Tik Toks take over teens’ feeds

Junior+Clare+Miller+routinely+posts+videos+on+TikTok.+She+once+posted+a+clip+recorded+during+Homecoming+spirit+week+at+MHS+that+received+1.1+million+views.+This+fact+made+Newspaper+advisor+Rob+Hamilton+question+all+his+life+choices.+

Junior Clare Miller routinely posts videos on TikTok. She once posted a clip recorded during Homecoming spirit week at MHS that received 1.1 million views. This fact made Newspaper advisor Rob Hamilton question all his life choices.

Clare Miller

Riley Coesens, Editor in Chief

Originally made as Musical.ly in 2014, TikTok has become the trendiest social media platform among all age groups internationally. With more than 1 billion users across more than 150 countries, this app has risen in fame significantly since its rebranding in 2016; but why? As people across the nation are locked indoors with hours of free time, TikTok has become a staple to pass the time for many. Users can create an account to record entertaining videos to share with others, including participating in dance challenges, singing, skits, comedy, or creating other original content. “It appeals to so many people because it is an app with all ages, teens, college [students], families, and you can really connect with others,” Junior Clare Miller shared. “It is a way to express yourself and feel comfortable because there are a million other kids doing the same thing as you.” 

Though there are many reasons someone might consider downloading the app, the general consensus is that TikTok fosters positivity and sparks joy in viewers and creators world wide. “During quarantine and being stuck inside, it’s an entertaining way to pass time and get a couple laughs in,” said Junior Addison Kryzyak. Junior Alex Herndon also appreciates the upbeat nature of TikTok’s principles; she mainly enjoys the app for three reasons: the cute animal clips, funny videos, and the enjoyable dance challenges. The unique realm of creativity and options for viewers and creators to partake in makes the app stand out: “I think the main purpose of the app is to make people smile,” Herndon added, “but unlike other apps where people just post pictures or promote things, a lot of the content on TikTok is original.” Content made for TikTok can open doors for people to explore interests and meet new internet friends as well. The app features a “for you” page that offers suggestions to view based on a person’s past click history. There, users can specialize what they prefer to see, and follow producers of various types of material.

The fast-moving app also recommends popular creators or those who have gained a following from their clips. Stars such as Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, Loren Gray, Sam Hurley, and Chase Hudson have taken over the app with entertaining videos for millions of people to enjoy. As it is with any form of media, some viewers have a more negative perspective of the roles these people have on today’s pop culture; most of these TikTok titans use their status from elsewhere or immense wealth to have a higher status on the app, flaunting unrealistic perceptions of youth for the masses. Regardless, others have a more uplifting view toward famous TikTokers, such as Miller, who once posted a clip recorded during Homecoming “Spirit Week Teen Beach Movie” at MHS that received 1.1 million views and nearly 200,000 likes. 

“I think if people work hard and make funny and good content and are themselves, they deserve to be ‘famous,’” she said. “At the end of the day, they may be labeled as famous, but they are just normal people posting videos.” 

TikTok critiques often not only judge the program based on what they personally experience with it, but also their exposure to it through peers. Herndon, for example, initially refused to engage with the app because she isn’t “a bandwagon person,” but later decided to because of feedback from friends, teammates, and family. Others simply find the extensive amount of dance challenge clips to be boring or annoying to dig through in order to uncover other videos. Regardless, TikTok gives people the freedom to explore, make, and upload endless varieties of entertainment, “due to how wide the platform is to create,” as explained by Kryzyak. “People can create a wide array of videos that will allow everyone to have something they can watch and enjoy.”

As is common with any form of mass broadcasting, negativity can be found within the harsh comments of those who do not value TikTok’s distinct online presence. In spite of this, it should be up to viewers to spread constructive, kind responses to creators, as well as be open to new ideas for oneself or others on the app–after all, it’s just for fun! Besides, during our isolation, TikTok provides yet another opportunity to virtually communicate positivity with friends, family, and even strangers from miles away. “It actually takes a lot of courage to post and be able to get past all of the negative, hateful things people say,” stated Herndon. “We shouldn’t be spreading hate and negativity, we should be building each other up!”