WHAT IS IT?
“Our mission is to capture and present the world's creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone.” TikTok
Essentially, TikTok is an evolution of Musical.ly, which was bought by Chinese company ByteDance (for $1 billion) and incorporated into the existing TikTok app. It’s fast becoming THE destination for short form videos (roughly 15 seconds), describing itself as the next generation of video. That means, it has much more to offer than lipsync and music. It boasts incredible filters and tools that enables users all over the globe to easily upload and edit short videos, unleashing their creativity on the world.
It’s hard to overstate the popularity of TikTok - an app that promises to #MakeEverySecondCount for young people (especially teens) who have no time to waste. It has 500 million active users in over 50 countries worldwide, and, in Q1 of 2018 it was the number one most downloaded app on iOS (followed by YouTube and WhatsApp).
WHAT’S MAKING YOUTH TIK?
On downloading TikTok, the average person reportedly consumes up to 100 videos. Daily users spend an average of 52 minutes on the app every day. We’re not surprised by this, because the app’s newsfeed is a truly sensorial experience. The content ranges from challenges, memes, singing, dancing, joking, talking, animals, athletic feats, special effects, showing off unique skills - absolutely anything goes. It’s a hive of activity - a place where major internet culture moments are being born.
“...for every meme you encounter outside of TikTok, you can probably find it within TikTok. In addition to the #InMyFeelingsChallege, there’s this whole submeme where girls mouth along to a track that answers “Kiki” with an annoyed “What?” and “Do you love me?” with “No!” Basically, TikTok is a world unto itself...” Heather Schwedel, Slate.
A simple search for hashtags like #LevelUpChallenge or #RaindropChallenge will give you a guide on how challenges go down on the app - at any given time there can be a number of these trending.
One of the things that young people love about TikTok is that you can watch the newsfeed without commitment (creating a profile). To experience the TikTok world all you have to do is download the app and scroll through the short videos that pop up on your ever-changing newsfeed. It’s raw, quick, simple and brilliantly easy to consume. As one user commented, it’s like “exploring the world without going outside.”
Young people have grown up in a digital world, where visuals are deemed essential for expression and communication. TikTok’s video content makes it easy for anyone to express themselves, driving more diverse and real content. This is unlike the more filtered content on Instagram, for example, which is often captured with professional equipment and then subsequently uploaded on to a phone or app for publication. The unique abilities of TikTok means that it essentially democratizes creativity, opening up new worlds of creative possibility through its tools. With this, essentially any young person with talent has the opportunity for stardom.
While the app has been criticised by some as being ‘creepy’ or disturbing, one of TikTok’s more noteworthy moments was when it swooped in to #MakeSocialFunAgain after YouTube (a space where TikToks audience hang out) crashed. A brilliant call to action for youth, who want to create cool content and express themselves more creatively online, using the space as a tool to showcase their originality.