TikTok: An Epidemic

Initially, we all downloaded it as a "joke." Sounds like Tinder, right? Not even six months later, I'm spending over 12 hours a week on an app I downloaded as a joke. (Don't judge me for how much time I spend on TikTok… perhaps you should check your weekly TT usage. TEA.) Saturday nights often consist of scrolling through videos and giggling with my roommates, or there are those days where I come back from class and immediately watch TikTok. How did I ever survive without this app?

TikTok was originally known as Musicial.ly, an app where people could unleash their hidden lip-syncing and dancing talents. In 2018, a Chinese tech company, ByteDance, bought Musicial.ly and combined it with its app, resulting in more than just an app, but a masterpiece: TikTok. ByteDance describes its app as "the leading destination for short-form mobile video," and TikTok strives to "inspire creativity and bring joy." With more than a billion downloads, it sure does bring joy because FSU students cannot get enough.

By enabling ANYONE to be a "creator" and providing an outlet for kids to express their passions and interests without judgment, TikTok became a virtual sanctuary, no wonder it's so popular! There's no stress of not being considered "funny" or "cute," kids post videos that cater to their humor. It appeals to everyone by enabling real members of any niche to release videos. Since everyone has an equal opportunity to make it on the "For You Page," the first thing you see when you open the app, it is almost guaranteed that these "creators" will find people with similar tastes. It's unfathomable how one app can foster such a sense of connectivity and relatedness among its demographic.

The For You Page is curated based on your preferences found through videos you have previously watched and/or "liked." Through this data, TikTok recommends videos that you might enjoy. When featured on the For You Page, producers can obtain even more likes and followers. These followers become fans that tend to stay loyal to the creators that they find humorous. The For You Page has made creators hungry to become a viral sensation, or, as TikTok calls it, "verified." Almost all users strive to become verified because only the most "authentic, popular and influential" users receive this honorable award.

I’m not gonna lie; I had reservations about this whole TikTok thing. I just thought it was another app attempting to make up for the loss of  Vine. Because like most people, when Vine died, so did a part of me. I was devastated. I thought “There goes yet another part of my childhood” as Vine’s six-second user-created videos were a big part of my adolescence. Okay, I’m being melodramatic. I get that it’s not catastrophic, but just know I was very upset when it died. Some would dub TikTok as “Vine 2.0” but I’d say that’s a stretch. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but Vine was the original and as such, it set the bar high and is not easily replaceable. (RIP Vine 2013-2017) For now, TikTok will suffice as I learn the dances in my dorm room so I can perform them at the clubs and at tailgates.

After dealing with the everyday pressures of life, TikTok is an easy way to unwind and relax, while laughing and releasing endorphins. Whether it involves getting a song stuck in your head while memorizing funky dances created by Charli D’Amelio (the 15-year-old TikTok star who claims she seriously DOESN’T get why she gets the hype, IYKYK ) or creating a ROTF worthy meme video, TikTok is the "perfect time-waster" for our generation.

charli damelio

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