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TikTok: Gen Z Trash or Here to Stay?

We’ve all watched them. TikTok has surprised us all and totally blown up despite all of the naysayers. For most, late nights watching our “For You” pages has become a guilty pleasure. But there are still many questions surrounding the new platform. Will TikTok die a horrible death like Vine? Is TikTok the new Vine? How are the dances so simple yet so ridiculously hard? It’s time to evaluate the oddity of TikTok’s success once and for all.

I’ll be the first to admit my hesitation when I first saw TikTok ads on Snapchat. It just seemed a little weird to advertise new social media on an existing platform. At first, it seemed a little sketchy. But then it started to get really annoying. I remember feeling like TikTok was overwhelming my ad space and I did not like it. The more they targeted me, the more I refused to download the app. I couldn’t have been the only one who felt this way, so how did TikTok become so popular? I guess the guerilla marketing tactic worked because suddenly everyone was liking it.

When compilation videos started to emerge on Youtube, I couldn’t help but indulge my curiosity. After watching some, it started to feel familiar. The videos I was seeing eerily began to remind me of Vines. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It made no sense to me. I mean we all saw Vine’s fifteen minutes of fame before it crashed and burned. Why were the same trends popping up on TikTok? I again wrote it off, thinking it would never work.

But then I was surprised again. TikTok began to develop its own culture. Dances became a game, something for users to accomplish and feel proud of. Artists began to make time-lapse videos that show their creative process from start to finish. The challenges have turned into fun activities for teens to do with their friends. Like a high-tech version of Truth-or-Dare. What convinced me to give the app a try was the way people were talking about it. They were actually enjoying it, so of course, I had to try. I’m a little ashamed to say I’m glad I did. While a lot of what I see makes me cringe with discomfort, I have found myself somewhat enjoying it. The short time limit is perfect for when you don’t feel like sitting through a fifteen-minute youtube video, but still want to entertain your mind. I am fascinated by the fashion and beauty trends that have emerged on TikTok. I find sped up makeup videos mesmerizing yet easy to follow if I were to try the style on my own. I even find some of the imitation videos funny. 

I expected to hate the platform with a fiery passion but was pleasantly surprised that even I could find my own little corner on TikTok. While I’m still not completely convinced it will make it to Instagram or Snapchat level of popularity, I think TikTok might have a fighting chance.

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