The Hawaiian Telcom Blog

What is...TikTok?

By Catherine Tsaur on Jan 26, 2021 5:00:11 PM

Tags: Internet/WiFi, Residential/Consumer, What is

You might have seen people doing something silly and filming themselves on their phones, or maybe you keep hearing a short clip of music over and over coming from their devices. Well, chances are they’re using a popular app known as TikTok.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is an app which allows users to upload short form videos. These videos can range from dancing tutorials, to stand-up comedy, or just a simple daily vlog. The app’s For You Page (FYP) features popular videos from content creators aka users. Once you begin to engage with the videos on your FYP, either by watching them in their entirety (ranging from 15 seconds to 1 minute) or “liking”, commenting, or sharing the video to friends, TikTok’s algorithms begin to serve up other videos you may enjoy.

Does TikTok really personalize what I watch?

The short form video format allows users to consume content at a very fast pace. This allows the app’s algorithm to learn a great deal about a user’s likes and dislikes, allowing the app to cultivate a particular type of feed for the user.

Who uses TikTok?

Approximately 70% of the app’s user base fall into the “Gen Z” age group (defined by Pew Research Center as being born after 1996) but its growing popularity means Millennials, Gen X, and even Baby Boomers have begun to respond to the dancing, singing, and various other videos presented by users on the app. And in turn, those older generations have begun to create and share their own content.

What popular videos can you see on TikTok?

Popular videos often include dance challenges and reaction videos but there’s no one way to guarantee that a video will go viral. TikTok’s own top 100 list shows very different types of videos that have gone viral on the app – a young woman lip-syncing and bobbing her head to the music, a comedic misunderstanding, and a dancing goose all have millions and millions of views.

TikTok users have also used the platform to raise money for individuals and non-profits. The hashtag “#randomactsofkindness” shows over 69 Million videos. Stories of a Finnish woman cleaning homes of others for free and an 89-year old pizza delivery man getting a $12,000 tip are just some of the good that has come out of the platform.

Even celebrities like Adam Lambert, Titus Burgess, and Wayne Brady have come together on TikTok to produce "Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical" – also known as the "Ratatousical". The proceeds from this event will benefit The Actors Fund, which aids entertainment industry workers, including those on Broadway, which has been shuttered since March and is currently scheduled to reopen in May 2021.

The Future of TikTok

TikTok’s popularity soared during the pandemic as millions of people found themselves confined to their homes with very little else to do. With the possibility of life returning “back to normal” in 2021, what will become of the platform remains to be seen. However one thing we’ve learned from the app is that people are always looking for new ways to connect, create, and have conversations with like-minded individuals.

TikTok has recently been in the news for some security concerns. Security is an ever growing concern and as consumers you should always be aware of your private data and how it’s used. Be on the look out for upcoming articles on social media and internet security.

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