TikTok on the Clock: Students Speak Out About the Biggest New Social Platform

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By Greta Risgin, Editor-in-Chief. Interviews by Greta Risgin, Editor-in-Chief and Eileen Flaherty, Student Life Division Head. Photo by Shea O’Brien, Photography and Media Director. Pictured: Maeve O’Brien, ’20 and Kevin Moody, ’20 making a TikTok.

If you’ve had any connection to the internet this past summer, you may be aware of a little social media app that is blowing up right now: TikTok. TikTok has taken Generation Z by storm, and although millions of people are using TikTok, it has some controversial popularity. Some people love it, some hate it, and some people just don’t understand it. People who love it hail it as the return of Vine, Musical.ly, or something totally new; people who hate it call it the decline of our society wrapped up into a tiny app; and the people who don’t get it don’t understand the appeal of simply lip-syncing to songs and audio clips. Here The Blue and White has interviewed each demographic of people to discover what makes this app so alluring and repulsive at the same time.

If you are in fact totally clueless to what TikTok is — here is the breakdown. The Tik Tok app came from an older app “Musical.ly” which was launched in 2014 and was mostly full of dancers and people lip-syncing to pop songs. Musical.ly was absorbed by a Chinese company called ByteDance and turned into TikTok. The app was officially launched to the public in 2017, and the rest is history. The premise of the app is to lip-sync to audio bites and music in fifteen-second videos, though full minute videos can also be uploaded to the app. The users on the app are called “TikTokers” who can watch an infinite stream of short comedy on the TikTok homepage. Content on the app can go viral with sometimes millions of likes on a single video, and the app has even grown its own group of people who are “TikTok famous”. The app is very reminiscent of Vine which had users create seven-second comedy videos, but with a sleeker more modern redesign for the current generation of junior high and high schoolers.

When surveyed on their TikTok opinions, the student body was split almost evenly into those who love, those who hate, and those who couldn’t care less. The Blue and White sat down with some of these TikTokers to get the inside perspective.

The Lovers

We had the honor of interviewing resident TikToker, Annaliese Adipietro, ‘20 (TikTok: @parisnicoleskyjackson) to figure out why some students love making TikToks so much. Her answer was simple; after feeling remorse over never making vines, although being a self-proclaimed “vine goddess,” she decided she had been given a second chance upon the arrival of TikTok. She stated that she loves the positive attention for her TikToks, as well as the negative to “check her ego,” and her quest for TikTok fame could open doors for brand deals. Adipietro’s closing words for her haters were “love more, hate less” (a quote from infamous TikToker @varlicious). 

The newspaper also took the time to interview two Tik-“watchers”, Layane Moreira, ‘20 (TikTok: @casiowatchesarecool) and Dane Moruzzi, ‘21, who prefer to opt out of actually making TikToks, but still like to enjoy others content. These two said they loved TikTok because it creates a whole culture of funny videos and inside jokes that are unique to the app, once again hearkening back to the Vine era. When asked why they had no intention of making TikToks, Moreira stated she did not want colleges to see her content and possibly look down on it. Moruzzi simply stated he would find himself too cringey, but still liked to participate in others TikToks. They also said they felt they were part of an inside group for liking TikTok, but that didn’t make them different or “edgy,” simply enjoying something fun and trendy in the moment.

The Indifferent

One of our final interviews was with Sam Hong, ‘22, who became our spokesperson for the indifferent third of the school. He said he doesn’t care about TikTok because it’s such a hit or miss app; some are funny, but a lot are just plain cringey. Although he said he doesn’t care about TikTok, he doesn’t think it will fade too quickly, and still likes to occasionally watch some on Instagram. When asked how he felt about people being inside the TikTok circle or outside, he stated that it just doesn’t matter, stating, “if you like it you like it, and if you don’t that’s fine too.”

The Haters

The very last one-on-one interview was with a self-proclaimed “TikTok hater,” Katrina Schell, ‘20. Although a lover of the long dead Vine app, She slammed the TikTok, calling it a worse version of its predecessor. She stated she simply feels there is little originality on the app and the content is not funny. Feeling her peers are too obsessed with the app, she called them to “stop being cringe.” Although Schell feels like an outsider by not liking TikTok, she simply doesn’t care and predicts the app will eventually run itself into the ground. When asked to drop a TikTok handle, she chose to drop her classmate Maeve O’Brien’s (TikTok: @maeveobrien7).

TikTok can be fun, weird, cringey, and ridiculous. Whether you love TikTok for being the second coming of vine or hate it for its oddball content, the app is sticking around for the time being.  So try it out, watch your friends make them in the halls, and have a good laugh. Happy TikTok-ing!