Tik Tok Proves To Be Both Time Consuming And Amusing

Tik Tok Proves To Be Both Time Consuming And Amusing


Samantha Grunden, Opinions Editor

When the MySpace wave of 2005 hit, it was the most used social media website for three years. After that, the Facebook company net worth grew over $104 billion. Twitter marched along after as a status-based outlet involved in showing new updates on lives quickly and efficiently. Then Instagram emerged similar to Facebook, but focusing more on sharing picture updates. Snapchat soon followed as a social media outlet for teens to send selfies to each other as a way of texting with pictures. Social media is like a bee hive smashing on the ground, users like bees swarming to each network. In a matter of seconds, billions of people can see anything, anywhere.

 The newest social media network to surface has teens everywhere dancing, lip-syncing and chanting catch phrases like, “okay, boomer”. Tik Tok was originally named Musical.ly and came about in 2014. The app was renamed in August 2018 when Tik Tok company bought Musical.ly and rebranded its overall landscape. A lot of current users used Musical.ly in its former popularity. Originally, it let people lip sync to music and quotes from movies, but it is now used for many other expressive outlets. The app can be described as YouTube’s younger sibling, with a range of videos and categories, however, there is a time limit on these videos of 60 seconds. Each video has this time limit and is replayed over and over unless you keep scrolling. The original users of Tik Tok admit to joining it for purposes of seeing their old Musical.ly’s and stayed due to the app’s addictive algorithm. So, what makes the obsession happen?

Isabelle Williams, a junior at West Springfield High School and an active Tik Tok creator with 15 thousand followers, admitted, “It’s a time-consuming app because you cannot see the time, and your attention span does not need to be long as there is a 60 second limit on videos. Although it’s embarrassing, I spend about 2-3 hours a day on TikTok.” The app’s desirable design has many pieces users don’t notice. When opening the app, the time and battery status bar disappears, so you can easily lose track of how long you spend on the app. The app uses your likes and who you follow to create a timeline full of videos based on those interests. “First it was cosplay, then memes, and soon it became anything. Vlogs, lip-syncing, it was community making videos on whatever they pleased,” said Williams.  

Even though this app can be time consuming, it can also have a positive role on users lives. On Tik Tok, there are many different groups of creators, appealing to the interests of a variety of people. There are often jokes of the different “cliques” within the app. There are general themes people stick to. For example, there are “POV’s” which is an abbreviated version of “point of views” typically featuring a person speaking to the camera as if the audience is the phone. These videos are done by people interested in acting and transforming into characters. Secondly, there are the “e-boys” and “e-girls”, known for trying to be edgy and hardcore. Another group of Tik Tokers are artists who use the platform to show their artwork and progress. Many use the app to do dance trends, others to make fun of stereotypes, or to feature the latest beauty trends. However, most of the time, timelines are just full of people making videos to get views doing random abstract behavior that is shocking, or just hilarious. “For me, it makes me happy and inspires me to do more art and romanticize little things in my life, because those kinds of videos appears on my feed,” explained Williams.

A lot of parents are skeptical of the app due to its open nature and marketing to young children. The app does recommend users are above 16 and ask users to talk to their parents before using. When creating an account, if the person signing up is below 13 year old then they cannot follow or search accounts and have a filtered view of videos and comments. This is a safe way for kids to be able to enjoy the app without the exposure to the public. There is no age restriction on the app so it can have users of all ages. The app can also have PG-13 content and dark humor which often can end up on someone’s feed who is not mature enough to see such content.  When using any social media website, there is a risk of meeting online people who are not who they say they are, some of these precautions help ease the stress in parents. 

Despite critics, the app is wildly popular. Their interests are pulled from the data in their phones to appeal to them and create an endless loop of feeling happy. This instant comedic relief users see in each video has them scrolling more and more. Users are capable of seeing hundreds of short 15-60 second videos, and their attention is refreshed on each video. Even Williams admits, “It’s a fun and safe way to pass the time as long as you’re able to limit yourself from spending all of your time on it.”