What the hell is TikTok?

Unless you have been living in a cave without access to 4G or Wi-Fi, you will have likely heard of TikTok, but do you know what it is? If the answer to that question is no, let me be the first to reassure you that you are not alone.

What is TikTok?


A simple explanation of TikTok is that it is an app that allows the user to create and share short-form mobile videos. Creators can make and share looping videos that are between 15 and 60 seconds in length, showcasing anything from the ordinary to the outright peculiar. The platform has pretty impressive editing capability and boasts a wide range of filters and special effects, not to mention a massive music library that allows the user to score their video for maximum effect.

So, are TikTok videos just teenagers lip-synching?


You could be forgiven for thinking that this is just an advanced lip-syncing selfie app used by teens. We’re not judging, that’s what we thought too. Afterall, TikTok bought out it’s U.S rival Musical.ly in 2017, which was indeed a lip-syncing selfie app used by teens. There is no doubt that there is certainly an element of that on the platform, but the content on TikTok is far more varied than you may think. It would be surprising if the content wasn’t varied when you consider it has a rather impressive 800 million active monthly users.

From comedic skits to viral challenges, like The Tonight Show’s, Jimmy Fallon’s #TumbleweedChallenge this app is trying and actually succeeding in building a community. Users are strongly encouraged to engage with each other through “response” videos or “duet” videos — which is when users can duplicate videos and add themselves alongside.

Why is TikTok so popular?


In short… It’s fun. The TikTok app relies on positivity and whimsy in a way that other social media platforms don’t. It’s also tuned-in to the fact that, due to the sheer volume of information we consume online, our attention spans are getting shorter and I don’t know about you, but 15 seconds of content is about all I can handle.

What makes the TikTok stand out from the rest is that the creators are primarily ordinary people finding fun and yes, at times, stupidity in their ordinary lives. Rather than being a platform that demands perfection, it demands realism and that is proving to be highly addictive. Even vacuuming is entertaining on TikTok.  

 As with all social media, celebrities and brands are starting to jump on the bandwagon, but TikTok demands an irreverence and self-deprecation that other social media platforms don’t. This might be why the platform seems to particularly suit the sense of humour of celebs like Will Smith.

If celebrities and brands want to use TikTok they have to be über creative and not make us feel like we are being marketed to, which in a social media landscape that feels like it is dominated by celebrity endorsements and self-serving marketing messages is really refreshing. 

Anyway, that’s what we think. What do you think?