Why TikTok?

Why+TikTok%3F

Romi Chaovat ’24

There are many social media outlets, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, that all serve one purpose: to connect the user with friends or even strangers who share common interests. When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook, he wanted to connect people through online networking, using ideas that were important to the masses like dating status and interests or hobbies. Facebook grew to become the biggest social media app with a substantial 2.7 billion users. About 22% of the world population is on the app. Unfortunately for them, while years passed, other competing social media apps that were virtually the same concept emerged. In 2007, Twitter became popular, and in 2010, Instagram usage surged. Instagram was so similar to Facebook, that it was surprising it became such a significant social media platform. The same could be said about the newly founded social media app, TikTok, that has grown over the past year to become one of the most well-known apps in the world today.     

TikTok is a social media app created in 2016 by a company called ByteDance. It has become hugely popular for teenagers over the past year. As of today, it has a total of over one billion users. It took TikTok about 2.5 times faster to reach a billion users than Instagram which has been around six years longer than TikTok. TikTok is used to create 15 to 30-second videos about someone’s day, make viral dances, or anything else someone wants to create. People use TikTok daily to make videos with their friends. It became so attractive to people because they use it to be creative or to see short bursts of videos that become a small distraction in their somewhat busy days. The videos’ length improved TikTok’s ratings since it holds peoples’ attention for just the right amount of time. According to the Times magazine, research was conducted to show the average attention span of people born after the 2000s. It showed that the average attention span is about eight seconds which is around the same time as a video on TikTok. The videos keep the attention of people and increase the app’s overall usage. Simone Shatzkes ’24 explained, “When I have a bit of homework and want to take a break, I just go on TikTok.”

The majority of Ramaz students who are on TikTok make videos of themselves dancing as opposed to making comical videos. Since their friends are also on TikTok, they most likely know the biggest TikTok dances that are trending on the app that week. It is an enjoyable activity for friends to do together. It can create friendships for people who otherwise would not have anything in common. Many students at Ramaz have said that they use TikTok as a social activity in between classes or during lunch. During breaks, students go to the bathrooms, auditorium, or stairwell to dance. There is no doubt that students enjoy TikTok, but sometimes it can become addictive. Spending an excess amount of time on the app is not ideal for most students so some choose to not to even download the app. Ashley Behm ’24 said, “I don’t want to waste my time on TikTok because I know I will get addicted.” While some students find TikTok as a negative distraction, the main consensus is it is a favorable way to have fun. 

The For You page shows videos from famous creators such as Charlie D’amelio to smaller creators with less than 100 followers. Since it ranges like this, the For You page gives a chance for anyone to get famous through one viral video. The more someone posts, the more likely it is for their videos to get more views. That is what happened with Charlie D’amelio. After one viral video, she became the most followed person on TikTok with almost 100 million followers. She was just a regular student and gained instant fame, which many hope will happen to them one day as well.

Being famous is very appealing to younger users on TikTok, but in the end, their success comes down to one main thing and it is not luck. It is a simple and efficient way to have fun whether one is making videos or watching them. TikTok is used to connect people to their friends and followers: it is  a place for people to express themselves in a way that is more interactive than Instagram or any other social media outlet to date.