TikTok is on the rise two years after Vine’s tragic ending, however don’t expect it to fill the void that vine left. That’s OK! The absolute chaos that TikTok embodies is exactly what we need in 2019.
If you’ve been spending time outside like a useful human and don’t have any idea what TikTok is, here’s a rundown: The app was formerly called Musical.ly, a platform dominated by preteens lip-syncing to uncomfortably suggestive choreography. In August 2018, the app was bought by ByteDance and merged with its app TikTok.
In the months since, the app has spawned increasingly bizarre — but hilarious — 15-second videos, from gummy bears serenading one another with Adele’s “Someone like you” to teens flexing their makeup skills on literal potatoes. TikTok users aim to induce a coveted feature on the apps “For You” page, which is basically a scroll-through version of Instagram’s “Explore” tab.
There are definite parallels between TikTok and vine — the iconic six-second sketches were all concerning catching the viewer off guard, and that sentiment continues to be trendy in Vine’s successor. If this TikTok was cropped into a square and half the length, you may simply expect to find it in a vine compilation.
Despite the fast sketches, DIY-aesthetic, and Vine-like dry humor, the app itself is way more complicated than vine ever was. TikTok users can add Snapchat-like face filters, use impressively complicated in-app editing tools, and synchronize their videos to virtually any audio clip. though there’s still some of its original Musical.ly users who duet weirdly sexual dances together, it’s being overtaken by a growing set of TikTok users who prefer to ironically lip sync to dialogue from movies, TV shows, and even Vines.
TikTok isn’t really any other social media platform as a result of, as BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick tweeted; it is “pure chaos.”
TikTok is gen Z at its best: Weird Dadaist humor mixed with a mastery of memes.
The “Pretty Boy Swag” videos, as an example, have TikTok users dressing up to Soulja Boy’s 2010 bop. During the song’s build up, users will don pieces of costumes and assume position. Once the beat drops, they’ll cut to whatever obscure object they dressed as, from a literal rotisserie chicken to massive Chungus to an unwrapped tampon.
TikTok’s most popular videos tend to be completely nonsensical; art imitates life, and right now life makes no fucking sense. And though vine undoubtedly embodied some of that weird millennial humor, TikTok is tends to be darker. Once vine was thriving, a majority of younger people were hopeful concerning the future — Obama was cool and the internet was fun. TikTok may never be able to replace that, however its deeply chaotic presence is a good reflection of how surreal each news cycle feels.
Obviously not every TikTok is going to be hilarious, and without nice content moderation, much of the videos are wildly problematic. A dive into cringe TikToks, according to the Atlantic, found a video of a child dancing to Rihanna’s “S&M” in front of the confederate flag. A misogynistic video shows a teenage girl in an apron taking part in the «Choose Your Character” challenge by wielding a bowl and a sign that says “property.” And except for the more arguable videos, there’s an abundance of gross lip syncs that will make you want to collapse into yourself out of secondhand embarrassment.
But like New York magazine points out, the content you see from TikTok depends on where you view it from. You’re more likely to hate it if your solely exposure to it is from Twitter threads complaining that it’s not vine or compilations highlighting how awful it’s.
If you need fun, or need to disappear into a void of sardonic skits set to a tinny backing track, go straight to the source and swipe through TikTok itself. It’s worth it.