TikTok is a video sharing platform having a twist. Videos can be no longer than just a few seconds and they are generally based on various themes: music, cooking, travel, dance, fashion, and so forth. Users create these short videos, use simple tools to include music and effects, and share them on the site. The most famous clips are high on entertainment value, having a premium on instant gratification. Similar to Vine, which de-activate in 2016, TikTok can be thought of as a video version of Instagram or Snapchat.
TikTok originates from China, but, interestingly, it is not properties of among the Chinese tech giants. Despite massive investments in video platforms through the likes of Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, none dominates this region. TikTok – known locally as Douyin – was introduced in 2016 by ByteDance, a Beijing-based tech company traditionally focused on news. Its news app, called Toutiao, uses advanced AI algorithms that learn user preferences, then provides customised news feeds. Bytedance uses the identical algorithms to offer relevant video feeds to TikTok users.
By the start of 2017, Douyin had become China’s most favored Likes Fans And Followers. In November of the identical year, ByteDance spent US$1 billion to get a competing video sharing site called Musical.ly. While Musical.ly have also been founded in China, most of its users were located in the US. The combined global reach of TikTok and Musical.ly designed for a powerful combination.
While many social media applications give attention to global consistency and reach, TikTok focused on targeting specific local audiences. As an example, in Japan, TikTok collaborated with a large artist management company to drive traffic from YouTube and Instagram using watermarked TikTok videos produced by local celebrities. In addition, it ran a series of dancing and music campaigns dedicated to overcoming shyness, a problem for a lot of younger people in Japan.
Challenges are one of the important elements of TikTok. They are video skits which get acted out on masse, with folks creating various responses to some popular meme. A newly released one involved gummy bears singing an Adele song, which got 1.7m likes on TikTok, went viral on Twitter and spawned numerous spinoffs.
The app has been growing steadily as it acquired its U.S.-based rival Musical.ly in November 2017 for north of $800 million, then merged the two apps’ user bases last August. This gave TikTok the way to grow in Western markets, where it offers attracted the interest of U.S. celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk, for example, together with YouTubers on the ffyytx for the next new thing.
Instead, its main feed often surfaces everyday users – aka, amateurs – doing something cute, funny or clever, having a tacit acknowledgement that “yes, it is really an internet joke” underlying much of the content.
But that’s because individuals trying to talk about TikTok are old(er) people who matured on the big ol’ mean internet. Cringey, frankly, is surely an unfair label, as it dismisses TikTok’s success in setting a tone for its community. Here, users will frequently post and share unapologetically wholesome content, and receive less mocking than elsewhere on the web – largely because all others on TikTok posts similar “cringey” content, too.