Tik-tok (not the song by Ke$ha)

I did a lot over the summer. Specifically, I watched a lot of Tik-toks. What started as an occasional gander at a Tik-tok that I came across on twitter turned into a full-on addiction. I could spend hours scrolling through the “For You” page, and I often did without shame. That app is endless entertainment.

Anyone who refuses to watch Tik-toks based on principle is missing out on, like, SO MUCH. Put your pride aside and just watch it. 

But alas, people tend to be pretty steadfast in their beliefs, and continually refuse for one reason or another, popular reason being because of a loyalty to Vine.

One thing I noticed whenever I would see tweets or comments about Tik-tok was that it was a new vine, or that it was trying to be vine. 

At first, that made sense to me; they both had people uploading short videos that played on a loop to a social media account. But at the same time, they just feel totally different, I just couldn’t exactly explain why.

But I guess after spending enough time on the app, you kind of start becoming an expert and noticing patterns. And one pattern I notice more than anything is a desperate thirst for fame; that’s what separates Tik-tok from Vine.

People on Vine got famous 

for being funny. I still watch Vine compilations and think that they’re funny. It wasn’t a question necessarily of what was funny at the moment, or what was trending. In contrast, People on Tik-tok usually get famous because of the shock value of their video, or because it’s so cringey to watch that no one can look away, and because of whatever algorithm Tik-tok uses for their trending ‘for you’ page.

Sure, there are funny ones, but the vast majority of super popular videos are designed specifically to get famous. Audios, dances, challenges all come and go as trends, usually lasting a week before people move on to the next thing.

On top of the whole trendy audio thing, I see a lot of people straight up lying to get famous.

One of my friends, who has gained a slight following on Tik-tok (@dabium, if you’re curious), has posted a bunch of videos of him making things up about his life. Not even just kind of changing details, but straight up lying. And it works! He got millions of views on them! And the worst part was that everyone believed him and then ATTACKED me in the comments for calling him out, defending his honor despite never actually meeting the kid. Being told to ‘stop being mad’ by a stranger on Tik-tok wasn’t something I expected to occur in my life, though was entertaining nonetheless. But I digress.

The final way I see a lot of people gaining a following is by being attractive. 

Right off the bat, that just cannot be healthy, nor should it be viable way to get famous and have people be obsessed with you. 

There’s also a lot of teenage boys that just kind of stare at the camera and get famous from that. 12-year-old boys are trying to look sexy to get famous, and it’s working. That isn’t normal. I mean, the egos of these kids must be giant.

It’s like everyone’s trying to crack some sort of code to become the next big Tik-tok star, which I guess would be fine if being a Tik-tok star had any value. 

It’s honestly a little sad to see them doing whatever it takes to get to fame, and I think says something about the younger generation. 

They’re motivated not by a creative drive or desire to express themselves, but by fame, by the idea that they too might have their 15 minutes of fame online. 

It might be something we should think about as social media continues to consume the life of every kid over the age of 2. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop watching Tik-toks. They’re so good. Just a little questionable.