TikTok on the clock

But the party don't stop, no

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In August 2018, the Chinese internet technology company Bytedance killed Musical.ly and merged it with their own app, TikTok. Although nothing about the app changed other than the name and icon, the merge raised TikTok’s user base by 30%, making it one of the most successful Chinese apps in the world, according to mobilemarketer.com.

This monumental name change not only affected the 800 million people who had already downloaded Musical.ly, but it really hit the St. Pius X community hard as well.

“Are they the same company?” asked junior Henry Guynn.

Senior Jared Druss was equally confused. “No. What?” he said when asked if he had ever heard of TikTok.

To use an analogy that’s more familiar for St. Pius students, Economics teacher Philip Cook explained, “I guess it’s like Powerschool Learning and Haiku.”

Luckily, frequent TikTok creator senior Clare Hungeling knew all about the change.

“Just for the record, I was along for the ride since it was Musical.ly,” said Hungeling. “I’ve actually had to educate a lot of people on the name change. People pretty much know about Musical.ly, but then people think TikTok’s a different thing, but it’s the exact same app just with a scarier little icon.”

The new icon had almost as big of an impact as the name change.  Between June and November of 2018, TikTok soared from the #7 app in the US all the way to #2, according to emarketer.com.

“That seems excessive,” said senior Patrick Leonard when told that 150 million Americans use the app every day.

Senior Joe Shaub said, is one of those 150 million people. “One of my guilty pleasures is to watch videos on TikTok,” he admitted.

There’s a lot of debate as to whether or not TikTok is a waste of time or one of the most entertaining apps on the market.  

Freshman Karis Coleman explained, “I don’t have a TikTok account because I don’t have time for another social media app on my phone.” But wait a minute, Karis, is it just another social media app?

Senior Ansley Boykin said it’s not and that TikTok is different from similar apps such as Snapchat.

“It’s the comedy that sets TikTok apart from other apps. I can always find something new and hilarious on the For You page,” she said.

TikTok allows its users to create 15 second videos and then share them with other “creators.” TikTok creators often dance or lip synch to music provided by the app, act out short skits and participate in challenges. They can add effects or filters to their videos to enhance them.

“It’s the new vine,” Boykin said. “I think it has a lot of potential because it’s a format where creators can get out there and show their creative genius.”

While Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have become places where people share the highlights of their lives with the world, TikTok is a place where a creator’s goal is to entertain fans and make hilarious memes. The idea that TikTok is more of a creative outlet and source of amusement as opposed to a humble brag page is the reason why TikTok has grown in popularity so quickly in the past five months.

Challenge videos are all the rage on the app, as users take an original TikTok video and try to replicate it with their own creative twist.

According to Hungeling, although she has done the “#spookychallenge” in which creators dance creepily to the song “Betty Boop,” she prefers to watch other people do challenges.

“My favorite challenge at the moment is the ‘#prettyboyswagchallenge’ where you turn yourself into an object or a character from something as the beat drops,” she said. “People can get really creative with it.”

Both Shaub and Guynn admitted to loving the “#hitormisschallenge,” while the #dontjudgemechallenge is Boykin and junior Aggie Brewster’s favorite.

“The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon,recently created his own challenge called the “#tumbleweedchallenge” in order to interact with his viewers. He had his audience send in videos of themselves rolling on the ground like a tumbleweed to a specific song. Celebrities like Fallon, Nick Jonas and Khloe Kardashian are all TikTok creators that have helped the app gain popularity.

Much like Instagram and Facebook, TikTok also gives its creators the ability to like and comment on other videos. Creators can be one another’s fans, and gaining as many followers as you can is extremely enticing.

“I just hit 10 fans on Christmas day and let me tell you, it was the best Christmas present I could’ve received,” Hungeling said. “I immediately made a video just shouting out my thanks to all my fans, and right after I posted it I got an 11th fan!”

Not everyone does it for the fans, though. Guynn’s TikTok bio states, “Just for fun, not fame,” while Boykin said, “I keep my account on private because it’s a thing I do for myself. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, if I’m being honest.”

So although TikTok can be an app where creators could potentional gain their 15 minutes of fame, it doesn’t have to be. TikTok can also be used as a forum for those who want to let their creativity run free and the place where some of the internet’s best memes come alive. If you’re looking for a new hobby this year, download TikTok, and I promise you’ll be entertained.