“The Woah,” two-two-threes and POVs are all familiar phrases to a specific genre of Internet influencers—TikTokers. Formerly known as “musical.ly,” TikTok has reemerged as a social media platform for sharing videos that are paired with trending audios, which the average TikToker would call a sound. Although users brand the app as a joke, the goal to be featured on the app’s For You page—the feed that launches users to TikTok stardom—is real.
“TikTok is like if you were to combine Instagram and Vine, which is why I think people like it so much,” senior Aislyn O’Connell said. “Musical.ly was released at a time where Vine was still alive, so people didn’t pay much attention to it and viewed the new app as some fad.”
O’Connell totals 187.3K likes on her videos while junior Kate McLellan has accumulated 17.1K likes throughout her TikTok career to make them two of the most popular TikTokers at Walpole High School.
“My most viewed TikTok is one that I made when I was bored one day over the summer and I basically just tell this absurd story incorporating various trends and sounds that were popular at the time,” O’Connell said. “I did not expect it to blow up whatsoever, but it ended up getting 154.9K views.”
To obtain as many views as O’Connell did, one must be featured on the For You page. The For You page is where users are directed to when they first open up the app. The page’s feed is endless, which is part of the reason why it is so addictive. Obsessed with being featured on the For You page, users theorize strategies that they feel will improve their chances of going viral; however, no one is really certain how to outsmart the app.
“When I make a really good video, I ask my friends to do the ‘share, other, cancel’ because it makes my video go onto more For You pages,” McLellan said. “‘Share, other, cancel’ is when you press the share button, then pretend to share it to ‘other,’ and cancel out of the page to trick the algorithm.”
ByteDance first launched TikTok in China, under the name “Douyin,” in Sept. 2016. After gaining 100 million users in a single year, TikTok was launched internationally in Sept. 2017. Two months later, ByteDance purchased and absorbed musical.ly to officially become the dominant lip-sync video app. However, TikTok endeavored to rebrand itself. Anything ranging from tying a dog’s ears back into a bun to reenacting a scene from a television show can be encapsulated as a TikTok trend. Currently, TikTok circulates popular dances and different perspectives on common issues or complaints—particularly in the form point of view videos.
“My favorite trend would have to be POVs because they are both creative and relatable. POV videos are when a TikToker comments what their perspective or role in the video is and then uses sarcastic, yet funny, explanations that depict a relatable story,” McLellan said.
Despite its entertaining qualities, TikTok can provide unnecessary stress when taken too seriously, which is why O’Connell ensures that her account is purely for laughs.
“At the end of the day, I make TikToks to procrastinate doing my work and to try and make my friends laugh. Having a video get a lot of views or likes is cool, but it’s not necessarily my priority,” O’Connell said. “In a cliche sort of way, my TikToks show a side of me people at school don’t necessarily see because of how quiet I am, which is really weird to me, but it makes for good conversation.”