TikTok brings young creators to the center

Emily Johnston

TikTok, a video-sharing app that is growing in popularity, is exactly what youth culture needs.

TikTok is a social network owned by ByteDance and was launched in 2017.

Since its initial release, the app has garnered 1 billion active users, according to a June 2019 CNN article.

“At first I downloaded it just because I wanted to see what the hype was about, and I got sucked in instantly,” sophomore Isabel Wilder said.

What makes TikTok unique from other short video apps that came before it, such as Vine, is how it uses music and dance to communicate both serious and silly messages.

Although the Chinese government has been known to take down videos that are too politically sensitive, TikToks can avoid censorship because of their surface level appearance, spreading important messages along the way.

TikTok is a global network. Forty-one percent of TikTok users are from outside of China, where the app was created, and between the ages of 16-24, according to an August 2019 GlobalWebIndex article.

With the app being used by a younger audience there is, of course, going to be backlash from adults about the app.

While it is easy to brush it off as an app full of immature jokes for an immature audience, TikTok actually proves that it is not immature.

Rather, it represents the younger generation communicating mass trends through social media, much like older generations spreading dance trends like the Jitterbug.

“I tried making a TikTok in the dining hall once, and I definitely got some looks,” Wilder said.

On the For You page, the page on the app where popular videos show up in feeds, it is not all jokes. Topics such as politics and history are popular.

In fact, one popular account is the Washington Post. Dave Jorgenson, the Washington Post’s 28-year-old video editor, uses the TikTok account to engage with Gen Z.

Older generations are realizing the possibility of sharing information on TikTok.

The creativity in making content also allows artists to thrive on the app.

Dance routines, painting tutorials, singing videos and fashion clips are among some of the most popular content.

Hypothetically, TikTok can help anyone go viral. The app’s algorithm enables people from different walks of life to become famous based on chance.

Users can create their own sounds, which allows for independent recording artists to get their music out there.

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” would have never gone multi-platinum if not for the dance routines it inspired on TikTok, according to a May 2019 Forbes article.

TikTok inspires Gen Z, so I am happy it is a part of today’s youth culture.