What Does TikTok Mean to You?


FPU Students Weigh in on the Popular Video-Sharing App 

TikTok may be the newest platform to evolve out of the social media frenzy over the last two decades. I’ve personally seen it’s success and popularity increase significantly in our small part of the world. Its form of communication feeds the human need for exhibition and connection to others. When COVID hit, TikTok finally became a household name. The app created a bridge among users, giving people an outlet to express themselves and share feelings in a less intrusive manner while maintaining a semblance of genuine connection. People often feel the need to share the most personal aspects of life with others, and posting or watching content on TikTok helps people  meet others who share their experiences. In this way, TikTok has created communities and networks that might have never existed otherwise. TikTok has also provided an outlet for stress. 

Senior English and history major Gabriella Quijano says that “It makes me feel happy scrolling through and seeing all these dumb/really funny videos. Watching TikTok is definitely a way for me to cope with stress and just procrastinate. For the most part, it’s just stress.”

There are almost 100 million Americans (60% women, 40% men) regularly using TikTok. It has been downloaded more than 2 billion times. Almost 50% of users are under 34 years old, and 26% are 18-24 years old. It has swelled in popularity, and it is likely that even those who don’t have the app either know or have heard about it.  Many people know someone who posts content. Many more have likely heard about the dance challenges, and even participated in some of them. TikTok is more than a passing fad. For many people, it has become a lifestyle; for others, a platform for advertising, politics, awareness or acceptance. Some use TikTok to cry for help, learn delicious recipes or simply enjoy a laugh or two.  

John-Russel Laforteza, a senior history major, focuses on posting content that makes people laugh, stating: “I want to make people laugh, especially in these times of uncertainty and fear.” The type of content he posts makes him feel less lonely and he hopes to spread a message of positivity to his viewers.

From my personal experience,scrolling through my For You Page. The algorithm created by this unique application fills me with the feeling that I am less alone. It gives me much needed adult time. My algorithm is filled with other parents and crazy, funny content  and pranks my husband and I do to, and with, our children. My For You Page is filled with people singing, and I love to watch them. 

What am I when I log in to TikTok? TikTok is a way for me to connect with my teenage daughter. I see the content she posts and it is a glimpse into her world that she may not communicate to me. maybe that is what TikTok is really all about. It is freedom: freedom to be who you want and freedom to share yourself with the world. We tend to think that screens provide us with a safety net, but TikTok has stripped this safety net away because the content—though often edited—is still out there for the world to see and must face whatever comments may come.  After all, the point of posting content is so that someone else can view it.

Choosing to simply view content is choosing to find a community to identify with, or choosing to break up the loneliness or monotony of one’s day. Maybe we just get lost down the proverbial rabbit hole that is the For You Page. Whatever our reasons for using TikTok, it has become an important part of our lives. I think we should all take a step back and ask ourselves a question: what does TikTok mean to you and why?  

Authors: Janelle Fontaine & Kassandra Klein | Opinions Editor & Copy Editor

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