Keeping Up with the Tok

Photo+by+cottonbro+from+Pexels

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Jamie Creasi, Online Staff Writer

TikTok was the social media platform that innumerable teens turned to at the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown back in April of 2020, with a 180% increase in users of ages 15-25. Just hitting one billion monthly users, Tiktok has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms ever. 

According to the Statista data company, 62% of the 2020 Tiktok audience was comprised of 10 to 29 year-olds. Ever since the start of TikTok, the target audience of the social media platform were Gen-Zers, like all of us. Notably, the “For you” page, generated by an algorithm that will base your feed off the videos you tend to interact with, offers a very personalized experience for most users. 

Nonetheless, there are certain trends on Tiktok that have allowed the platform to be so lively. 

  1. The “What’s living in your head rent-free?” challenge.  As the name suggests, you show a clip of a video that, well, lives in your head rent-free. These clips can be quite disturbing, but more so, quite hilarious. 
  2. The “Tell me something without actually *telling* me” challenge. One could argue that this trend is about showing rather than telling, just like what the English department has been trying to teach us all. This challenge involves showing a specific quality that would instantly allow an audience to recognize the message. 
  3. The “Zoom meeting gone wrong!” challenge. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down schools all over the world, relatable content on Zoom’s role in education was (and still is!) extremely commonly viewed on Tiktok. Videos such as “when you accidentally leave your camera on” are only some examples of videos that will give the audience a good laugh, and if they are unfortunate, a flashback. 

 

These are only a few trends that have been going viral on Tiktok, some reaching over 100 million views in total. But in the midst of the entertainment that Tiktok provides, it is important to recognize how Tiktok has impacted our own community. 

Other than entertainment, Tiktok is also a platform where knowledge and news are spread. As sophomore Amanda Chen noted, “you can find all different kinds of relatable content, as well as helpful tips on clothing, makeup, hair, etc.” Junior Ava Fong agreed that “Tiktok is definitely an awesome space to make and share creative ideas, whether that be art, video, photos, music, or dance.” In addition, many politicians, such as Kansas State Legislator Christina Haswood and Vice President Kamala Harris, have turned to Tiktok as a way to attract support from members of our generation. Many teachers and educators have also joined TikTok as a fun way to keep students engaged.  

However, there are also inevitable downsides of TikTok as a social media platform. Fong continued, “Tiktok has definitely made the younger generations’ attention spans a bit shorter, which means younger people will most likely be having more and more trouble appreciating longer forms of media. Although this is not a huge problem, it is definitely something that should be noted.” As sophomore Maya Sethurman stated, “Tiktok only too often portrays a falsified and distorted reality of unrealistic beauty standards. It can really negatively affect teenagers, the most vulnerable on the platform.” Chen added on, emphasizing that “it is also dangerous in the sense that it can easily serve as a distraction.” 

It is evident that TikTok has its positive and negative aspects, and it is up to the audience to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs. Regardless, the exponential rise of TikTok has allowed it to serve as a powerful influence in our community, and looking at the road that TikTok is heading on, it will continue to do so.

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