On Monday, September 27th, TikTok announced that there are 1 billion people who are creating and sharing videos with each other via their streaming and social media platform. This is a huge milestone for the company as it continues to grow in popularity and influence people across all ages and interest groups.
What makes people flock to TikTok?Read More »
Some primarily use TikTok for the funny videos, of which there is no shortage. Whether it’s a dancing and lip-sync video set to the week’s hottest song or quirky short comedy sketches, creators and entertainers of all kinds have found an innovative and flexible new medium with this format.
Dance is a popular video category because of the ease with which users can add music to their content. With the help of filters and other convenient editing tools, it’s never been easier for people to physically express themselves and distribute it to all their friends in moments.
TikTok has also been a huge asset for musicians as well as other types of performers and artists. Anyone who is trying to get original material out to a wider audience is doing themselves a great service by joining the TikTok wave. With all the people who are already using the app, it puts your original work in an environment where it’s all the more likely to be seen and appreciated. It’s especially been helpful for those who live in smaller communities and don’t have physical access to wider audiences.
The app also features a “For You” feed that uses an algorithm to give you exactly what you want to see, similar to what Facebook does. People can really on TikTok to give them something entertaining when it’s time for their five-minute break and there’s no time to scroll endlessly for a funny or interesting video. Users often find new things related to their personal interests through this feed, even discovering new people and communities to engage with.
And as far as engaging with like-minded individuals, TikTok is excellent for forming groups. People who are interested in the same thing can share their common interests and interact in a way that others without their specific fixations with, say, sports or video games, simply wouldn’t understand. With these communities having a place to come together and share content, more fringe groups are having their voices heard than ever before.
Of course, there are always new viral trends that pop up every day. In the lightning-speed internet culture of the modern world, it’s fun to be able to understand the videos that all the kids are talking about and making memes of. Having something that everybody understands and can appreciate helps foster a sense of community among everyone from neighbors to coworkers to classmates.
Additionally, many people turn to TikTok for words of encouragement and consolation. Some users of the app have essentially become a new wave of motivational speakers, inspiring their followers to be their best selves and stick it out through hardships. This has been the trend with many life-coach-esque influencers who use the app, but it’s also popular among workout coaches, athletes, and other fitness enthusiasts. No matter what you’re driven to do, there is someone on TikTok who can help to push you to the next level, and that’s why many people use it on a daily basis.
The TikTok Timeline
TikTok was founded in 2016 when it was launched by the parent company, Bytedance. In China, the app is known as Douyin.
In 2017, Bytedance acquired Musical.ly, another video app. When Bytedance then merged these two apps together in 2018, the international brand of TikTok that everyone knows and loves was born.
In January of 2018, TikTok had 55 million users around the world, according to Reuters. By July 2020, that number had spiked to 689 million. That might seem like small change to Facebook’s 2.9-billion-strong active user community around the world, but such a dramatic leap in numbers is a massive feat for a social media platform.
Rivals Can’t Compete
With any great tech idea, there’s always bound to be copycats as well as others who independently created a similar concept. From Instagram Reels to YouTube Shorts, other video and social media platforms have been eagerly attempting to latch onto the same kind of success that TikTok has found.
The success of these imitators has been variable, largely depending on users who are already comfortable with their apps as faithful users. But in many cases, this introduction to short, entertaining videos is merely enticing people to the app that has mastered the formula and has already won the favor of the most social-media-active generation.
In 2020, President Trump made threats to ban the app if it didn’t transfer its ownership to a company in the U.S. The reason he cited was concerns about cybersecurity issues with such a prolific video and social media app that is rooted in foreign soil. In order to appease this outspoken president, TikTok had agreed to form a partnership with Walmart and Oracle by selling its operations in the U.S. to these two companies.
This partnership and sale might not actually happen after all, though, now that a judge has made a ruling that effectively postpones this dreaded TikTok ban. Meanwhile, President Biden has overturned the ban that Trump proposed. But this doesn’t mean that the cybersecurity concerns are over: The Biden administration is still fixed on reevaluating how serious of a risk to national security an app like TikTok could present to the United States.
It seems unlikely that TikTok will ever be banned in the U.S. On the contrary, as its popularity continues to grow, this social media video platform is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.
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