Apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter are common among teens in Generation Z. TikTok, though gaining popularity, is definitely a newcomer to the world of social media apps. If you’re unfamiliar with this viral app and how it works, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social network where users share and interact with short user-generated videos. When it was first founded, users often shared videos of themselves lip-syncing to popular songs. It’s becoming more common for users to post videos of themselves dancing, singing, performing comedy sketches, or just talking.
This viral app’s story starts with musical.ly, a service very similar to Vine. Musical.ly was founded in 2014 by Chinese entrepreneurs Luyu Yang and Alex Zhu.
Musical.ly was quite popular, as it gained over 200 million users within 3 years. In 2017, it was purchased by ByteDance, a media and tech company located in Beijing.
ByteDance had already owned an app called TikTok since 2016. This app was very popular in China but almost unheard of in the Western world. With musical.ly in its possession, ByteDance decided to combine TikTok and musical.ly under one app. The current TikTok that exists today was created in 2018.
This was an incredibly smart move, as the two apps were popular in different parts of the world. TikTok reigned in China while musical.ly prevailed in Europe and the Americas. Today, the current app has users from all around the world uploading and enjoying content.
When they were combined under one app, the company efficiently moved all of musical.ly’s videos and accounts over to TikTok.
Did Anything Change When TikTok Consolidated?
The original ideas behind musical.ly and TikTok stuck around on the new app. Though there weren’t any major changes, a few tweaks did follow the consolidation:
- New creator tools and interactive filters became available. For instance, users were now allowed to post “reactions” to content, utilize new filters, and play with cool background effects.
- There were some performance improvements and bug fixes. Users could now access videos from more countries and receive personalized video recommendations. The new TikTok also alerts users when they’ve been on the app for more than two hours.
How Long Are the Videos?
If you miss Vine’s concept of short, 6-second videos, TikTok should fill that void. The individual videos on TikTok can last up to 15 seconds, though they can be shorter.
TikTok lets you string multiple 15-second videos together to create a video of up to a minute long.
If you want to share something that lasts longer than a minute, you can upload a longer video as long as it wasn’t recorded within the app.
So, It’s Not Just For Lip-Synching?
While it started as a place for posting lip-synching videos, TikTok has evolved. Users post a variety of content including videos of:
- Cute pets
- Magic tricks
- Cheer-leading routines
- Gymnastic skills
- Funny stories
- Inanimate objects singing
- Their artwork like sculptures, paintings, or comics
- Parkour and other harmless stunts
Do People Get Famous By Using TikTok?
We’re all familiar with celebrities who’ve gotten famous off of YouTube. Take Greyson Chance, Carly Rae Jepsen, and even Justin Bieber for instance. Is the level of these celebrities’ fame achievable through TikTok?
Though the app is still relatively new, a number of users have gotten famous by using it. Baby Ariel, Jacob Sartorius, and Loren Gray are just a few of the famous names on TikTok.
If you want to achieve fame on TikTok, follow these tips for attracting an audience:
- Post regularly. Fans won’t come back if you don’t post! Try to post every 2-3 days. Aim for every day if you can.
- Stick to a niche. Don’t try to post trampoline tricks, fail compilations, and magic tricks all on your account. You won’t be able to cover every topic out there, so pick one and stick to it.
- Interact with other users. Content creation is a two-way street. Make connections by commenting on and reacting to other users’ content.
- Collaborate with other influencers. They don’t necessarily have to be famous influencers. Recruit your friends to be in your videos, as videos with two people tend to perform better.
- Use other platforms. Advertise your TikTok account on your other social media accounts to get the word out.
Can You Make Money?
Though TikTok won’t pay you directly, you can still make some revenue from the app. Fans can provide users with tips for hosting live streams. Users also use the app to promote their businesses and personal ventures. For example, if you have a T-shirt business, you can post 15-second clips of your clients rocking your unique T-shirt designs. This is a great way to casually link your business and establish an online presence.
Is TikTok Safe?
Like any online space, TikTok isn’t completely free of inappropriate content. There aren’t any specific parental controls, but parents can set up privacy settings on their kids’ accounts. The app’s settings let you control who can allow just “Friends” instead of “Everyone” for comments, reactions, messages, and duets. These features can also be turned off completely.
If you don’t want to post, you can just browse other users’ content.
Who Can Use This Viral App?
In addition to an email, phone number, or Facebook account, you also need to provide your birthdate when you sign up.
Common Sense Media recommends that users be 16 years of age or older. The app requires users to be at least 13 years old, and users under the age of 18 need parental approval.
According to GlobalWebIndex, 41% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24. Though seen as an app for the younger generation, older individuals can enjoy it too. It may be easier to adapt to if they’ve been exposed to other social media platforms before.
TikTok Isn’t Going Anywhere
With Vine gone, a lot of users have turned to TikTok. While some see it as a ripoff of Vine, it has some unique features and has grown into a household name. If you were unfamiliar with the ins and outs of TikTok before, now hopefully you’re a little more in the know.