History of TikTok
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a service that is for video-sharing and social networking. This ByteDance Company was founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012. It is all about sharing videos based on your talent and interests. A lot of video topics are portrayed on this application, including comedy, short dance, lip-sync, fashion, beauty, and many others. It was first launched in China as Douyin in September 2016, and it was only available to the Chinese population. It was later put available for other countries in 2017 for both iOS and Android users. It was available in the United States as musical.ly on August 2, 2018. Douyin is a similar application as TikTok, and the features are all the same. However, Douyin cannot work in any other country apart from China since it has got a separate server that runs it so that it complies with the Chinese censorship restrictions. The application allows users to create videos of a minimum of 3 seconds and a maximum of 60 seconds. It is available in over 75 languages of the world including, English, French, German, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Italian, Greek, Swedish, and many more.
TikTok and musical.ly merged in August. TikTok was ranked the most downloaded application in the US. This was history made by China since it became the first Chinese application to ever achieve such success in the US. TikTok has been downloaded over 80 million times in the US and 800 million times in the whole world. That’s magical, right? The National Football League (NFL) and TikTok announced their partnership on September 3, 2019. The NFL even made an account on TikTok, where they would market themselves through sponsored videos (Sarah, 2019).
TikTok spent up to 1 billion dollars to purchase musical.ly, which had already been in the market. This was done on 9 November 2017 (Liza & Rolfe, 2017). Musical.ly was an application that allowed users to create and share videos based on lip-sync and comedy. The merge ended musical.ly and created a much bigger platform for video sharing and networking that is now TikTok. It is an application that is worldwide except in China, where it is known as Douyin. It expanded in markets, and from a report made in 2018, it had managed to reach over 150 markets, and this was a great success over other existing social media applications like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
How it Gained Popularity
The current generation has a thirst for fun, networking, and easy video creation and what a good time for TikTok to be launched. It was just the perfect application that came at the ideal time when it was needed. Its rapid growth does not come as a surprise anyway. The perfect move that they did was to merge it with musicl.ly because this meant that it would start on a high note already. It already had a foundation built for it, and all that was needed was consistency and changes that would intrigue the target audience, which is the youths. This is also an aspect that they managed to hack since they are always adding more and more features in the application. Another important thing about this application is that it is available for free download, interesting, right? This means that once downloaded there are no in app purchases. What a great deal! These are some of the qualities that made the application even more popular.
Why I am Obsessed with TikTok
Allows You to Be Yourself
TikTok is an application that allows a person to be who they are in a very interesting way. It gives people a chance to showcase their talents and have fun while doing it. One can have the notion that they do not have a talent but shock on them, there is always something in TikTok that suits every individual. This is so because while scrolling down other user’s videos, be sure you’ll find something that suits your personality and you can use the same idea in a different way or you can mimic it. There is always no harm of mimicking and once the sound is available in your country, then you can use it. While allowing a person to be who they are, it gives the option of adding your own sound from your playlist while recording or even recording your actual sound. It totally does not have limits to anyone whatsoever. Another thing is you can choose the duration of time that you want your video to be as long as it is between 3-60 seconds long.
It Changes Every Time
No one wants something that is so cliché. Nothing on TikTok remains the same. The content is always changing and nothing is limited. There is always a new filter or a new challenge to participate in. As I had earlier mentioned, the application is very diverse and that gives it a very big platform to make things different every once in a while. This is a fact that actually intrigues me on a daily basis. There is no way you will find the same videos that you saw the day before or even the minute before reoccurring. This is where the obsession becomes intense because you will always want to see more and more videos, and before you know it, you’ve spent hours on the application.
Creates a Platform for Creativity
The TikTok application, through the feature of adding your videos, allows people to be creative in their way. You can portray creativity in all fields that you find interesting. There are videos on the application that go viral because of creativity. People do fancy creativity, and creative viewing video is simply the most satisfying thing. The creativity that is on this application is overwhelming. Trends on creativity are basically on any topic, including dance, fashion, lip-sync videos and vlogs, among others. When you feel like you can come up with a dance to a particular song you are at liberty to do it. People can then do your dance if they feel it is amazing to them and gives you the dance credits if they want to. There are also videos about drawing. How to draw things and paint in simple steps. Creativity is also portrayed through photography, whereby someone records how they can come up with good pictures. This boosts my obsession with the application.
