Lily Moore '20
With over 800 million users, TikTok is the 9th most used social media app of all time, surpassing popular apps such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest. With over 2 billion downloads, TikTok has taken over the minds of its users, who collectively view over 1 billion 15-60 second clips daily. Available in 155 countries, and most popular in India, TikTok has a very diverse user base.
However, 41% of users are between the ages of 16 and 24 and are from my generation, Generation Z. The rise of TikTok has had a variety of effects on my generation. For starters, it has made celebrities more accessible than they have ever been. With the ForYou Page, the home screen where you can scroll through TikToks suggested to you based on your interests, celebrities can easily interact with fans. Whether it be liking, commenting on, or duetting a video, it has become an online community where people are rarely elevated over one another, and most people are just there to have fun and pump out content.
That being said, there are still levels to TikTok. Since the fall of 2019, TikTok star Charli D’Amelio has risen to a whopping 90 million followers on the platform. In addition, her Instagram has 30 million followers, and she has 7.36 million followers on YouTube. This rise to fame has led her to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America. TikTok has become yet another platform upon which people can achieve stardom, arguably in a faster and easier way. TikTok celebrities have taken advantage of this influence and are branching out with brand deals and movie roles.
This platform isn’t a low-paying medium, either. In the past year, popular creator Addison Rae has earned over $5 million from the app, with D’Amelio behind her at $4 million. These stars are making a livelihood off of something which most people do not believe requires talent. D’Amelio and Rae rose to fame by recreating popular dances on the app, lip syncing to songs, and using the same sets of moves for each video. While both are trained in dance, TikTok has opened up new opportunities for them. D’Amelio wants to be a professional dancer, and the platform has allowed her to showcase her skills and provided her with a variety of professional opportunities. For example, she performed with Jennifer Lopez as a part of the Superbowl Halftime Challenge and recently participated in a challenge to promote Lopez’s new song.
In addition to D’Amelio, a number of different “houses”, or groups of TikTokers, have emerged. The first house was introduced in the fall of 2019, the Hype House. Hype is a term commonly used on TikTok in reference to someone with growing fame. The Hype House is a group of TikTokers who moved into a LA mansion together to pursue careers on TikTok. The rules of the house required that each member make at least 3 TikToks per day to post on their individual page, as well as make TikToks for the house’s joint page. Once divisions arose among the house members due to dating and cheating scandals, a number of new houses surfaced, including the Sway House, the Clubhouse, and the House No One Asked For. All of these houses include a conglomerate of famous TikTokers who create content for their massive fanbases. Many viewers complain that these houses have created a divide on TikTok, and that these creators should not have this “fame.”
There are also many sides to TikTok. The “houses” are one, but another is the highly political side. Many controversial TikTokers take to the app to express their views. Creators like PoliticalHollie, NickVideos, PoliticalJew, and many more creators post videos expressing their support or dislike for Donald Trump. PoliticalHollie has come under the most scrutiny as a woman supporting the president, as well as backing anti-abortion measures.
The final side of TikTok is the creators who just want to have fun and create comedic content. These creators are often referred to as “unproblematic creators” who simply want to make their followers laugh. These creators have invented a new language for our generation, which has taken over the way that we speak to one another. For example, fairy comments and hearts are now an insult, the laughing emoji is ironic while the crying one means laughing, and we talk about ourselves “evaporating” to convey that we’re laughing. Those are just a few examples, but it’s clear that the language of TikTok is quickly becoming the language of our generation. So, when you hear someone saying “JAIL” when someone else makes a horrible joke, you’ll know where it comes from.
The content of this article, as with every article posted on The Exchanged, does not represent the views of the staff of The Exchanged nor the National Cathedral School, St. Albans School, Protestant Episcopal Foundation, or any employee thereof. Opinions written are those of the writer and the writer alone.