What is Tiktok? You probably have asked yourself this question when you see around you – and there’s this trend where everyone seems to use this app. Tiktok is another app that joins the bandwagon of (other) apps focusing on human interaction and also the popular trend. Social media is focusing on short videos sharing, creation, and discovery.
Unlike Twitter focusing on ‘tweets’ or words and, Instagram focusing on photos, Tiktok is about short videos. Through creating videos, users are encouraged to express themselves. They generally lip-syncing, but you can dance, sing, do comedy – and whatever you like to express yourself. Afterward, feel free to share them throughout the community.
The popularity of Tiktok doesn’t happen overnight. There have been app integration, development, and acquisition since the early beginning in 2016 or 2017. Despite the different controversies and opinions of people (some say that it is fun and entertaining), you have to admit that the app itself is popular.
2020 was the year where Tiktok reached its popularity – especially during the pandemic. People had to stay home, so they turn to entertainment – and simply having fun! Tiktok allows them to create content in any possible way – the sky is your limit, really.
What Is Tiktok? And How Does It Work?
To understand what is Tiktok, we need to look back at its history. As it was mentioned before, Tiktok doesn’t happen overnight. It all started out with Musical.ly, a platform focusing on video streaming (and sharing) for 15 seconds. The app was quite popular back then, having more than 100 million of users. It enabled users to use various kinds of dialogue and music. Based on their creativity, they can make funny videos, entertaining content, or simply lip-sync.
It was getting more popular with creative content creators making engaging content. They were able to gain global and massive popularity, raising themselves up to the social media’s hall of fame. To expand their popularity, they shared the videos (which they created in Musical.ly) on other platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram. Such action has driven both the user’s and app’s popularity to the highest level.
Then, ByteDance, a Chinese company, bought the app and took it over in August 2018. After the purchase, the contents, accounts, and users from Musical.ly were moved and transferred automatically to the new app, which we are going to know as Tiktok.
So, as you have read from the explanation above about what is Tiktok, it is a short video and also video-sharing app that enables users to create videos on any topic. The company might have bought Tiktok to increase engagement and use from global users, but they have their own separate market – dedicated to the Chinese market alone. It is called Duyin, having more than 300 million active users on a monthly basis. If you see the logo, you should see a combination of both Duyin and Musical.ly logos.
Tiktok and Musical.ly – How They Are Different
As it was mentioned before, Musical.ly is about an app for video creation and sharing. However, Tiktok users today are creative and smart – they don’t only focus on lip-syncing or dancing, but they also create engaging and even educational contents.
Some people dislike Tiktok at the beginning, thinking that the app is only ‘a waste of time’ – because of the contents. But as the app progresses and more users are able to make use of the platform to create educational contents, Tiktok is no longer a waste of time. Those who doubted and disliked Tiktok had a change of heart once they see that the contents in Tiktok are various. So, there are different contents for different users. Those who want to have fun can choose the contents they like, and those who want to learn or educate themselves have those contents too.
Moreover, Tiktok today offers tons of features and add-ons. There are various song snippets and sounds, along with extra filters and effects. Moreover, the app added the so-called reactions feature. Users are able to record reactions to the videos and then share. It doesn’t stop there – it adds digital (well-being) feature that will alert users when they have spent more than 2 hours for the app.
So, in summary, when we want to learn what is Tiktok, it is s video-sharing (social) platform where users are able to create various kinds of videos, including magic tricks, funny contents, dance videos, musical challenges, and also general types of challenges. So, basically Tiktok and Musical.ly is different in terms of scope. Tiktok isn’t only for singing or dancing video contents – there are more aspects that you can learn and enjoy from the app.
How Tiktok Works?
As it was mentioned before, users are encouraged to create videos so they can share those videos with the world. The videos are called Tiktos, and they can be 15 seconds in length. However, you can also connect several clips, forming a total of 60 seconds of videos. If you record longer videos (more than 15 seconds) OUTSIDE the platform, you should have no problems uploading those videos within the app.
To make it convenient and comfortable for users, Tiktok has provided customization and video editing tools. There is also a library full of effects, songs, sound bites, and filters that you can add to your videos. Another unique feature of the platform is the ‘duet’. So, when you see a video that you like, you can ‘reply’ to it. When you do it, you can create a split screen and also limitless reactions. You can add your own lip-sync and sounds to another user’s contents or videos. These features are also the reasons why people like using Tiktok – because it is totally easy to use!
Navigation and Exploration
If you want to navigate the app, here’s the guide for you. You will find a menu bar located on the bottom. It is the home for shortcuts for every (five) pages:
- Home. It will show two types of feeds: For You and Following.
- Discover. It will show you the Tiktok videos that are tagged with the trending hashtag
- Create Video. If you choose this, you are ready to record the screen so you can create a video.
- Inbox. It will show you the entire activities on the videos. If you see an Envelope icon, you can access DM (Direct Message).
- Me. It’s about your profile. You (and other users) can see it. If you want to make parts of your profile private, you should be able to do so.
Watching and Interacting on Videos
If you are familiar with Instagram or Vine, then you should be able to watch the Tiktoks without any issue. The videos would appear on the screen in a vertical mode. If you ‘like’ the contents, use ‘hearts’. If you want to find videos, use the Discovery feature.
If you are new to this app, you will see the section ‘For You’ where it contains curated (featured) videos. If you want to, you can switch to the Popular or Friends sections to see the videos of users you follow. If you search for videos, you can use the hashtags or keywords to find the ones that you want to watch. Can you pause the screen? Yes, just tap on it, and it will be paused. Around the videos, you should see many options of hearts, shares, and comments. Basically, you shouldn’t have any issue navigating or using the app.
Can you watch videos on Tiktok without making any account? Yes, you can do it. However, you won’t be able to engage or interact with others – sending likes or comments would be impossible. That’s why users are encouraged to create accounts so they can interact, communicate, and engage with others.
Not everyone likes Tiktok. That’s okay because different people have different preferences and likes concerning a certain app or social media. But now that you already understand what is Tiktok, you can decide whether it is the right platform for you – or not.