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TikTok is a short-form video application that is one of the most popular media in the world right now with over 1 billion monthly active users. Its escalating growth in a couple of years of this new media application causes other existing media to adapt and improve. Here are some of the reasons why TikTok has become worldwide popular.

A picture from Adobe Stock

What is Exactly TikTok?

TikTok is a vertical short-form video application developed by a Chinese company. Tik Tok first appeared as Douyin in China which later merged with Musically in 2018, It started to become a very popular app in 2019 and 2020. The duration of the video can be from 3 seconds to 10 minutes.

How Is TikTok Better Than Others?

1. TikTok Is The Medium To Connect Viewers With Content Creators

TikTok is a new media platform that connects audiences with content creators through smartphones and application since the population of people with smartphones are increasing worldwide.

2. TikTok Can Be Watched Anywhere At Anytime

As long as a person has a smartphone and internet, they can receive the media directly through a smartphone which allows a person to consume media from anywhere. Since the majority of TikTok users use smartphones to watch videos, they can watch videos even on their beds and in the bathroom. Since most TikTok videos are short (no more than 1 minute), it is suitable for anyone who seeks entertainment that does not consume their time much.

3. 9:16 Is The Right Scale for Vertical Short-Form Videos

Video contents are mostly horizontal long-form videos. The 9:16 scale is perfect for users to watch videos and clips on their smartphones. After vertical short-form videos became popular, It causes other applications added a new vertical short-form video feature to maintain their users. For instance, Instagram creates Instagram Reels, and Youtube makes Youtube shorts.

4. TikTok Videos Can Be Made By Smartphones

On one hand, most video content is usually recorded by video cameras, for example, Youtube. Making videos from phones is not easy and not good quality compared to professional cameras which require skills and investment. Videos need to be downloaded and edited through programs which takes a lot of time. On the other hand, TikTok allows its users to create any content anywhere on their smartphones for free. It provides recording and editing tools for the users to create any content easily such as Timer, Filters, Speed, Beautify, and Q&A. Moreover, music or sound can be used freely if the owner is willing to share.

5. Copyright Music Can Be Used In TikTok

Music from artists and content creators can be used freely in TikTok. To be more precise, It provides a music library for the users to find and use music easily. BTS, a Korean artist group has a music library of their songs located at the profile of their official account profile. Moreover, users can click on the icon for the sound of the video at the bottom right of the screen. It will lead the user to another page that shows the name and owner of the sound. It also shows all the videos that use that sound. Lastly, it has a button at the bottom for the users to use the sound immediately to make a video.

6. Any Content Can be Created On TikTok And Become Viral

Since videos can now be made by smartphones, Much content that has rarely or never been shared can be found in TikTok. In TikTok, anyone can be a content creator. For example, the video from the user name Jamie Big Sorrel Horse (@jamie32bsh) became viral with 435.7 million views with 51.8 million likes after recording himself dancing in front of his bathroom mirror to Say It Right – Sped Up Remix. Jamie now has 7.5 million followers after his video went viral. In this case, it shows that any content can become viral in TikTok. Jamie used the sound of the trending music at that moment (2022-1-28) to make a video and receive overwhelmingly positive engagement which causes TikTok to bring the video up to many others FYP.

7. TikTok Video Presentation Is Just Different

Unlike Television, programs are all set on one channel in order: news in the morning, variety shows at noon, and movies at night. The audience cannot choose what they really want to watch first or later on the channel. TikTok, however, does not work that way. One video is being played on full screen. The users will not know what TikTok is going to show them next. They would have to swipe the screen to find out new videos that are generated by AI unless they decide to search for what they want to watch on their own.

8. TikTok Has Stitch And Duet Features

Stitch and Duet are two features in TikTok that allow users to add their own videos to the existing ones either from another account or even their own account. However, there is little difference, Stitch is to add another new video right after the first or original one. Duet is to add the video somewhere of the original video: Left & Right, Green Screen, React, Top & Bottom.

9. TikTok Does Not Have Clickbait

People are often disappointed by the clickbait thumbnail in YouTube videos or Instagram Reels since users can choose to upload whatever they want to be in the thumbnail. One of the ways that content creators use to attract viewers is by making a clickbait thumbnail. This causes the viewer to be dissatisfied and time wasted. However, the thumbnail in TikTok does not work that way. The users would have to choose the part in the video to be the thumbnail. The thumbnail in TikTok is a GIF or Graphics Interchange Format which is a moving picture. So, at the account profile, the users will be able to know very briefly about the video they are going to watch.

10. TikTok Runs By An Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithm

Artificial Intelligence or AI in TikTok collects the data from users’ preferences by tracking their following, watching history, liking, commenting, searching, and sharing behavior to analyze what would the users like to watch and bring those videos to the For You Page or FYP. TikTok recognizes the user’s preference and recommends similar videos to the user’s FYP. If the user, however, does not watch some videos it recommends, AI will learn that the user is not interested in the content. As a result, it will show fewer videos about that content. Moreover, TikTok would present these videos to people who have similar interests. So, people would frequently find the same video as others on their FYP.

11. Videos Can Be Shared Inside And Outside TikTok

On the right side of the video, there is a share button for users to send any video to other people. Inside the app, the users can share the video with those whom they are following. Outside the app, users can also share the video by sending the links or downloading the videos.

12. Content Creators Earn Money From TikTok

If the content creator has 10,000 followers and 100,000 views in the past 30 days, they will be able to earn money directly from TikTok. However, if the user does not have the following requirements, they can still earn money from Live on TikTok. A feature called LIVE Gifts allows viewers to engage with LIVE video in real time. Viewers can send virtual Gifts that will appear on the screen during the LIVE video. Diamonds are given based on how popular the LIVE videos are. The total amount of Diamonds will be displayed in the LIVE summary.

Many Businesses Use TikTok To Promote Themselves

A screenshot from NewJeans official TikTok account profile

Not only just a place for fun or showing creativities, but many accounts also use TikTok for their business. Users can pay TikTok for sponsorship to help put their videos up on people’s FYP. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and other luxury brands seriously promoted their goods at the very first appearance of TikTok since they can see the potential of this application since it was growing rapidly. Artists like NewJeans, a new k-pop group, also use TikTok as one of the platforms to promote their songs. Most of their videos are the group members dancing to their songs, behind the scenes, and with trending content or effects. They provide their songs and effects for users and fan clubs in TikTok to use which are elements that help them to gain more followers and fan clubs.

My Opinion On TikTok

As one of the Gen Z TikTok users, I never thought that TikTok would become very popular in a very short time. Most of the media that I use are Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. As I look back, I found out that TikTok has disrupted those media with its vertical short-form video a lot. Instagram Reels and Youtu As a TikTok user, I think that TikTok is very addictive and entertaining. Its functions and presentation are easy to use for any generation as my parents (baby boomers) also enjoy watching TikTok videos. At the end of the day, in my point of view, TikTok would be viral for many years if it continues to develop and improve its features.