Although it has only been around since 2017, the social media phenomenon, TikTok, spread quickly among the younger generation. Apps like Twitter and Instagram have even experienced a slight decrease in users after TikTok reached viral success. Most notably, the app broke a record for the most downloads in the first four months of 2020. Statistics show that it was downloaded over 300 million times—the largest number any social media platform has received.
The arrival of COVID-19 and the fluctuating struggles with jobs, lockdowns, and general health led many people to turn to social media. This encouraged people to connect with others through these platforms. TikTok’s rising popularity has soared since the beginning of 2020. It continues to be the most used app, even in mid-2021.
To distract themselves from the stress and panic of the pandemic, people began posting lighter content on TikTok. Videos of people in uniforms or strange outfits dancing, DIY projects, life hacks, and playing musical instruments or singing were among some of the various types of content being produced.
The Social Media Age
Despite the growing attention to TikTok, other platforms displayed higher numbers of users as well. The pandemic forced people to remain home and gave them the opportunity to embrace their social and creative sides. Within the first quarter of 2020, Facebook and Instagram were installed over 100 million times. The former reached about 180 million while the latter hit approximately 150 million downloads.
The popularity of TikTok has led to the creation of several apps and features that sought to compete with it. Some of these apps include:
- Firework: In 2019, Google was rumored to have bought this app.
- Lasso: It was released by Facebook in 2018 but hasn’t picked up steam.
- Byte: One of the founders of Vine published this in 2020. It has become somewhat popular, though no major creator breakthroughs have occurred yet.
- Triller: In hopes of taking on TikTok as a rival, this app hopes to use legitimate record deals to bring in creators.
- Dubsmash: The app, responsible for the popular dance, “The Renegade”, unfortunately only has about a third of downloads compared to TikTok.
Other social media platforms have attempted to release added features that mimic TikTok’s style. Examples of these are the Reels feature of Instagram, Fleets on Twitter, and the Story feature on YouTube.
The King of Social Media?
Creativity on TikTok seems to know no bounds as creators post videos of dances, ‘sounds’, voiceovers, and so much more on a daily basis. The variety of the app is what has led to its success. Communities within TikTok feel connected to each other, as well as being a part of something larger. This connectivity has been the main focus in the past year. TikTok’s versatility also gives users more options—and freedom—to make something unique. Additionally, popularity on the app doesn’t conform to the same kind of algorithm as other platforms. This presents its users with a refreshing element.