Before September 2016, if someone heard the phrase “Tik Tok,” it usually had something to do with either a Kesha song or a clock. Now, Gen Z has made Tik Tok a viral social media platform that has captivated 500 million active users. What had originally evolved from the lip-syncing app, Musical.ly, Tik Tok grew from cringe-worthy videos to viral dances and challenges created by its users.
While attending the NSPA convention in Washington D.C this past November, a group of student journalists was heard saying “Journalism Check!” while walking near the convention’s location. This phrase alludes to the Tik Tok trend themed by whatever was said before “check.” All kinds of topics have been discussed such as U.S states, sports, classes, and random hobbies of users who participated in the trend. With this being said, the trends and challenges of Tik Tok have made their way to the real world very quickly as it continues to spread throughout the internet.
However, what has been the most serious impact of Tik Tok? Similar to most other social media platforms, Tik Tok is home to its own “dark side.” This area of the app includes child predators, users bullying and harassing each other, and dark patterns and algorithms. Tik Tok does provide solutions to some of these problems. Users of the app have the ability to set their profiles to private and disable commenting to minimize complications from a widely public app.
The increasingly popular app has been steadily gaining millions of users every month. Despite users including professional sports teams, professional athletes, and well-known celebrities, the seemingly most popular users are ordinary, everyday teenagers and young adults. These popular users often create trends and participate in their favorite challenges.
The growing popularity of the dancing, challenges, and the meme-filled app has no sign of slowing down anytime soon as it encaptures more and more of the culture in today’s teenagers and young adults.