Much more than two years have passed since TikTok arrived in the United States in August 2018, offering a reply to anyone who thought that social networks had lost their way. The application had everything: social commentary, comedy, crafts, memes, challenges, makeup tutorials and, of course, dances. Even those that weren’t fully sold couldn’t avoid the videos, which proliferated on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
By April 2020, TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times; In the fall, it had about 850 million monthly active users.
Despite its increase in size and scope, the uninitiated still largely see the application as a tool that can be used by other much younger people. “TikTok is a dance application for children, where children will upload videos about themselves dancing, which children and adults can enjoy,” joked comedian Nathan Fielder. While it is true that TikTok has transformed the culture of online dance, the platform has become a wider social and entertainment network. And in 2020, there was hardly a corner of society that it did not touch.
He turned to entertainment
The most obvious impact of TikTok can be seen in the world of entertainment. “More than any other social network on Myspace, it feels like a new experience, the emergence of a different kind of technology and a different way of consuming media,” wrote journalist Kyle Chayka in November.
The main responsibility for the uniqueness of the TikTok viewing experience is the For You page, an algorithmically programmed stream that serves you content that you will probably find appealing. You don’t need to watch or be watched by a single person to see the videos you want to see, or for your videos to be seen by your target audience, which has given many people a rapid rise in fame. In 2020 alone, top users like Charli and Dixie D’Amelio and Addison Easterling have gathered tens of millions of followers and become household names. D’Amelios even released a Hulu show.
The app also invigorated the music industry and became a place to discover talent, market new songs, collaboratively produce new music and mix songs.
He modeled shopping behavior
TikTok has had an undeniable effect on what people wear and buy. In 2020, TikTokers appeared in campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Prada, signed with agencies such as IMG Models and modeled trends (think of cottagecore and strawberry dress). Gucci embarked on a challenge that taught people how to model items in their closets to look like Alessandro Michele’s runway models. (If you have a head scarf, a turtleneck, and a few brightly colored accessories, you’re halfway there.) The brands in the mass market have also aligned themselves with influencers; The merchant Hype House, for example, is sold at Target.
“Go beyond costumes and express yourself creatively,” Kudzi Chikumbu, director of TikTok’s creative community, told Vogue.com in December. “TikTok is a place of joy and offers the fashion industry a whole new way to present its art and personality.”
While the physical windows were closed in the first months of the pandemic, new brands and stores appeared on TikTok, using the platform to drive online orders. Vintage retailers use TikTok to sell their wares and revive old styles. Large retailers such as Sephora, Dunkin ‘and GameStop have even encouraged their employees to become influential TikTok.
It offered a view of the front lines
Service workers were among the first people to embrace TikTok in 2018, and in 2020 people had a new vision of their lives. Warehouse workers, fast food employees and bartenders turned to TikTok to give others a look at their lives, sometimes finding unintentional fame along the way. In 2020, many of their industries were severely affected by the pandemic and capitalized on TikTok to promote fundraising and relief efforts.
As the coronavirus continued to spread, TikTok also played a key role in public health. Nurses, doctors and other front-line health workers used TikTok to talk about the risks of contracting Covid-19, to explain the importance of wearing a mask, and to break down vaccine misinformation. (Many have documented their vaccinations on the platform.)
Patients with coronavirus and other diseases chronicled their health journeys and connected with the outside world from their hospital beds.
He helped people organize and talk
As the Black Lives Matter movement gained nationwide support this summer, TikTok became a space where young activists could talk about police brutality, what it means to be an ally and criminal justice reform, and their own relationship. of the application with black creators.
Political activism has also been fruitful in its application. In June, TikTok users launched a campaign to inflate expectations of attending President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa. Photos of the event showed a rare crowd, with many empty seats. After the event, Steve Schmidt, a longtime Republican strategist, wrote on Twitter: “Teenagers in America gave a savage blow against @realDonaldTrump.”
He gave us trends that affirm life
One of the oldest and most visible trends on TikTok in 2020 was Renegade, a dance choreographed by 15-year-old Jalaiah Harmon on the Atlanta K-Camp rapper’s “Lottery.” The dance, popularized primarily by white influencers, opened a dialogue about black creators and gave credit where appropriate.
In 2020, viral food culture migrated from Instagram to TikTok. The platform popularized pancake cereals, beaten coffee and carrot bacon. It also helped beginners, such as the cute 18-year-old culinary Eitan Bernath, be discovered and teach millions of people stuck at home during quarantine how to cook.
The songs and audio tracks TikTok provided the soundtrack until 2020. The platform lifted the new artists out of obscurity at a pace never seen before by the music industry. He threw in the spotlight songs like Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and introduced new ones to the mass audience.