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This viral video sensation hit the top of the App Store charts – so what’s all the fuss about?
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Platform: iPhone, iPad
Hailed as the short video social platform for a new generation of creators, TikTok is the phoenix rising from the ashes of Vine. The app is populated by users too young to remember that particular six-second-video platform, even though it may feel like only five minutes ago it was peppering our newsfeeds with bizarre and often hilarious micro-skits.
The problem is, TikTok is already huge. Just this week we’ve seen about a million video ads for the platform. It’s everywhere. So, what’s all the fuss about?
TikTok unashamedly admits (and even embraces) its design as a pointless time suck. TikTok has ushered us into a vapid post-modern world of social apps and it’s not afraid to shout about it. Its iTunes description boldly says the app is about “scrolling as long as your thumb holds up and posting without a second thought.”
In that regard, it’s a pure description of its very young audience – but the kind of content you’ll find on there is truly reflective of it. Things like the gone-in-a-flash dance trend #leanonchallenge, which isn’t worth describing because by the time you’ve finished reading this sentence someone far younger than you will be screaming “alright, grandad, enjoy your black and white television there back in 2018.”
But that’s what TikTok is all about. Create, upload, leave (every last person) behind, and then move on.
So, how does it work? TikTok allows you to take short videos, of yourself, or what’s in front of you. The twist is that your video is paired up with audio from a huge library of content. It lets you edit the clips to create skits, short music videos, and general silliness to post it to your profile. That sounds like the very definition of Vine, but its the app’s attention to music that makes the content livelier and more open to adopting trends.
It’s likely that the app will be used by two sets of people – content creators and content consumers. But the consumers will also find themselves drawn into the content capturing tools due to the fact they borrow and build on the range of video filters that were introduced by the likes of Snapchat. It very much feels, like with everything on this app from its marketing speak to its capture-everything approach, that these have been ramped up to 11 from filters that iron your face until all semblance of features disappear, to the addition of sunglasses or other accessories.
TikTok is much better than the likes of Instagram in that it does a very good job of keeping you in-app. Its home tab shows you instantly a number of trending videos under hashtags that throws you right into the action, encouraging you to be part of the whole experience. It’s both welcoming and deafening all at once.
Ultimately, TikTok is a hard app to review. It is neither good nor bad, simply a product of the modern zeitgeist. In fact, we might have to ditch our five-star rating system and come up with a new language to score this one. Maybe using emojis.
The app may be overwhelming – a little scary, even – for newbies, and that feeling scales with age. However, it’s simple to use and can certainly provide chuckles to anyone. Especially as it’s possible to ignore all the social sharing and simply create funny videos to save to your local camera roll.
Conclusion: if you’re under 20 you’ve found your new home, if you’re over 20 looking for some neat face filters to entertain your friends, just accept you’re basically a pensioner and go turn on that gramophone and stare at a wall for the rest of the day because you’re gonna get overwhelmed.
- Loads of filters
- Social element keeps you hooked
- It's fun if you don't take it seriously
- I can't even