TikTok is a social media app where users create videos of up to 60 seconds. It’s a simple concept and one that isn’t new. Video creating apps like TikTok, Snapchat and Vine (now shuttered) have become part of a generation. YouTube, a site where video creators become celebrities in their own right, started a revolution. People want to be seen, to be heard and to be valued. With TikTok growing globally, this simple app is giving people an opportunity to learn to be creative.
Creativity is key with apps like TikTok. The platform provides an outlet for those who may not otherwise have one. To create videos, even short ones, can be a release. That it can bring together people of all ages, from all walks of life, from around the world — that is the beauty of TikTok. It is not just a place to create videos; it is a place to form a community.
What is TikTok though?
TikTok was founded back in 2017 by Beijing Bytedance Technology Co. That same year, the company went on to purchase another social media app, Musical.ly. On August 2nd of 2018, Bytedance merged the two together into one single app and kept the name TikTok. The app, which is available in over 150 markets and in 75 languages, currently has over 500 million users globally and continues to gather more.
The app has wedged itself into the social media gap left by popular apps like Vine, which shut down back in January of 2017. On TikTok, people, mostly young adults and kids, create videos up to 60 seconds in length, usually with music in the background. There is a gallery of songs and sound bytes from film and television, but users can also create videos with original audio. These videos can be sped up, slowed down and edited with filters.
Those who find themselves creating on the app do it for their own reasons.
It is not just a platform to create videos. Just like YouTube, TikTok connects people. The app has many features besides the ability to create short videos. It also allows users to react to other people’s content as well as perform duet videos side by side with other users. True, videos are made and uploaded showcasing talents and creativity of its users but it is the connection that people form through message boards and live streams that keeps users coming back.
TikTok is not perfect.
Far from it. There are cracks within the system that draw a line from fun to annoyance. For example, many users have found their accounts deactivated, videos have been shadowbanned or deleted and live videos have been suspended. There are also issues regarding privacy and user information getting leaked. Users have voiced their concerns and complaints via emails to the corporate office of TikTok as well as in videos expressing their feelings. However, they’ve so far gotten little to no feedback. Yet, despite the app’s many flaws, TikTok seems to continue to grow its user base and its outreach in the world.
Who uses the app?
Users on the platform range from kids to adults way into their fifties and beyond. There is an abundance of people using the app and building their own way. Those who find themselves creating on the app do it for their own reasons. Some are representing popular creators; others thrive on reaching that number goal. Some use the app for fun or to strengthen their creativity, while others wish for that stardom they think will fall into their laps when a video goes viral. There are also those who wish to inspire and share their experiences. Some want it all.
No matter which avenue you choose as a TikTok user, there is something to admire in those who have the courage to be themselves when the whole world, it seems, is watching. In a world where it feels like being original and different is looked down upon, TikTok is a place where people of all shapes, sizes and colors can come together with one shiny goal: to be seen and heard.