Artwork by Hallie Anderson
“TikTok” is no longer the hit party song by Ke$ha.
“Every time is TikTok time.” Through being around students every day, Ms. Bielskis has caught on to the new trending entertainment form among youth: TikTok. It is a form of social media on which people can make amusing music videos that are short and can be made to a variety of songs. They involve lip syncing, dancing, and other creative actions. The app grew over the summer, and now the U.S. and other countries such as China and India are full of teens and other demographics longing to become “TikTok famous.” I myself am not a huge TikTok-er, but I did want to find out more of what the huge appeal is. So I talked to some of the most skilled TikTok-ers at St. Mary’s. My question was, “Why is it so addicting?”
Grayson Finks (9), with her over 40,000 followers, is considered by many “TikTok famous.” She said “I’ve asked myself the same question pretty much every time I spend hours mindlessly scrolling through the “For You” page … I think it’s because it’s an app where everyone from around the same age group can freely be themselves through hilarious content.”
Grace Goodfellow (11) has over 40,000 views on her “perfect loop,” which is a video that appears endless because of the timing and cuts of the video. This obviously takes skill, so I wanted to find out Goodfellow’s secret. She told me “Honestly TikTok is all about the grind. The harder you work, the more views you get, and then more likes and more followers. I got it as a joke and then became addicted and started making them just for fun.”
After I talked to some teenagers about TikTok, I wanted to get some adults’ perspectives, so I talked to Mr. Soun. He jokingly said “I don’t know what a music video is,” touching on the common adult view of TikTok’s absurdity. Then I moved on to Dr. Lyon. “Every generation has its quintessential time-waster (Ataris, Nintendos, & MTV were ours in the '80s),” Lyon said. “This is just funnier, more creative, and more absurd. I think its absurdity probably stands as a reaction to the times in which we live.”
It is interesting to explore what teenagers have used as their escape throughout the years as Dr. Lyon mentioned. Although it seems absurd, TikTok is a light-hearted way for teenagers to connect with each other through the Internet. Finks added “You can pretty much relate to every video, and people aren’t afraid of the judgement or backlash because it’s just a joke in the long run. It’s just a massive group of teenagers having an accepting outlet to share and learn from each other.” Although many TikTok users may feel this way, I question the validity of this argument because all forms of social media tend to come with some aspect of judgement and competition. Users can get caught up in details like comments, likes, followers, and views, and social media can become damaging to one’s confidence. It is important to find the balance between enjoying the app and caring too much about one’s popularity to other users.
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