We’ve all heard of it, the app that’s got children, teenagers, adults and even grandparents reeling. But what do we actually know about it? As a self-proclaimed TikTok Expert, I’m here to tell you everything I possibly can about the worlds most popular and interestingly elusive app on the market today.
TikTok first reared its head back in 2018, previously known as ‘musical.ly’ (another entertainment app used predominantly by 10 to 14-year-olds). What most people don’t know is that TikToks Server actually existed long before it’s 2018 release. Created in 2016 by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company founded in 2012, the ‘Chinese video-sharing social networking service’ Douyin is what TikTok was based upon. Only having hit Western Markets after merging with musical.ly to form the crazed about app we have today.
In short: Douyin + musical.ly = TikTok.
This merge between the two is what made TikTok available to the wider cyber-world and today both TikTok and Douyin exist as one in the same- they are essentially the same app but hosted on different servers to comply with Chinas censorship restrictions. For personal interest mainly; Douyin’s literal meaning is ‘Vibrating Sound’.
Now that the history lesson is done, let’s get into what this article is essentially about. TikTok, like Instagram and YouTube- is just another app used to create and entertain. The app is almost the perfect platform to create short 15-60 second videos and is up to the user to decide what their videos are about. It gives artists, performers, entertainers and hobbyists a way to showcase their passions and share them with an audience. In my opinion, it’s brilliant. I can spend hours flicking through videos and the algorithm inside of TikToks coding makes it easy to find videos and people that share your interests.
However, one doesn’t need to stray far to see that like most online communities, TikTok is riddled with cyberbullies and ‘toxic’ users. Arguably the most popular female on the platform to date, fifteen-year-old Charli D’amelio (@charlidamelio) has amassed over 49.4 Million followers and 3.2 Billion likes. With all these fans she has also gained numerous hate accounts Comments like “she literally looks like every other basic white girl” and “what’s all the hype about?” are scattered across her posts. The teenager even admitted that becoming famous online does have numerous negative sides- from being stalked to being yelled at by complete strangers for photos. Super fans have even pretended to be members of her family to sneak into her cousins wedding and meet her.
Let me stress that this girl is fifteen years old.
This is where TikTok begins to get dangerous, although it is the perfect app to meet likeminded people it is also an app used to ‘get rich quick’ and ‘get famous quick’ Many Celebrities have since joined the app, perhaps to make sure their next single hits No. 1 such as Drakes ‘Toosie Slide’ who used the viral ability of choreographed dance to make sure as many viewers on the platform had heard it and spread it. This ‘viral’ quality the platform possesses can also be its downfall, audiences almost gain feverish traction on posts that require a ‘Storytime’ or a ‘tutorial’. As someone who’s experienced this, having numerous people commenting “upload a file for this!!” and “upload it as a pdf” has you scrambling to meet the needs of the people who have viewed, liked and followed your account. It is both exciting and nerve-wracking to be commanded by that many people.
All in all, apart from being a stressful platform to operate on as a creator; it is also one that needs to be navigated carefully. I can only ask that it be treated with caution and that time is taken to log off and focus on something else, the abyss that is TikTok will always be waiting for us.
In saying that, here are five of my personal favourite TikTokers (as creators are affectionately called):
- @chrisellelim — “YOUR RICH MOM” fashion blogger + entrepreneur.
- @funbucketbhargac — “South Indian Tiktok” comic content creator.
- @saydenseay — “I’m cuter on the gram” comedian + actor.
- @mitchell — relatable skits + kinda cute.
- @notthejudes — “80s anime character with a curly mullet” I’m in love with them.
By CARLA COLLINS
@chrysolitechrome on TikTok.