Interesting Features and Trends
TikTok has got features that are so diverse, and there is always that filter, emoji, or trend that will wow you. The hashtags form the basis of the trends, and through participating in trends, you get a better experience with other people who also find the trend intriguing. Let’s say someone has made a video and you like it you wish you were there to do the video with them. The good news is that TikTok has a feature called ‘React’ that allows you to react to the videos you like. This is done so by providing a small window on the screen that can be moved to whatever place on the screen you wish. The video you are reacting to and the video itself are placed side by side. So, your viewers will know what you’re responding to. The application also has got speed adjustments ranging from 0.3х which is the slowest, then 0.5х which is slightly slower than the average speed, 1х is the normal human speed, 2х is a faster speed compared to the normal human speed and 3х is the fastest speed you can use while recording. The speed that I mostly prefer is 1х and 2х.
The application has got a privacy option. This means that a user can decide to keep their account private and the videos that they do will only be available to those people that they allow to see. You are at liberty to choose if you want any other specific user, or only your friends to interact with you through the comments section, direct messages, or even react or duet your videos. Your privacy is all in your hands. You can also choose to keep a limited amount of comments in the comment section. If you don’t want your account to be private, but you feel the need for a particular video being private, there is the option of making the video only available to you and your friends. This is a great deal that enhances my love for the application.
Link to Other Social Media Platforms
When you upload a video on the application, you have the option of choosing where else you’d like the video to be uploaded. The videos can be shared with your WhatsApp status, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even directly to individuals via the application itself or even WhatsApp. You can also enable the setting of saving your video to your phone’s gallery once you have uploaded it. So, this means that even without opening the application, you can still have access to videos that you have already done. Another thing is that you can link your Instagram and YouTube accounts to your TikTok account. This means that someone can access your Instagram and YouTube accounts through the application if you have already connected them. This method of linking other social media accounts has made it more accessible, and people are getting an increase in the figure of their followers in different platforms.
Drafts and Favourite Sounds
The application has the option of keeping videos in the drafts. The drafts are only available for you as a user to see. This means that you can record as many videos as you wish and choose from them the one that you see fit to be uploaded. The drafts also help you as a user to keep memories. There is also an option of putting a sound as a favourite. This means that you can hear a sound and keep it as a favourite so that you can use it for recording later on. This is applicable when you hear a sound that you can do, but you are not in the position to make the sound at the moment, so you save it for later use.
For Your Page
TikTok has got a page that is called the ‘For You’ page, and this page gives you the recommendations of videos with the sound that you are interested in. Since the application uses artificial intelligence, it can tell what suits you by the things that you search for, like, or those that you have interacted with. With this knowledge in hand, the application gives you recommendations of videos you might also be interested in that have almost the same content as those you searched or liked. So whatever your interest is, the application has got you covered with similar content.
Provides a Networking and Marketing Platform
TikTok is used as a networking and a marketing platform. There are so many products on the application that are marketed by the users. Users can use either market their products or get paid by other firms to market their products. This is done by using their content, or if it’s a fashion house, they can do videos while wearing their products and tagging them in the caption and or comment section. The firms usually approach the users that have many followers and those that have verified accounts.
In music, an artist can use someone who is active on TikTok and who has many followers to use their song while making a video. Since this person has got a good following, some of his/her followers will end up using the sound, and the followers of their followers will also do the same, and that is how the song gains popularity. From using the song on the application, one will be interested to know what the song is and who sang it, thus downloading it. I can confess that I have done this a lot of times. Most songs nowadays are first heard on the application before raising interest in someone who ends up downloading it. A perfect example is a user called Lauren Grey; she was the most followed person on the application until recently when Charli d’Amelio beat her to becoming the most followed TikTok user. Lauren Grey launched her music career through this application, and her songs are doing so well thanks to the application.
