By Aarja Mody, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
TikTok is the 2020’s most downloaded app in the world and influences the modern youth generation greatly, also known as Gen-Z. TikTok, formerly known as Musically, is a social media platform for sharing, creating, and discovering short videos. It’s a platform where people can share their creativity, opinions, and beliefs. It helps ordinary people gain popularity and followers. It both influences people in a positive and negative way.
Many people’s lives have been changed as a result of TikTok. Nathan Apodaca, commonly known as Dog Face, was a homeless guy who lived in a trailer with no power or running water. Apodaca posted a TikTok video of himself riding a skateboard and drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice to the Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams” on September 25th, 2020. Apodaca can now pay his expenses by selling his products, and he has a Nissan truck that Ocean Spray provided him. Ariel Storm aka Ariel McCurdy, a TikTok user, received a text message from one of her followers in May 2019. Cory Maccurdy, a US marine, followed her. From TikTok messaging to dating, the two are now married and living happily ever after. These examples demonstrate how TikTok may lead to more than just the hype.
TikTok is classified as a social media network since it allows users to meet new people and create new connections. With millions of users globally, this network has the potential to be very diverse. Making in-person friends might be challenging for some children who are naturally shy.
Tiktok is a large platform that encourages action and awareness. It helps to break our bubbles in certain ways since many individuals are ashamed of their surroundings.
This generation has progressed immensely through all the different platforms where they can connect and communicate, however, there is also a toxic side to TikTok.
There are elements of TikTok that do fall under toxic mindsets, such as body positivity. There are many people who have created massive platforms only to exhibit the beauty standards of the general public, which are now skinny, and who have a large following because they meet the description of what society considers to be attractive, which is harmful to others.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of other influencers that help to mask the toxicity by bringing up some positive points and spreading optimism to their followers and supporters through the app.
On the other hand, there are influencers who are fighting beauty norms and breaking them down. On TikTok, you may witness people of various shapes and sizes who are confident in themselves and who own themselves as if they are society’s beauty standards, which is inspiring to many.
Many users have been impacted by Tiktok, which has provided a platform for individuals to express themselves and their feelings and ideas not just through words, but also through dancing and music.
But there is a reason for optimism too. Queer identities are frequently celebrated on the app, gender-bending is far more accepted than it might be elsewhere, and the creativity on display is often mind-blowing.
The short video format has a low barrier to entry. Users may build a following without a lot of money or cultural capital, unlike on other platforms like YouTube, and the app’s dependence on an algorithm for its primary “for you page” means it’s possible to become viral without a lot of followers.
TikTok is a unique platform where users can learn a lot, create a lot, and find some comfort. “I want to become a filmmaker when I’m older and I think that TikTok has become a great way for me to help me maintain my love for just making videos,” Branson said.
“I felt loved because I have created a small platform for myself where I have a handful of followers who actually like what I do and they always come through on my post. There was a phase where I used to post to try to become viral, but then eventually I stopped caring and I just posted whatever I wanted despite how many views or anything. It just became fun to post regardless and through that, I still maintained just a small handful of followers. I’ve made friends through the app because of it.”