TikTok: What’s the big deal?

There is no denying that the popularity of the social media platform TikTok has been skyrocketing since it first launched in August 2018.  If you hadn’t heard of it already, the chances you became familiar with the platform during lockdown are highly likely.

More and more individuals are turning to TikTok as a form of discovery, education, and most importantly – entertainment. The social media app received a grand total of 738 million downloads in 2019. But, last month it was announced that, just four months into 2020, it had already been downloaded a massive 2 billion times!

Its popularity has even been said to fuel the rise of number 1 hits globally. So where did TikTok come from, and what is the big deal?

A lil’ bit of history

TikTok extended from, a lip-syncing app launched in China. was then acquired by a Chinese tech company and merged with another lip-syncing app named Douyin. And… the social media platform TikTok was born.

In its first month, TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat for monthly app downloads. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 41% of all TikTok users are between the ages of 16-24. Generation-Z grew up during the golden era of the internet, and TikTok provides a platform for them to express themselves. They’ve created their own subculture on the platform where the possibilities are truly endless.

Challenges, challenges… and more challenges

TikTok fans will tell you, the app is oddly addictive.  The platform is a hub for funny videos featuring dramatic lip-sync to your favourite tunes or reenactments of your favourite scene from the Kardashian’s. But, the biggest reason for the app’s success is the challenges.

These 15-second challenges include short dance routines to a particular song (some not being the easiest!), ‘keepie-uppies’ with toilet rolls, and putting a t-shirt on whilst doing a handstand. New challenges spring up daily, with some users going viral in hours. TikTok has built a community united through these trends and hashtags.

Even though this is an amazing opportunity for recreation and creativity to blossom, there have been some insane and relatively dangerous challenges attempted, some of which TikTok had to directly remove from the social media platform altogether.

The impact of COVID-19

TikTok is thriving in this global pandemic with the number of users rapidly increasing. As people are bored at home it has become a welcome distraction for many amongst all the uncertainty.

Some teachers are turning to the social media platform to connect and engage with students. One PE teacher in Illinois understands the popularity of the platform amongst his students and has introduced different short workouts for them to try at home. There has also been an increasing amount of recipe videos for those wishing to try their hand at more than a banana bread.

TikTok is evolving. No longer just a place for entertainment and light-hearted content, its users are constantly finding more ways to utilise the app. Who knows what the future holds? One things for sure – if you want to know what’s trendy in social media, you’ve got to download TikTok.

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