TikTok: showcasing creativity in community

In the Middle

More than 500 million active users worldwide. The most downloaded app on the app store in 2019. Over one billion videos viewed every day. You may assume that these statistics are for a globally used service, a staple in daily life, but they actually belong to an up and coming streaming app that is taking the world by storm. This app is TikTok.

TikTok is an app where users can create and share short videos of themselves, and also watch videos made by other creators.

The app is centered around its “For You” page, where videos recommended to users are displayed. This is where most users find content. Getting on the “For You” page is a goal for many creators, as it helps distribute their content to a wider audience.

Most videos are about 15 seconds long, each with its own story and creative elements, and there is a constant flow of new content, which makes TikTok addictive to constantly scroll through. This app has grown and spread across the country very quickly, including here at Kingswood Oxford.

Many students from KO enjoy using TikTok. However, two students, junior Evan Banning and sophomore Lexi Vail have found great fame through the app. Evan has gained over 45,900 followers and has received over 1,200,000 total likes across his videos. Lexi has over 43,900 followers and gained over 1,100,000 likes from her videos.

There is a wide variety of content across TikTok, and oftentimes people’s work goes viral for seemingly random things. Evan agrees that the unpredictability of the app has helped his channel grow. “My tiktok where I pretended to be tall…went viral for no reason at all. It wasn’t even funny and there was zero effort put into that,” he said.

Using TikTok has made many of its users’ more creative thinkers when listening to everyday music. “Normally I will hear a song and I realize that I can relate one of the lyrics to something or to a trend that’s already going around on TikTok,” Evan said.

In December the KO News descibed TikTok as an “…outlet for people to make fools of themselves.” This has been a controversial topic among the KO community. Lexi disagrees. “I just use it to express myself because I like telling stories and making people laugh and smile and I enjoy putting my ideas out there. I don’t think of it as a way to make a fool of yourself unless you like doing that to make people happy,” she said.

TikTok’s popularity at KO has spread not only among the students but even to the faculty. Middle school office administrator Brittany Dix has found not only enjoyment from the app, but also fame for her and her one-year-old daughter Lily.

“I actually downloaded TikTok as a joke and once I started scrolling through it I realized how addicting it was. It took me about two weeks until I made a video, which was of Lily doing a trend, and I got 13,000 views in four hours. I felt so famous at the moment and it just became addicting,” she said.

Her fame has only grown from there, and she now has amassed over 687,700 followers and 15.3 million likes.

“It turned out to be that I’m documenting Lily’s life and all of the stages she is going through and all of the milestones…so many opportunities have come from TikTok. It has definitely had a positive influence on my life because it came at a time where I was really down with my dad passing away, so this has really been helping me through it in a way because it distracts my mind,” she said.

“It’s been really heartwarming and I just love all of my followers and I love that people like to watch Lily. It’s just so cool to think about and TikTok has been awesome for us and such a blessing,” she said.