TikTok is a fairly new app created for users of all ages. It combines the best features of two now deactivated apps, Musical.ly and Vine. Users are able to lip-sync and dance to their favorite song or scene, but it also allows users to create their own short videos. Many users who recognize the similarities between Vine and TikTok have created compilation videos with titles such as “Tik Toks that radiate the same energy as vines.” Like Musical.ly stars, users have become “TikTok famous” by creating their own dances to songs. These dances then become a trend where other users do the same dance with that song.
Although there’s still a hierarchy within the users, TikTok levels the playing field with the “For You” page feature. By using the hashtags #fyp and #foryoupage, videos are automatically added to it. This is the first thing a viewer sees when opening the app, and it’s the app’s main feature. Users can choose to follow others and simply watch videos made by those they follow by going to the “following” section. After using the app for a while, it’ll begin to filter videos on the “For You” page based on one's liked or sent to others.
The “For You” page and the filtered videos can help people find friends and others to collaborate with. There are many different groups on TikTok such as e-girl and boys, furries, cosplayers, those who enjoy anime, comedians and dancers. Since the “For You” page doesn’t always feature those with a huge following, people can easily connect with others who share similar interests, and they can easily collaborate by using the duet feature. With Vine, influencers would have to travel and meet up in order to collaborate, but TikTok allows users to do it from miles apart. Recently, users have begun roleplaying as characters they look like. One popular example of this is users cosplaying as the cast of “It.” This TikTok features the six main characters as children and the antagonist, Pennywise. The users look remarkably similar to the characters, and they even pretend to be lifted by Pennywise’s light.
Although this feature isn’t perfect, many of the videos on the “For You” page have thousands of likes, and only features videos from popular creators, so it creates an opportunity for those without followers to get views and likes. On Instagram, most users like pictures from people they’re already following. Although there’s the “Explore” page, it seems odd to like a complete stranger’s post unless they’re an influencer or celebrity. However, since the “For You” page is the main feature on TikTok, liking videos with fewer likes isn’t as personal. It may concern users that anyone can watch their videos, but TikTok allows users to see who views their profile. Unlike Instagram, TikTok shares who views one’s profile on the notification page, which provides a safer environment.
When TikTok was first released, many people didn’t like it because of its similarity to Musical.ly. Musical.ly stars seemed to be liked by younger users, whereas Vine was truly appreciated by young adults. TikTok now combines both these age groups and even older generations. Younger viewers can watch cute boys lip-sync or pretty girls change outfits, and older audiences can watch nonsense videos similar to those on Vine. There have been numerous TikToks made by older users explaining that they first downloaded the app as a joke but have now begun making content themselves. The app is addicting in a good way and allows people to laugh at themselves and be creative.
Megan Klepper is a senior, writing, rhetoric and technical communication major. Contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org.