It’s not hard to see how divisive 2020 has been.
Between all the chaos that’s run rampant within our society, it’s been difficult to see if there’s anything holding us together. Well it just so happens that there is a glue connecting the human race and keeping us unified. It’s not sports. It’s not comedy. Heck, it’s not even music. However, it’s a slight combination of those hobbies. Brought together by an app that’s named after a clock’s onomatopoeia, it’s the internet sensation that’s captivated millions of users.
TikTok is a mobile application that saw its worldwide release on August 2, 2018 after merging with the now defunct app Musical.ly. Owned by ByteDance Ltd., it has over 800 million active users and was the seventh-most downloaded app of the 2010s decade. Considering it only had 17 months to reach this feat, it’s a testament to just how dominant this platform is.
But why did TikTok get so big? What led to millions upon millions of people creating accounts to take part in the app’s fun? Well it started with its infamous 2018 merger with Musical.ly, an app that allowed users to post 15 second clips of them singing. Both applications were under the control of ByteDance, but ran in separate markets (Musical.ly in the U.S. and Tik Tok in international countries). After some consideration, the company realized the best plan of action would be to just bring the two together. Once they officially shut Musical.ly down, all of its users automatically had their accounts transferred over to TikTok.
While both apps had parallels to one another, what made ByteDance pick TikTok was its ability to branch out. Whereas Musical.ly confined users to just making singing videos, Tik Tok gave people the option to post videos of practically anything. As long as it could be presented within 3 to 60 seconds, the content was fair game. This allowed users to publish sports clips, comedy sketches, and most notably, dance routines.
The craze of choreographing drills to perform on TikTok is what gave the app its biggest boost into the spotlight. Offering up dances such as “The Git Up”, “7 Rings”, and “The Renegade” (which has been performed on the app 29.7 million times as of March 2020), it gave users the chance to show off their talents. I am certain that while a number of current middle schoolers struggle with entry-level trigonometry, many can break out the “Say So” dance without second guessing a single move.
But as I mentioned in the beginning, it’s not just the dancing that’s won TikTok its universal praise. There are high school boys posting their football highlights, suburban moms discussing their political beliefs, high school teachers sharing their tips for the classroom, and so much more. However, the TikTok demographic that appeals to me the most is the app’s comedic offerings.
Now, it’s not necessarily difficult to make me laugh. I’m a simple man who is easily amused. That’s why it’s not uncommon for me to spend hours on the app cackling at the latest skits and storytimes from creators such as N1ckW0olley, Adamsheey, Ben_Brainard, and many others. The app is able to supply a unique and diverse set of comedic clips that can accommodate to almost any user of the platform.
It’s amazing to see all the great features TikTok has to offer, but how is it unifying us? Well think of the situation our country is currently facing. We’re in the middle of a once in a lifetime pandemic while simultaneously fighting against the hate and prejudice that’s plagued this nation for centuries. In a normal year, we may put aside our differences by watching sporting events or going to the cinema. However, due to social distancing and coronavirus precautions, many of America’s normal pastimes have been put on hold.
Yet, one activity that requires nothing more than a mobile device is watching TikTok. And when someone finds a video they really enjoy, it’s likely for them to share it on another social media platform such as Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. This gives others the opportunity to enjoy it as well, and share it with their friends, who will share it with their friends, and-so-forth. TikTok is bringing joy to those who’ve had troubles finding the silver lining in 2020.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, an introvert or extrovert, Democrat or Republican. With more than one million clips being viewed on the app daily, it’s certain that there’s a video for everyone to enjoy. TikTok is just a reliable source of serotonin for those who just can’t find happiness in the day.
I’m not about to deny that 2020 has been rough, and I doubt anyone is going to oppose that statement. Yet, if we’re gonna’ be stuck in this hellacious year, we might as well have something to keep us entertained. The world isn’t even close to being back in a normal state, but until it is, at least we have TikTok to keep us company.