TikTok: What’s All the Hype About?

Noah+Guerin+gazes+into+the+distance+amidst+working+on+one+of+his+new+TikTok+videos

Noah Guerin gazes into the distance amidst working on one of his new TikTok videos

Zach Hayes, Journalist

Originally released in September 2016, the popular social media app, ‘TikTok’, has exponentially grown in use through the last few years. The app is composed of short videos that can be created by any user, often paired with trending songs and audios. Users are shown videos that TikTok predicts they will enjoy based on the history of the videos they have viewed and liked. The app has a total of over 800 million active users, most of whom can be split up into two categories: creators and viewers. Many OHS students have become creators or consistent users in the past couple of years, and most have kept a consistent interest in the app over a long period of use. But why? What makes this social media app so successful?

Some students, such as OHS sophomore Noah Guerin, have spent hours creating videos on the app, focused on different trends or ideas that have stood out to them. “I got TikTok late October in 2018 back when it was considered to be weird to have the app, so I had to hide it from people,” said Guerin. “I started posting around the beginning of quarantine this year. I didn’t have any goals on TikTok, I just thought it was enjoyable to post random content. At this point, I have about 4000 followers, which I obtained mainly from a single TikTok of me staring at myself through a mirror.” Guerin also spends a lot of time watching others’ TikToks that come up on his home page. He thinks there is a clear reason for its ongoing popularity. “I think that TikTok brings people together. With such an easy way to comment and interact with posts, people can connect with each other much more often than any other social media platform.” Guerin is not alone in his consistent interest in the app over the past two years, as many other students at OHS spend hours watching videos on the app.

Tina Tran, a senior at OHS is also an avid TikTok user, as she watches videos on the app every day. She downloaded it at the beginning of her sophomore year in 2018. “I wanted to get it because I was super bored of Instagram and Snapchat and wanted another app to entertain me,” said Tran. TikTok did not disappoint her. She now spends around two hours on the app every day, which she admitted with a laugh. “It actually tailors my For You Page to stuff I’m into, like funny videos but also satisfying dance videos and slime videos. The things I like are so crazy and all over the place, but it includes everything,” she said. The ‘For You Page’ is the homepage of TikTok, where users are shown videos that they may be interested in. Tran explained her thoughts on why the app has received such consistent attention, referring to why people may like it so much. “I guess it has every kind of video. It’s sorta like a shorter and funnier version of YouTube. People probably like it better than YouTube cause it’s shorter and kids have short attention spans,” said Tran. 

Another OHS student, junior Tony Ponomarev shares a similar perspective on the app. He has had TikTok for three years, and says that he downloaded it because he “kept seeing TikToks on Instagram and found them funny.” Ponomarev thinks that the short duration of the videos keeps people hooked to the app, but also expressed his thoughts about its future. “I think it can lose some of its popularity as new apps and features (like Instagram Reels) come out, but as long as we’re in quarantine it should still stay very popular,” he said. 

Overall, TikTok has proven to be a popular app among teens. Walking around the hallways -if students were in them- you would surely find that many, if not most students use TikTok. From fashion trends to music taste, its impact on our generation has proven to be more than noticeable. Its consistent popularity places it among some of the other most used social media sites and apps such as Instagram and Twitter. However, the direction of its future is unknown. Similar apps such as Vine have fallen off in popularity due to legal or ownership issues, and TikTok could face the same fate in time. Or, it could only grow and become one of the landmarks of Generation Z’s pop culture.