The analytics suggest a high likelihood that you’re aware it comes with an app named TikTok, and a similarly high likelihood that you’re not totally sure what it’s all about. You may asked someone younger in your life, plus they tried to explain and perhaps failed. Or perhaps you’ve heard this new, extraordinarily popular video app is “a refreshing outlier within the social media marketing universe” that’s “genuinely fun to utilize.” You may even used it, but bounced straight out, confused and sapped.
“Fear of missing out” is a very common way to describe how social networking can make people feel like everyone else is part of something – a concert, a secret beach, a brunch – that they’re not. A whole new wrinkle within this concept is that sometimes that “something” is a social networking platform itself. Perhaps you saw a photo of some friends on Instagram in a great party and wondered why you weren’t there. Then again, next within your feed, you saw a weird video, watermarked with a vibrating TikTok logo, scored having a song you’d never heard, starring someone you’d never seen. Perhaps you saw among the staggering number of ads for TikTok plastered throughout other social networking sites, and reality, and wondered the reasons you weren’t at that party, either, and why it seemed to date away.
It’s been some time since a new social app got sufficient, quickly enough, to create nonusers feel they’re losing out from an event. If we exclude Fortnite, that is very social but in addition significantly a game, the last time an app inspired such interest from people who weren’t on it was … maybe Snapchat? (Not really a coincidence that Snapchat’s audience skewed very young, too.)
And even though you, perhaps an anxious abstainer, may feel perfectly secure within your “choice” not to join that service, Snapchat has more daily users than Twitter, changed the path of its industry, and altered the way people get in touch with their phones. TikTok, now reportedly 500 million users strong, is not really so obvious in their intentions. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have them! Shall we?
The basic human explanation of TikTok. TikTok is an app to make and sharing short videos. The videos are tall, not square, like on Snapchat or Instagram’s stories, however you navigate through videos by scrolling up and down, like a feed, not by tapping or swiping side to side. Video creators have all sorts of tools at their disposal: filters as on Snapchat (and later on, everybody else); the ability to look for sounds to score your video. Users will also be strongly motivated to engage along with other users, through “response” videos or by means of “duets” – users can duplicate videos and add themselves alongside.
Hashtags play a surprisingly large role on TikTok. In more innocent times, Twitter hoped its users might congregate around hashtags in a never-ending number of productive pop-up mini-discourses. On TikTok, hashtags actually exist as a real, functional organizing principle: not for news, or even really anything trending anywhere else than TikTok, however for various “challenges,” or jokes, or repeating formats, or any other discernible blobs of activity.
TikTok is, however, a free of charge-for-all. It’s easy to make a video on TikTok, not just as a result of tools it gives users, but because of extensive reasons and prompts it gives you to suit your needs. You can choose from a tremendous range of sounds, from popular song clips to short moments from Television shows, YouTube videos or some other TikToks. You can join a dare-like challenge, or participate in a dance meme, or produce a joke. Or perhaps you can make fun of many of these things.
TikTok assertively answers anyone’s what must i watch using a flood. In the same way, the app provides lots of answers for the paralyzing what should I post? The result is an endless unspooling of material that folks, many very young, might be too self-conscious to share on Instagram, or they never could have come up with to begin with without a nudge. It can be hard to watch. It can be charming. It can be very, very funny. It really is frequently, inside the language widely applied outside the platform, from people on other platforms, extremely “cringe.”
TikTok can feel, for an American audience, a bit like a greatest hits compilation, featuring just the most engaging elements and experiences of its predecessors. This is correct, to some point. But TikTok – called Douyin in China, where its parent company relies – must also be understood as among the most favored of several short-video-sharing apps in that country. This can be a landscape that evolved both alongside as well as at arm’s length from the American tech industry – Instagram, for instance, is banned in China.
Underneath the hood, TikTok is a fundamentally different app than American users have tried before. It may feel and look like its friend-feed-centric peers, and you also can follow and be followed; of course you can find hugely popular “stars,” many cultivated by the company itself. There’s messaging. Users can and do use it like every other social app. However the various aesthetic and esswmy similarities to Vine or Snapchat or Instagram belie a core difference: TikTok is a lot more machine than man. In this way, it’s from your future – or at best a potential. And contains some messages for us.