“Stop adding Captions”? Blasphemy. But there are several excellent reasons to stop adding them to your TikTok videos.
Because They Interfere with Closed Captions
The most important reason to stop adding them is that it interferes with the accessibility features of every smartphone. Inside the settings of every smartphone, you will find an accessibility link, and within that, you will find hearing accessibility settings with several options. One of these is closed captions. Most deaf and hard-of-hearing folk have these turned on by default, which means that your added captions can interfere with their ability to read your content.
Because They Take Time Away From Creating Content
Some content creators pay captioning services, but for most of us, writing them is a time-consuming and complicated process. For both content creators and followers, that time spent writing takes away from what people come to TikTok for. The content. More content. And even more content. Speaking for myself, I have well over a dozen videos I haven’t posted currently saved and not posted because I haven’t had time to add captions. I can’t be the only one.
Finally, Adding Captions Takes Away Immediacy
The big draw of TikTok is that it’s an extended conversation. We find something out, we react to it, and share it. Sometimes that cycle is only minutes or hours long. You make a video, you download it to your phone. You’re interrupted by life, and it’s hours before you upload it to your computer to caption it. While you were waiting, the moment passed, and you have a video that no longer contributes as much to the conversation.
Exceptions to the Rule
Keep adding them for YouTube and other content that is more likely to be seen on a computer than a phone. YouTube has a fairly good captioning program in their creative tools that makes it simple. If you intend for your video to go beyond TikTok, you might want to make versions with and without. When you need to clarify what you said in your TikTok, go ahead and add a caption that shows what you meant. If your accent is thick enough that auto caption doesn’t pick it up well, adding your own helps. When you use uncommon words in your videos that captions usually get wrong, a visual representation of at least that word might help.
In other words, make sure your TikTok is accessible. Think it through before you post. Do you supply captions because you’re using difficult words? Or do you skip them because you want to make sure deaf and hard-of-hearing folk don’t miss the visual elements on your page? Will they add a bit of humor to what you’re writing? Go ahead and add them.
When in doubt, view your video with your phones automatic ones and decide whether you need to clarify or add any before publishing.