example. Research like the Apple Heart Study suggests this exciting innovation could lead to significantly improved detection rates of heart rhythm disorders, and enhanced stroke prevention efforts.

But when a patient receives a high heart rate notification, what should they do? Ignore it? Go to a GP? Head straight to the emergency department? And, what is the flow on impact on the health system?




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Many of these questions remain unanswered suggesting there is an urgent need for research that examines how technology is implemented into existing healthcare systems.

The ConversationIf we are to produce useful digital therapeutics for real-world problems, then it is critical that the end-users are engaged in the process. Patients and healthcare professionals will need to work with software developers to design applications that meet the complex healthcare needs of patients.

Caleb Ferguson, Senior Research Fellow, Western Sydney University; Debra Jackson, Professor, University of Technology Sydney, and Louise Hickman, Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Technology Sydney

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

YouVersion – The Bible App


The link below is to an article that looks at a version of the Bible that’s an App, called ‘YouVersion,’ it’s the Bible App for smartphones. What do you think of the app and what do you think of using a digital version of the Bible in worship – which doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be using the ‘YouVersion’ app. You may have a PDF version on an iPad or perhaps a Kindle version of the King James Version. Any thoughts? Please share them in the comments.

For more visit:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/12/how-a-bible-app-is-changing-the-way-millions-worship.html