In 2017, an app called Musical.ly, which was used for creating 15-second editable lip-syncing videos, was relaunched into a nearly identical app called TikTok. The content on TikTok quickly changed into something further from Musical.ly and closer to the formerly popular app, Vine.
In 2019 TikTok really took off as it had nearly 800 million downloads over the course of the year, jumping from 269th on the app store to 4th, and remaining in the top 20 ever since. In the beginning, TikTok’s user base was mainly comprised of teenagers. However, as the app continues to grow, more people of all ages are joining TikTok to create and share content including dances, DIYs, comedy skits and much more.
In December of 2019 I finally gave in and downloaded the app to see what it was all about. To my surprise, I quickly fell in love with the funny and relatable videos that are shared on TikTok. Though I have yet to make my own TikTok, I’ve found that the app is a good place for some light-hearted entertainment, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to providing entertainment, TikTok allows users to see how others around the world are coping with COVID-19 through short videos. It is especially interesting to see how other students are reacting to post-secondary classes going online. It was written best on The Goods by Vox: “TikTok is useful as a place to see how other people are living through this extremely unprecedented crisis.”
Others say that TikTok is proving to be a good way to remain active during the increased time spent indoors as there are always hundreds of new dances to learn and perform on the app.
Despite the many sides of TikTok that I do enjoy, it is safe to say that the app has not grown without controversy. There are many concerns surrounding the safety of the app, especially for the younger audience. I have also found that TikTok attracts an overwhelming amount of negativity especially in the comment sections of videos on the “For You Page”. But, navigating through hate and negativity is sadly a part of most social media platforms these days.
Overall, I think TikTok is helpful in pulling people through this challenging time as it strengthens feelings of connection and when all else fails it’s always there for a good laugh. If you download the app, be sure to share your videos with us on Facebook or Instagram, @ubcophoenix.