If you’re above the age of 20, you might still instantly think of Ke$ha when you hear the words “tik tok.” But to Generation Zer’s, the words have taken on an entirely new meaning. TikTok, in the briefest terms, is a lip-syncing app with well over 800 million downloads and more than 500 million monthly users. If you’ve ever seen a Gen Zer with their phone propped up, videoing themselves dancing and singing, chances are – they’re doing it for TikTok.
TikTok is exactly what the social media world needed – a goofy, active, cheeky alternative to online sharing. It’s a place where “cringey” content is fully accepted (about time!). So if you still find yourself asking, “what is TikTok?” we’re here to at least help you sound like you know what you’re talking about. And who knows? Maybe by the end of this article, you’ll be shaking it in front of the camera too.
What is TikTok?
Our original explanation of TikTok might have been a bit too brief. How do you sum up what the social app that’s storming the world does in just one sentence? TikTok is a lot more than just a lip-syncing experience. It’s also a place to act-out memes, participate in challenges, and create 15-second videos to sound clips. The app even gives you the opportunity to do a “duet” with or create a video “response” to other users’ videos. It’s probably the one place on the internet where content is unapologetically wholesome.
To make a video, you pick a song or a voiceover from the audio library and get creative. Although certain themes, dances, or challenges trend, users are encouraged to put their own unique spin on it.
What’s the Difference Between Musical.ly and TikTok?
You may remember a similar app being released back in 2014 called Musical.ly that seemed pretty similar to TikTok. You aren’t crazy – they are the same app. Literally. In 2017, TikTok merged with Musical.ly to create the social platform that is consuming today’s teeny boppers. By combining the two, TikTok, a Chinese-based application, was able to bleed over into the Western markets allowing it to become one of the most-downloaded apps in both the iOS and Google Play stores.
TikTok & Music
Some may even say that TikTok is the future of the music industry. Although this is a bold statement, it’s not unlikely. Taylor Swift found her fame from YouTube. If you don’t believe in the musical superpowers of TikTok, just look at Sueco the Child. He realized that with TikTok, other people make and share your content for you. So he posted a video to his song “Fast” and well, you can assume the rest. Within three months the song has been used over 3.2 million times and is still being used today. The shocking part? It’s been streamed more than 16 million times on Spotify.
The best part about this is that it’s not the producers that are going viral, it’s the music. Music is finally getting promoted based off of its sound and not the name behind it. And it’s going viral in a very creative, community-driven way.
TikTok Memes, Challenges, and Dances
When first opening the app, you’ll be directed to a page containing all the trending hashtags, memes, challenges, and dances. It is here that you can gain inspiration for your next post. The thing about TikTok is that it’s built off of these hashtags and challenges. Users will remake the same style of video with their own twist. This is a very foreign concept, so let’s use an example you probably already know about to help explain. Cue “Old Town Road.”
We’ve all heard it. Probably more times than we would have liked. The song we all know and love “Old Town Road” gained it’s popularity thanks to TikTok and its challenges. Tweens and teens all over the world recreated their own dance videos where they drank “#yeeyeejuice” and turned into a cowboy. Some even had their cats drink the juice. Eventually, the song took its rightful spot on the top of the charts.
These challenges, memes, and dances are what makes the app so much fun. Admit it, the child in you secretly wants to try it.
Is TikTok Safe?
Teens these days are drawn to the social space where they can finally share content that isn’t perfectly angled. And yes, that was a direct hit on Instagram and Snapchat. But as individuals who grew up with the big, mean web, of course, we’re wondering whether or not TikTok is safe. As with any social media platform, the chance for misusage is there and the app definitely doesn’t filter the music. Let’s just say, that if your kid is under 13, you should do some digging before letting them create an account. But TikTok and other social apps work hard to keep their little corner of the digital world as safe as possible.
If you’re worried about its safety, check out our blog on the potential dangers and privacy concerns of TikTok.