Seemingly out of nowhere a Chinese video-sharing app has become the biggest free download on the App Store. That ranks it higher than the likes of Amazon, YouTube and even Facebook. So far, it has amassed a total of 80m downloads, around 4m of which occurred during October alone. But, why has TikTok become so popular?
With new apps, success often comes as a result of a celebrity using them. With Instagram, it was Selena Gomez, while with Snapchat, it was Kylie Jenner. Figures like the Trump and Kanye West have certainly not hindered the success of Twitter. For TikTok, it is undoubtedly Jimmy Fallon, the late-night chat show host, and comedian.
What is it?
TikTok is essentially a video-sharing app that allows you to create short videos of fun and silly stuff like lip-syncing with a movie clip or song or just doing something ridiculous with your friends or pets. Fallon introduced the app to the audience of his show and has been encouraging them to use it and take part in various challenges. One, in particular, was called the #TumbleweedChallenge. The concept is that people stop doing what they are doing and pretend to be a tumbleweed rolling along the ground while western movie music plays in the background.
The interesting thing about TikTok is that it is not really very original. That though could be why it’s so popular though – the way it takes elements of other apps and combines them to its benefit. Think of it as part Snapchat, part Instagram story, and a whole lot Vine.
So Bad You Can’t Stop Watching
By far, the most intriguing and popular aspects of the US version of TikTok is its use in making ‘cringe videos’. Cringe videos are those that are so embarrassing and painful that you can’t do anything but laugh at them. It’s thought that this is because so much around social media is about showing the perfect version of yourself, not the real thing. The head of TikTok’s global marketing, Stefan Heinrich said, in an interview with Variety, that he loved the fact that people show their true self when using TikTok.
Although there will always be those individuals that use it the same way as they use everything else – to preen and to be glamorous, the majority do not seem interested in using TikTok in that way. It appears that most seem comfortable using it to show their inner comedy sketch artist. Particularly the ones that tend to go viral quickest.
Only time will tell though if it can remain at the top spot of the App store. Recent data has shown it is not opened quite as much as other apps that are used most frequently. Along with Jimmy Fallon, the only other big celebrity in the US that has become an avid user of it is Tony Hawks, the skateboarding icon. It also has to hold its own against the might of Facebook and their own take on the TikTok app known as Lasso.
If you want to get famous on Tik Tok, you need to get more followers firstly.