The rise of TikTok – The Daily Wildcat

Apps like Vine and Musical.ly walked for TikTok to work, and now with over a billion users around the world, TikTok has become a growing global phenomenon. It only takes 15 seconds for a single video to change and influence the way people listen to music, watch shows and consume media. We had the chance to sit down with a few TikTokers students from the University of Arizona and understand how TikTok has impacted their lives.

Sterling Stokes, a former UA 2021 psychology student, is a TikToker and shared how TikTok has impacted her life.

“Being a TikToker has made my life better. It’s been a fun platform to do things for a community. It’s inspiring and exciting when other people resonate/relate to my content,” Stokes said.

According to The New York Times, TikTok was spun off from another popular short video format app called Vine. Like TikTok, Vine also had hashtags and a community tab where people could find other videos and browse the app. Vine had 6 second videos that people could upload to the app and provided an array of different content made available for viewing on Vine. However, Vine was only accessible online for four years, from early January 2013, when the app first launched, to January 2017, when the app was shut down.

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Around the same time Vine was up and running, another app entered the short-form video scene called Musical.ly, which launched in 2014. According to Music Business Worldwide, Musical.ly was an app centered on music and dance which mainly had lip-sync and dance videos that frequently went viral. Content creators could promote and increase the popularity of different songs from this app by making a short video dance clip of themselves. However, in late 2017, Musical.ly merged with another app developer called ByteDance. From this merger, TikTok was born.

According to NBC, since the launch of TikTok, there has been a major impact on businesses and how brands would promote their products and services. Some record companies and labels are reportedly hiring digital TikTok influencers to help promote new songs in different dance challenges and videos on the platform. It was in the hope that the video would go viral, making the song a hit.

Lee Parada, a psychology senior, is a TikToker and explained how TikTok influenced their musical tastes.

“I think almost all of my music that I listen to is from TikTok realistically because you hear 10 seconds of a song over and over and that’s enough to make you want to listen to it. So I think all my playlists right now are mostly music from TikTok,” Parada said.

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According to Forbes, this isn’t just a trend that’s happening just for music promotion. This has happened for other products, such as makeup, electronics, crystals, etc. This has impacted the way products and services are advertised on social media and made people buy products featured on TikTok Influencer Pages.

Braelyn Smith, a 2016 UA Fine Arts alumnus, is a TikToker and explained how brand ads have affected TikTok.

“Over the years, Tiktok has become more commercial in my mind, with brands and ads. I also think it’s a bit more polished than it once was, but I still think “Deep down, it’s a place for people to be authentic and raw. And I love that,” Smith said.

According to Forbes, TikTok is breaking down intergenerational boundaries that were often not pushed back with other social media platforms and helping to bring together more communities of people than ever before. For other social media platforms such as Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram, user and target audience demographics were often geared toward a younger crowd. They often struggled to bridge the gap between multiple generations.

Zaina Price, an East Asian Studies student, is a TikToker and explained how TikTok helps bridge the generation gap.

“Everybody’s on this app. It’s a mix of generations, like my grandma, my mom, my dad, and my sister. They’re all different generations: baby boomer generation, millennials, Gen Z,” Price said. “I think it’s really mixed up the line looks generationally and it’s something that hasn’t really been seen before. Instagram hasn’t done that, Twitter is a great niche [and] always super hard to understand, TikTok is super simple. Anyone can make a video.”

According to The Tab, TikTok has helped formulate a sense of community with features like the “for you page,” a digital feed organized by the type of videos you’ve watched, liked, commented on or interacted with. Through the “page for you”, often referred to as the abbreviated word FYP, this feature usually allows users to learn about new content uploaded to the app related to their general interests. This feature on TikTok is unique because no two users’ For You page will populate the same, and the app’s algorithm is constantly hard at work finding content and videos you’ll truly enjoy.

“Targeting on Tiktok means I can create many types of content and it will reach the target audience. Also, I found the neurodivergent community on Tiktok really great and supportive. I think it’s a fun app that allows me to showcase my creativity, knowledge, and goofy personality all in one,” Smith said.

Along with TikTok helping bring people together, some TikTokers hope to leave a lasting legacy on the app. According to The New York Timesthere is a high percentage of people on TikTok who are artists, animators, painters, and other creative content creators who use the app to share their art with the world.

Celeste Fleurs, a content creator and artist from the UK, is a TikToker and shared how TikTok helps her impact and inspire others with her platform.

“For me, as an artist, all I want is for my work to mean something to someone. I’m thrilled that the things I’ve created have already had an impact on technology and on other female gamers, and TikTok has been the main catalyst in helping me get there,” Fleur’s said. “I hope my content finally demonstrates to businesses that there is a market for technology that appeals to users outside of the usual male population because I’d like to see better representation on that front Without TikTok I wouldn’t be where I am today because it basically gave me a platform and allowed me to experience my personal expression. He laid the foundation for what I managed to build and I hope to continue to do so.


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