Why TikTok isn’t just a dance app to me

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TikTok has practically taken over social media, being the platform for almost every new trend that surfaces. Whether you’re a casual viewer or a daily user, nearly everyone at least has the app downloaded on their phones. TikTok’s short videos make for great entertainment to pass the time, especially with how scarily accurate its infamous algorithm is.

Yet, with its expansive popularity comes a whirlwind of criticism. With every group of people who enjoy scrolling through various videos on their “for you” pages, there’s a bitter old soul who refuses to download the app because of how useless and childish it may seem. TikTok has established itself a reputation as “the trendy dance app,” which — in a sense — is true, but it’s so much more than that. Although it’s fun to jump on the latest video trend, TikTok offered so much more to me.

Like many people, I’ve found new information on TikTok such as current events. Although it’s vital to fact-check anything you come across on the app — as you should with anything randomly found on the Internet — TikTok is where many young people get their news first. It’s also where many professionals can share advice about their specialties. In my experience, TikTok has been my hub for advice and information on skin care, mental or physical health and many other things.

The platform also gave me a sense of “togetherness.” With an algorithm specific to your personal tastes, you find small connections with people who enjoy the things you do. Whether I’m sharing fan theories about my favorite shows or showcasing newfound food recipes, I’ve always found a community on the app. On top of that, the app is also an opportunity to find new things you may enjoy. As I got further into my small groups of people that shared my same interests, many users introduced me to new movies, shows and hobbies I may enjoy as well.

I found that TikTok can also open people up to perspectives that may be different from their own. With a diverse set of users and creators sharing aspects of their lives and knowledge on the app, I’ve learned things about others’ lived experiences. Others may go onto the platform to seek help or raise awareness, from political issues to different cultures, and TikTok’s popularity aids in these messages reaching a vast amount of users. Although the “for you” page is specific to every person, I’ve learned new things about others’ experiences and situations around the world.

TikTok has evolved massively since its introduction as the silly lip-syncing app, Musical.ly. For me, it’s not only a platform for the latest trends but also one for collective communities, helpful information and awareness. It’s an app that I’ve found to be both entertaining and beneficial (when used respectably, of course). Even if the app does seem “useless” or “childish,” there’s also nothing wrong with taking a break and indulging in the little bit of fun that is TikTok. 

Contact Geneva Hopwood at [email protected].