More than just a platform for lip-sync videos and memes for Gen Z
Some may dismiss the highly-addictive platform TikTok as a Vine on steroids, where one can upload 3-15 second lip-sync videos, but it’s evidently more than just that. Launched in 2017 by Beijing-based ByteDance, it was rebranded (formerly musical.ly) and has grown exponentially—becoming a key player in the digital ecosystem. It was the #2 most downloaded app on the App Store in 2018 and received the #1 slot on Google Play with over a billion downloads worldwide.
Behind the Memes
A tweet from user @kaludiasays went viral with a post from TikTok user Gill No Chill calling attention to efforts by the Clark County School District to force the district to pay educators what they have rightfully earned—amid a crippling strike for teachers.
These kids on tiktok are organizing a general strike in solidarity with their teachers? Holy shit? pic.twitter.com/h1Rny03xwc
— klaudia amenábar (@kaludiasays) August 27, 2019
She shares, “So, our district is refusing to give teachers who spent the past three years earning enough credits out of their own pockets, spending extra hours outside of school to earn credits to get a raise. And our district won’t give it to them. Like, literally, they won’t pay the teachers what the teachers earned.”
From this TikTok alone, students have planned a walkout for the 5th of September all across the United States. As luck would have it, it didn’t push through because the teachers eventually got a salary increase—after 13 years. Gillian Sullivan and her peers are the first to organize a strike on TikTok.
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Unlike other short-form video and streaming apps, TikTok includes impressive features like built-in sounds and pre-cleared song snippets. It also has a “digital well-being” feature alerting users when they spend over two hours on the app. Another strength is its inclusive niche interests and social groups focusing on a diverse selection of topics like beauty, food, fashion and comedy. Users even upload challenges, magic tricks and dance videos. One of its most successful TikTok stars is Lil Nas X whose Billboard-topping hit Old Country Road got its start on the platform.
A quarter of the users are under 24, proving yet again how this “woke” generation recognizes that their collective voices—in this digital era—can bring the change they want to see.
Art Alexandra Lara