Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have taken over our lives for the past decade. Seemingly, everyone has an account on at least one platform, portraying a certain image of their self to the world. For most, this comes in the form of spewing political or personal opinions, or posting pictures for likes. However, a new platform came into light a few months ago… TikTok. TikTok appealed primarily to Generation Z, especially the younger half of the generation. On the app, users could post videos of themselves dancing, talking about their life; honestly, anything goes for TikTok.
While I personally am technically part of this social media crazed generation, I grew up in a time where iPhones and other technological products were not umbiquitous until the end of my middle school career, somewhere between years 2010-2012. I also have engulfed myself in many social media platforms but the one thing I promised myself was that I would never, never, resort to TikTok. The app became popular with my middle school campers throughout the past summer and would always try to have me participate, but I refused.
Many people my age and older have had the same mindset of TikTok, until they were stuck in their homes for days and, quite possibly, months due to COVID-19. What I once thought was the most outrageous social media application, quickly became the most addicting. During a period of quarantine, learning a TikTok dance might be able to bring some light to the uncertain world. Millennials, and even older generations have taken part in embracing the craziness and, sometimes, absurdness of the app. Dancing on TikTok during the pandemic, according to Makeda Easter, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, becomes a form of expression and “a break from the constant flow of depressing news.” She even goes as far as to say that people have been debating whether or not “old” people are ruining TikTok, similar to when adults 'ruined’ Facebook.
Greg Justice, TikTok’s U.S. head of Content Programming, claims that while he cannot provide the average age of users, he does say that there has been “an incredible increase in the diversity and level of creativity” recently, citing that the past few weeks have incited a boom.
One of my personal favorite kinds of TikTok, which I noticed many millennials have spread the trend, includes women posting their first and most recent picture of their significant other, followed by their partner’s favorite picture of them and vice versa, then finally, her favorite picture of them together. It adds a particularly romantic and personal touch to the comedic sketches and repeated dances. Honestly, it brings a sense of joy and warmth in this troubling time. I have been tempted to recreate this with my boyfriend, not only to braggingly show him off to the world, but to give him the recognition he deserves.
Other Millennials and some slightly older have taken part in the “I’m Just a Kid” challenge in which they recreate a childhood photo as adults alongside Simple Plan’s song of the namesake. Some examples include awkward family photos, first day of school photos, and any photo you could possibly imagine. Personally, I have noted multiple other examples including couples recreating pictures from their awkward teenage years.
Anyone can become famous on TikTok as the algorithm showcases random videos on the For You page from celebrities to stay-at-home-moms. With Quarantine impacting our lives, creating viral trends becomes highly appreciated because people of all ages are staying home, trying to create a distraction from the world.