A TikTok Phenomenon


Angelique Gingras, Author, Editor

Every few years, a new app comes onto the market and redefines the era. This school year, a new social media platform has taken over Calvert High, giving students an outlet to connect with others through video-creating, including music, dance, and voice-over. This app is TikTok.

TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service that was released in 2016 by ByteDance, a company based in Beijing, China.  The app allows users to create a video of themselves with music playing the background. People can choose from a wide variety of music genres and filters, and can record videos up to 60 seconds long. Like other social media platforms, the app allows users to set their privacy settings and generates suggestions of videos one might like.

There’s no doubt that TikTok has become an international sensation. After launched to markets outside of China in September 2017, the app quickly rose to the ranks, becoming the most downloaded app within one year. In 2019, TikTok earned the spot as the seventh most downloaded app of the decade, with more than 800 million users worldwide.

In our community, I studied students’ use of TikTok to see how our school’s figures compared to worldwide statistics. I surveyed 62 people ages 13-21, and determined that 70% of them have or have used the TikTok app. Out of these users, only 35% actually upload videos to the app, while the rest presumably use it for the entertainment. Lastly, I asked all participants if they knew someone who has a TikTok; 100% of them responded yes.

So, the question is, Why has this app become so popular? The first theory is that the app is an easy distractor. As soon as users open TikTok, they are greeted by a “For You” page, which features a variety of videos that can captivate a person’s attention span within seconds.

Another theory of its popularity is that this social media platform is different than others because it is much more genuine. Unlike Instagram and Snapchat, TikTok is fueled by people’s desire for creativity through non-conforming principles. In other words, many TikTok users take advantage of this platform to be themselves, less reserved and free of judgement in their performances.

The use of TikTok has become a phenomenon because its popularity has reached beyond its users. I personally, do not have the TikTok app, but have learned so much about it through people I’ve talked to. I’ve learned three dances without seeing them for myself, and they are really fun.

I think TikTok is a great app to use if you would like to connect with people and try something new, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason for someone to show their true colors. Every social media platform should allow people to be true about their feelings and free of judgement. Comment below about your thoughts of the TikTok phenomenon.