What Does 'POV' Actually Mean? (Its Use on Social Media Is Slightly Different Than IRL!)

Everything you need to know about this popular acronym and TikTok trend.

If you have spent any amount of time watching videos on TikTok or reels on Instagram and Facebook, you have undoubtedly seen clips with a video title that says "POV," or those letters in the caption and comments. But what does that descriptive label mean?

POV is one of the many (many!) slang terms and shorthand abbreviations that content creators use on TikTok and other social media platforms. The three letters are actually an acronym for a phrase you are likely very familiar with. So, what does POV mean? We'll go over everything you need to know.

If you search "POV" on TikTok or Instagram, you will find thousands of videos tagged with this label, ranging from home-organizing hacks to relaxing ASMR videos and everything in between. Below, we will explain exactly what this staple TikTok term means, how it is used in social media posts, and POV's meaning in real life. It may even inspire you to create a POV video of your own!

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What does POV mean?

POV is an abbreviation, acronym, or shorthand for the phrase “point of view.”

What is a POV?

A POV—or a point of view—is the standpoint from which something is observed.

What is a POV in real life?

There are two different kinds of points of view: one is a physical observation, and the other is a mental outlook or attitude. For example, you have a point of view as your adorable dog greets you at the door when you arrive home each day, which is a physical observation of your surroundings. The other type of POV is a person’s individual interpretation, belief, perspective or opinion on a topic, such as politics, relationships, religion—basically anything and everything!

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POV meaning on TikTok

You may have seen the hashtag #POV trending on TikTok or Instagram and wondered what it means. Content creators on social media will use "POV" in captions or as text on a video when they want the viewer to be watching the scene from their own perspective.

These videos are meant to make the audience feel as if they are part of the scenario, watching the scene unfold through their own eyes—whether it’s a makeup tutorial, unboxing a TikTok made-me-buy-it purchase, restocking the refrigerator, getting yelled at by the boss, going on a romantic date, or openly and honestly speaking to the viewer. Some users will “act out” a scenario using the POV trend, like dueting another creator’s content or interacting with a barista at Starbucks.

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Does POV mean the same thing as IMO?

It can… but doesn’t always! IMO is shorthand for ‘in my opinion,’ and a person’s point of view can certainly be an opinion on something—not just a physical viewpoint. Swapping IMO for POV makes the most sense in text-based exchanges, like when you are posting your viewpoint on Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat, or sharing your thoughts in a texting exchange, a product review or on a message board.

You could write on Twitter, “Nothing compares to Oreos #POV” and it would mean the same thing as “IMO, Oreos are the best cookies, ever.” Because TikTok is based on video content, however, POV and IMO aren’t quite as interchangeable on that particular social media platform.

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POV meaning in literature and film

"Point of view" existed long before teenagers took over TikTok and made POV a social media slang term. In literature, the point of view is the perspective from which the story is told. There are three main types of point of view that a writer can choose from to narrate a story. The first is "first person point of view," where one of the characters describes the unfolding events from their own perspective, using words like “I” or “me.”

The second type is "second person point of view," which employs the pronoun "you" in the writing. And the third person point of view is when the author or another presence narrates the story, using "he" and "she" pronouns when talking about the characters.

In a manner similar to first person point of view in literature, this device is also frequently used in television and film. These POV shots tape a scene from a specific camera angle so that the audience is experiencing the action through the eyes of a particular character.

Next, find out what parents need to know about the dangerous ‘Beezin’ TikTok trend.