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TikTok is actually a video sharing platform with a twist. Videos can be no longer than 15 seconds and they are based on various themes: music, cooking, travel, dance, fashion, and so forth. Users create these short videos, use simple tools to incorporate music and effects, and share them on the site. The most common clips are high on entertainment value, having a premium on instant gratification. Similar to Vine, which turn off in 2016, TikTok can be regarded as a youtube video version of Instagram or Snapchat.

TikTok originates from China, but, interestingly, it is far from properties of one of the Chinese tech giants. Despite massive investments in video platforms through the likes of Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, not one of them dominates this region. TikTok – known locally as Douyin – was launched in 2016 by ByteDance, a Beijing-based tech company traditionally focused on news. Its news app, called Toutiao, uses advanced AI algorithms that learn user preferences, then provides customised news feeds. Bytedance uses exactly the same algorithms to offer relevant video feeds to TikTok users.

By the beginning of 2017, Douyin had become China’s most favored Likes Fans And Followers. In November of the identical year, ByteDance spent US$1 billion to get a competing video sharing site called Musical.ly. While Musical.ly was founded in China, the majority of its users were based in the US. The combined global reach of TikTok and Musical.ly designed for an effective combination.

While many social media marketing applications give attention to global consistency and reach, TikTok centered on targeting specific local audiences. For instance, in Japan, TikTok collaborated using a large artist management company to get traffic from YouTube and Instagram using watermarked TikTok videos developed by local celebrities. It also ran several dancing and music campaigns focused on overcoming shyness, a problem for most younger people in Japan.

Challenges are some of the important elements of TikTok. They are video skits that get acted out on masse, with individuals creating various responses to your popular meme. A recently available one involved gummy bears singing an Adele song, which got 1.7m likes on TikTok, went viral on Twitter and spawned numerous spinoffs.

The app has been growing steadily since it acquired its U.S.-based rival Musical.ly in November 2017 for north of $800 million, then merged the two apps’ user bases last August. This gave TikTok the methods to grow in Western markets, where it provides attracted the interest of U.S. celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk, for instance, in addition to YouTubers on the ffyytx for the next new thing.

Instead, its main feed often surfaces everyday users – aka, amateurs – doing something cute, funny or clever, with a tacit acknowledgement that “yes, it becomes an internet joke” underlying most of the material.

But that’s because people trying to talk about TikTok are old(er) individuals who grew up on the big ol’ mean internet. Cringey, frankly, is surely an unfair label, since it dismisses TikTok’s success in setting a tone for the community. Here, users will frequently post and share unapologetically wholesome content, and receive less mocking than elsewhere on the web – largely because everybody else on TikTok posts similar “cringey” content, too.

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