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Real Talk on TikTok

TikTok is often compared to its predecessors, Vine and Music.ly. This has definitely contributed to TikTok’s troublesome reputation. Vine was absolutely amazing and nothing can truly compare to it. Even two years after Vine’s shutdown, I still quote my favorites. Music.ly, on the other hand, had its own problematic reputation. Many only think of Music.ly as that app with the lip-syncing f***boys. So, when these two very different things are brought together in one app, you don’t know what to expect.

TikTok is honestly an amazing app. It takes a lot of the good elements from both Vine and Music.ly to create one of the best social media apps in some aspects. I’m not going to lie, it’s extremely addicting. I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself scrolling through the “For You” page for long (like, really long) periods of time.

Although I overall really like TikTok, there are both positive and negative things about this app. I spoke with a TikTok creator about their experience and what they liked about the app.

One of the biggest positives about TikTok is how the algorithm works. The algorithm allows for any creator to end up on the “For You” page.

i can’t believe i’m saying this but tik tok has, by far, the best algorithm of any social media platform. every single user has an equal opportunity to have their content seen & go viral, AND they haven’t completely sold out to billion dollar advertisers… yet. ?

— James Charles (@jamescharles) October 23, 2019


Algorithms are something that heavily impact the usability of an app. Many other social media apps – such as Instagram or Youtube – don’t have algorithms that allow small creators to reach a wide range of users. This prevents growth and creativity in many aspects. TikTok users are able to make the content they want knowing they always have the chance to get on the “For You” page. This has led to the innumerable niches on TikTok that include cosplayers, dancers, story time creators, comedians, actors, etc.

The ability to make a wide range of content brings both bad and good things. Many of the negative aspects of TikTok are associated with some of the content on the app. First is how a lot of young teenagers are hypersexualizing themselves.

A lot of people like to make memes comparing teenagers and middle schoolers of today to themselves when they were younger. But when you actually think about how a lot of these younger people are both dressing and acting its concerning. I’m not trying to slut shame or police the way people dress or act; I just feel that the world is stripping the youth of their innocence more and more and it’s unnecessary.

Also, while it shouldn’t be the young person’s responsibility, hypersexualizing oneself does bring a lot of unsafe and negative attention from adults and pedophiles. Many young creators have made content about the negative attention they receive, and it’s a little disheartening.

Photo Credit: Heavy.

Of course, this isn’t a trend solely on TikTok. Still, I feel that with creators like Danielle Cohn, who are only 15 but look they’re in their mid-twenties, it’s setting the wrong example for other young people.

The other bad content trend of TikTok is cultural appropriation and insensitivity. A popular trend has been POV videos. Creators make videos that puts the viewer in a certain role. A common one is the viewer being a new student and talking to the “ghetto white person.” The creator then uses “black voice” and “ghetto language.” It only serves to perpetuate racist ideas of people of color. It’s, in essence, a version of black face. It’s obvious that when using “ghetto language,” someone is trying to “act black.”

Also, some of the popular dance trends and f***boy movements incorporate gang signs. I have come across a few videos talking about how some white suburban creators are using gang signs unknowingly in their videos. It’s just crazy to think that people could be going around throwing gang signs for a dumb TikTok video and getting hurt. It hasn’t happened to my knowledge, though it has a high likelihood with so many creators just adopting these moves without proper research or knowledge.

Even with this negative content, there is still so much more positive content. There are many creators celebrating body positivity, supporting people with disabilities, and producing LGBTQIA+ positive content. Also, with the many different niches on the app, everyone has a place. Whether you’re a cosplayer or like musical theatre (which became really popular on the app), you can find content that fits your interests.

There are so many trends that become popular on the app and people are extremely creative, so instead of seeing hundreds of the same thing, there are so many iterations of one trend. My personal favorite trend is the #okboomer trend.

The best part about the content on TikTok is that it’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen. People post the most random stuff and sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.

So, I know that TikTok gets a bad rap as being Music.ly’s offspring or the generic brand Vine. However, I think that you should give it a chance. There is some really funny content and I’m sure you’ll get addicted like the rest of us.

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MyChalia is a freshman majoring in English Education in the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University. She has a passion for education and social justice, as well as creating a loving and accepting community for all regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, etc. MyChalia also has a passion for reading and creative writing. She can be found lost in the isles of a Barnes n' Noble or chilling in a random Boston cafe drinking iced coffee.
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