It is Educative and Entertaining
There is no doubt how the application can be entertaining. Comical, creative, and videos full of talent always pass as entertainment to me. The other surprising fact is that the videos are always different unless you go directly to a person’s page to view their videos. The videos on the ‘For You’ page is always different, and that is what keeps me glued on the screen. Watching other people do their hacks and getting to know how they managed to do their videos is educative. I have seen many beauty, fashion, health, and photography hacks, among others. They are being shown via the application. Some videos show the Do It Yourself (DIY) hacks, which are helpful in cases where there is no option but to handle the task on your own. It all depends on the field that you have an interest in. There are many instances in my life where I have had to use a hack that I picked from the application in my normal life. It’s also educative in the sense that people who do the videos likewise tend to show how they managed to do the video and share the knowledge. There is always something that one can pick from the application. My video recording skills have, for sure, enhanced only by using the application.
It is a Cohesive Factor
TikTok has been able to bring so many people together. There are many people who have been able to meet as a result of the application. This can happen due to the direct message feature that TikTok has. The feature allows you to send a message directly to the user. So, people have been able to link in terms of doing business, or for social satisfaction via the application. The videos that are available on the ‘For You’ page is also very diverse, and one gets to know about the culture and ways of other people. This increases a sense of acceptance and appreciation that we are all different and that our uniqueness makes us coexist in society.
What I Don’t Like About TikTok
Views versus Likes
The application can show you the number of people that viewed your video and the number of likes that that video has been able to gather. Of course, not everyone that views your video will like it, but when you see a video that you created has been viewed by so many people, yet the likes are very less you have a possibility of being depressed about it. You will start questioning your creativity, and this might affect someone’s view of life. What I think would have been better is the showcase of only the likes and leaving out the number of people who have viewed the video.
Community Guidelines Unfairness
The overall community guidelines on the application are sometimes unfair. A video might be pulled down for violating community guidelines while the same concept, when showcased by a different individual, does not get pulled down. It would have been fair if the guidelines applied to every single user without discriminating.
The Unavailability of Some Sounds in Other Countries
I have heard of other TikTok users from different countries complaining about certain sounds not being available in their countries. This is not fair since it is a limitation to someone’s creativity. What if I wanted to show how creatively I can dance to a particular song only to upload it, and the sound is removed because the song cannot be used in my country. That is a form of discrimination, and it is not fair. All sounds that are available for TikTok use need to be available to every single country. I mean, it is an application that is being used by many people in all the different countries of the world.
There have been cases of bullying that tend to go on in the application, and this is not good since a lot of people use the application. For instance, there was a dance trend that brought Charli d’Amelio to the limelight called ‘renegade’. People on the application, later on, came to realize that she was not the choreographer of the dance. This later on led to people talking ill about her in the comment section of her videos. They accused her of stealing the dance from the rightful choreographer. It was later on clarified that she just had no knowledge of the creator of the dance, and the bullying cooled down. On a brighter side, this bullying made her collaborate with different organizations such as the UN towards the positive usage of social media platforms.
Some Trends Take Longer to Reach Other Countries
There have been complaining that trends do not reach some countries earlier enough. Doing trends is what makes the application fun and also helps in accumulating more followers. So, when trends reach your country late, it puts you in a position where you’ll not have a following from other countries because when you do the trend, it would have already died down in their country. Trends are what make the application enjoyable.
Video quality in other countries
People in many countries complain about their video quality being reduced in the application. This is to means that when they do videos without using the application, the videos are of high quality. Still, when the videos are uploaded on TikTok, the quality is reduced. There is no bad feeling as seeing a video of a much lower quality than the one that your phone can produce.
Liza, L., & Rolfe, W. (2017, November 9). WSJ. Retrieved from Social-Media App Musical.ly Is Acquired for as Much as 1 Billion Dollars.
Sarah, P. (2019, September 3). TechCrunch. Retrieved from The NFL joins TikTok in multi-year partnership: https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/03/the-nfl-joins-tiktok-in-multi-year-partnership/