Renegade, The Charli, Roxanne. These are a few words that most Generation Z kids can immediately explain without context thanks to TikTok. What is TikTok? TikTok is the app that few people knew of and barely had any downloads in the United States just three years ago. It’s one of the top social medias used in 2020, topping Twitter and Snapchat. It’s easy for apps and trends to go “viral” in the age of technology, but the unbelievably fast rise of TikTok has media users and analysts scratching their heads. How did this China-based application become the number one app in just three years?
What exactly is TikTok?
TikTok is the viral video sharing application that you can probably find on every phone of Generation Z. It was originally a Chinese app called Douyin before its name changed to TikTok for the international market. It allows users of all ages to create 15 to 60 second videos about anything. Users can view videos on the “For You page” which is the main page that users will scroll through. The “For You page” specifically caters to each user depending on the algorithm. Users can duet other videos, like, comment and share.
How did TikTok get so popular?
After the popular video sharing app, Vine ,was taken down in 2016, there have been several attempts to create a new hit video app, however none of them attracted media users until 2018 and 2019 when TikTok blew up. It also took over another video sharing app called Musical.ly and many of the influencers on that app moved over to TikTok. TikToks can also be easily shared on other platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram so users of those platforms are able to see the videos and be compelled to download the app themselves. It wasn’t too long before popular celebrities and influencers were using the app. TikTok’s main appeal could be the challenges that are on the app. There are dancing challenges, singing challenges, and other trends. If their videos are good enough, anyone could easily become the next TikTok famous star.
What are some influences of the app?
Because TikTok is one of the main social media platforms that create the trends we see today, there are many influences from this app. Most notable are the songs that are used in the videos. Many top songs on Apple Music and Spotify are actually “TikTok Songs”, which are songs used as BGM for TikToks. TikTok has also popularized certain aesthetics such as dying one piece of hair a crazy color, also known as “TikTok hair.” TikTok celebrities, or normal people that have skyrocketed to fame because of the app are also very influential. 16 year old Charli D’Amelio is one of the most famous influencers dominating the app and her fame has landed her several big collaborations and sponsorships. She has a drink named after her at Dunkin Donuts and is currently the face of a new Morphe make-up collection.
Effects of TikTok
TikTok is an amazing app with a lot of positive influences and an exponentially increasing user base. It brings users together through challenges, trends, and video sharing. However, it is also one of the largest data mining apps. The app is based in China and the data goes directly to China. This is a concern for American users and the U.S government. In fact, the app is so controversial that the Trump administration even considered banning TikTok from the U.S. Find out more about TikTok and its growth here.
Questions about TikTok to discuss on Ohlelo:
- Could there be any negative sides to TikTok?
- Is there a problem with social media with large user bases?
- Do you think TikTok will ever be the “new Facebook” as the largest social media platform?