TikTok Takes Over Teenage Media Consumption

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Photo courtesy Casey Amico

Senior Natalie Smith made one TikTok with her cousin, and the next day, her video had 1.3 million views. 

With over 500 million downloads, the TikTok app has surged in popularity in 2019.  For many, TikTok fills the void left by Vine, another app popular known for its short video format. 

TikTok provides a platform for users to share homemade videos that highlight creativity and humor it is growing into a Gen-Z pop culture phenomenon. For example, the popular song, “Old Town Road” by rapper Lil Nas X originally played on TikTok, generating thousands of videos with over 67 million plays. 

Millions of TikTok views comes with a connection that transcends national culture. 

 “I was also surprised to see that the TikTok had made it to parts of Europe and how different languages started appearing in the comments. It’s cool how universal TikTok has become,” Smith said. “Now the video has over 12 million views, which is crazy. I honestly don’t know how that happened.”

Besides connecting users online, TikTok has become part of everyday conversation. 

“Its made my life better because so many people know all the jokes from TikTok now,” junior Casey Amico said. Amico, a student at MIHS, garnered 10,000 likes on one of her posts.

 “I was kind of surprised to see my one video get that much attention,” Amico said. “I started by making one video and since I was having so much fun, I just kept making them.” 

TikTok, in particular, has been thought to be more time consuming than other apps because of the expectations to respond to other users with the use of features such as “duets.” Duets are videos that allow users to create content featuring an initial video, with both videos appearing side by side on a screen. 

TikTok has been influencing the face of teenage interactions, between common dances to Old Town Road and viral jokes such as Danny How You Feel, which is a song that went TikTok viral and has become common in teenage slang. 

However, teenagers are not the only ones talking about TikTok. The addictive nature of the platform raises concerns and two US Senators have even claimed that it was a national security threat.

TikTok may just be a phase that dies off like Vine, but for now, it is dominating teen culture.

Even after becoming a viral TikTok figure Smith does not have the app. 

“I don’t see myself making an account of downloading TikTok app because I know I would most likely spend too much time on it and I don’t want that to be the case,” said Smith.  

“I think being famous would be really cool but it’s not like I care a whole lot about it, I mostly use TikTok to make stupid videos for fun and to watch other people’s videos,” Amico said. 

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