In a typical high schooler’s life, seeing someone without social media is a rare case. Students walking down the hallway with their eyes glued to a screen is considered the norm. Now, an app called TikTok is on the rise and is on its way to becoming a mainstream trend. Unlike Instagram or Snapchat, which are primarily for posting pictures or chatting with friends, TikTok is a platform for creating and sharing short music videos. Many use this app as a way to express themselves by dancing, singing, lip-syncing, making short comedy skits, and more. There are currently 500 million users on TikTok, and the number is still growing.
TikToks are not only fun to make, but they’re also addicting to watch. Ever since I downloaded the app on my phone, I’ve found myself scrolling for hours through my “For You” page, which is the TikTok equivalent to an Instagram feed. My weekly screen time shot up by almost three hours per day and my phone strangely seems to be in constant need of charging.
But I’m sure that it’s not just me. After spending so much time on TikTok, I began to notice how many people were talking about it in school on a daily basis. When a new viral trend starts on TikTok, such as the “Clock Woah,” it spreads like a virus. Everyone hops on the trend and suddenly, the “Clock Woah” is everywhere. People start practicing it religiously and there’s almost no going back to life before the new “woah.” Instead of seeing my peers glued to their screens in the hallways, they’re now practicing a dance that’s trending on TikTok.
This was the same case with Vine, a similar app that was soaring in popularity years ago. It was a social media platform, very similar to TikTok, where users posted 6-second looping video clips of anything they wanted to broadcast to the world. And just like TikTok, Vine gave rise to the best and worst viral videos of all time. It sparked a cultural renaissance, and we couldn’t live life without it. Vine impacted so many lives and gave laughs for the stupidest reasons. Plus, it was filled with original content, rather than people doing various challenges and only gaining fame by bandwagoning.
Even though Vine shut down in December 2016, its legacy has continued through TikTok. The two certainly have their differences, with TikTok having an even stronger emphasis on music in user videos. But although the execution may be different, the concept of sharing video content has stayed the same and has continued to influence the teenage social scene. And most importantly, the idea of giving users an opportunity to connect with others and have fun still remains. TikTok will only continue to grow, and along with its predecessor, it will help define a new future in video creation for teens.
Graphic: Jacob Baskin