Since it was first launched in 2016, the TikTok app has become one of the most popular video sharing sites out there. With much of its success owed to an influx of content contributed by bored people stuck at home during the pandemic, the app has become a part of daily life for around 1 billion users worldwide.
But there’s more behind TikTok than just a bunch of random posters. While the pandemic may have helped to launch the app into the stratosphere, what posters and other users have found there is what seems likely to keep it at the top of the social media list.
Why do people seem to love TikTok so much?
TikTok videos can run anywhere from 15 seconds up to a minute. You could bemoan this as another example of people’s reduced attention spans. Or you could celebrate the fact that they get right to the point.
Either way, users appear to appreciate this speedier pace. A video can prove very useful or be a waste of time. But at one minute, that waste of time is relatively brief and, therefore, doesn’t hurt as much.
You could technically enjoy two to three TikTok videos in the same amount of time that you might view a single longer video elsewhere. In other words, it feels like a whole lot of bang for the buck.
Diverse Subject Matter
Whatever interests you may have, you will find ample content around them on TikTok. The flashier videos (dance routines, makeup tutorials, acrobatic stunts, etc.) may get the most external publicity. But that’s definitely not all you will find there.
Like gardening? Want to organize your closet? Would like to learn how to play the guitar? You can find videos around all of these subjects, and thousands more. And the vast number of contributors means that there is always fresh content available on the subjects you care about most.
Customized Content Feeds
You don’t have to go digging to find the videos you really want to see. After you’ve been on the app for a little while, that is. That’s because TikTok utilizes AI and an advanced algorithm to observe the types of content you tend to engage with. Based on that, the algorithm will start to recommend content. And it will continue to learn as you continue to select content. Over time, that translates into a video feed composed solely of content that you will really like.
Called the “For You” Page, or FYP, your video is unlikely to look like anyone else’s. And, since it is all content that you presumably enjoy, you can theoretically get caught in a TikTok loop. Before you know it, actual hours can go by as you view the never-ending, always refreshing list of videos on your FYP.
Yes, hours. All in increments of one minute or less.
An Accumulation of Trendsetters
TikTok also encourages trends, mostly by virtue of its audio system. Anything someone records on a post can be borrowed verbatim by other users, for them to use in their own take. This functionality makes it very easy for a song, dance routine, or “challenge” to go viral.
On the Other Hand…
TikTok has not turned into the behemoth it is without some controversy surrounding it. Some challenges started on the app have resulted in people getting hurt or, in a few cases, accidental deaths. And some people worry about the seemingly addictive viewing behavior encouraged by the FYP.
And there have been concerns about privacy on the app, especially when it comes to how TikTok uses data collected from underage users. Even as we speak, authorities in the UK have filed a child privacy lawsuit worth more than $1 billion. Due to similar privacy concerns, TikTok has been banned in India. And at one point, there was talk of blocking the app in the U.S., although it never happened.
Privacy concerns still persist. But that hasn’t stopped people from downloading the app at an astronomical rate. Whatever issues the app may have, TikTok is officially not going anywhere.
Now, back to my knitting videos.
Photo credit: XanderSt – www.shutterstock.com