To Tik or to Tok?

I used to live for Vine.

My friends and I would get together after a night out, grab the closest jr chicken, and watch vine compilations too many times than we’d like to admit. We always knew which vine would come next, from Kyle to Road work ahead, but one thing we never expected was Tik Tok.

For those of you who don’t break a sweat trying to learn an intricate 15 second dance from a fifteen year old millionaire, you may not know what Tik Tok is…and honestly you are probably the most productive person during quarantine. Tik Tok is an entertainment platform that allows you to be as creative as you want to be in fifteen seconds or more. From it’s lip-syncing Musi.cally roots, the platform has not evolved in its mission, but in its global power.

The success of Tik Tok is simple: it showed up at the right place in the right time.

When Vine appeared, I was in middle school, going through a Bluenotes graphic t-shirt phase and listened to strictly Born To Die. The platform attracted me as the ideal age demographic; with the internet prevelant throughout my childhood, I was practically raised to have a short attention span that the app capitalized on. Through swiping, liking, and commenting, the business models of Vine and Tik Tok aim to capture the hearts of millions, while providing the validation and constant craving for new content these heavy users demand.

In October, I was walking down the hallway with my friend talking about how much I missed vine and she stopped me to ask if I wanted to be a part of a competition that a group chat she was part of was having. I said yes, and without knowing, I would soon spend hours trying to perfect a video. The competition was simple: whoever got the most followers on Tik Tok in a month won. After a few failed videos, that I thought were hilarious, I lost by a landslide. Though I was proud of my 200 followers, I was surely beat out by my friends younger brother who amassed a whopping 1000 followers. To me, that many followers was mind blowing, I wondered how anyone could ever get an amount that large in under a month. I soon learned that a platform with the strict algorithms of this kind, it only takes one video for you to sky rocket.

I was bored on Christmas break when I decided to pick up the app and give it another go. When I realized that my body did not have the capacity to “throw it back” like Addison Rae, I decided that I wouldn’t make dancing videos but do some creative ones of my own. I made one about hoco, seeing bumble matches on campus, and fell inlove with the simple yet funny videos I could make. Ones that made me laugh.

When Christmas eve was soon approaching, I got into a funk that no video could unshake. A week before the holiday, I accidentally fell and cut my head, which not only led me to look like a cabbage patch kid, but made me look identical to the wizard himself. To lift me out of the annoying self pity I had, I took a video and did not expect the outcome it got. With the video showcasing my “get ready” routine for a holiday party (accompanied with the iconic Mistletoe in the back) I posted it and set off for the party. When I got there, I turned on my data and was flooded with notifications. In under an hour I had gotten 14k views. At this point I was over the MOON. Not only did I think this could happen, but I got so many kind comments saying “you killed it” and “you look so beautiful”, that boosted my ego probably too much since it was coming from 15 year olds. Before I knew it, I got 2.6 million views.

I woke up the next morning and was astounded by the power one video could do. My friends in Australia began messaging me telling me they saw my video and wishing me a happy holidays as well. Out of the 12.2k followers that rolled in over night, I ended up reaching my friends on the other side of the globe.

From that point forward I tried a few more videos in that style but they lost traction. I knew that I did not have the ability or capacity to pump out 5 videos a day, and this platform that was the only way to stay relevant. I also did not want to be known as the Tik Tok girl – when you are in University that title just hits a little different.

From that point forward, I began scrolling the app and mostly admiring other peoples passions and abilities. Though I never expected it, the one thing I learned from Tik Tok is the amount of hustle that these kids have. Though everyone makes fun of them, and parents yell at them for being on their phones constantly, they are spending hours upon hours to perfect the perfect move or edit.

From millennials to boomers, Tik Tok has attracted a larger crowd since it’s explosion and I can’t wait to see the content that will be produced. I’ll be in the side lines watching, and hyping up a video to hope to bring them the joy that they brought me.

x

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