Out of all the social media apps, TikTok should be the least of our worries. While most platforms are used to showcase only the glamorous parts of our lives, TikTok allows us to take a comedic, inclusive, and non-judgmental approach to sharing content online.
TikTok allows its users to create and post short videos of themselves which often feature music in the background. Much like Instagram and Snapchat, the app provides tools to edit the videos such as filters, audio effects, and speed adjustments.
The app has surged in popularity this past year, surpassing Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat in Quarter 3 2019 App Store and Google Play installs, and, as Sam mentioned, currently has about 750 million active users according to data from research site Sensor Tower.
Before I downloaded this app, I was under the same assumption as many non-users: TikTok is just a place for tweens to post pointless, cringe-worthy lip syncing videos. However, once I made an account, I quickly understood the hype.
I became immersed in a community like no other that I had been apart of before–an accepting circle that encouraged me to share all parts of my life, no matter how ugly. I was able to connect with teenagers that were open to talk about common Gen Z issues such as mental health, college, and climate change. Most importantly, I was able to connect with people dealing with the same personal problems as me.
Alessandro Bogliari, Co-Founder of The Influencer Marketing Agency and a writer for Noteworthy-The Journal Blog, published an article going into depth about the importance of the TikTok community (TikTok Has A Great Community: Here’s Why). Bogliari stumbled across a video of a user sharing how much TikTok has impacted him. The user captions his video, “The day before I joined TikTok, I almost ended my life… I’m so happy to still be here today.” A few of the comments on the video shared a similar message, one user wrote, “that’s weird, this is exactly what I was going through before I joined tik tok”; another one stated, “tiktok is a lifesaver”; as well as “wowow Tiktok actually has an effect on people, I’m glad it helped you, and that you are okay now 🙂”.
This community is important for young social media users. Other popular social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are often a place to feel left out—we’ve all experienced it. Your friend posts a video of your group hanging out without you on their Snapchat story, leaving you wondering why you weren’t invited.
TikTok counteracts that feeling of exclusion, giving you a place to help you deal with everyday troubles, doubts, and insecurities.
This app is more than a place to post videos of yourself dancing to Lottery by K Camp, it is a support network.
TikTok also provides a framework that makes it easier for people to create—especially if they don’t know where to start. The constant flow of new trends inspires users of all ability to film their own videos. This unique style is captivating a younger audience, building a platform for a new generation of creators.
In a world that revolves around the Internet, it is nearly impossible to keep children and young teenagers off of social media, and it is not a secret that TikTok’s audience is on the younger side. In the TikTok guidelines, you only have to be 13 years old to make an account. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
I think that inspiring the newest generations to get on a friendly app and produce something of their own is an acceptable way to utilize social media. TikTok encourages them to adventure into discovering their artistic voice early on by giving them access to easy-to-replicate trends and dances.
Although this platform is often rumored to be overly addictive, in reality, only 29 percent of monthly users open TikTok every day according to MediaKix. In 2019 as a whole, internet users approximately spent 153 minutes on social media a day (for more about time spent on social media, click here). Based on data averages, TikTok takes up a mere 34 percent of daily social media time.
The surging popularity of TikTok is something to embrace, not ridicule. The platform’s inclusive nature allows all users to feel as if they are apart of a real community while sharing harmless videos. Don’t knock it until you download it.