What is TikTok and why the hell it is so popular in Pakistan?

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January 23, 2019
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Disclaimer: Following article is a monologue of a Pakistani who is busy “managing” three platforms/accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and has recently been enlightened with a new revolutionary app “TikTok” that has surpassed even Facebook in the total number of downloads last year.

This article is actually a confession of a confused social media addict who, on one hand, don’t want to add one more social media account to their life and, on the other hand, doesn’t really want to feel left out among others trying to be a cool know-it-all person.

Yes, I came to know about “TikTok” last month while having a conversation with my millennial cousin since my social media was flooded with its videos and memes. He told me that TikTok is a video content creation app where users lip sync with videos available in the TikTok international media center. So, with a Generation X mindset, I have been gathering information regarding this new sensation and why people, especially in Pakistan, are so obsessed about it?

My definition of TikTok: “Snapchat is all about personal stories and experiences. TikTok is about acting on others’ stories and videos!”

TikTok is an app developed by China-based company, ByteDance. This company has got a variety of products including TikTok (whc\ich was merged with another popular app Musical.ly after ByteDance purchased it), Top Buzz, and the News Republic. Interestingly, all these products are using Artificial intelligence that learns user’s behavior, their preferences, likes, and interests and pushes the content according to their tastes and requirements.

What TikTok does is provide a platform to its users where they can express themselves in a multitude of creative ways by making short videos out of funny soundbites or short music clips. These clips can then be shared with millions of users across the world, who are continuously scrolling through their specially curated endless timelines, discovering new videos with every scroll to keep them hooked to the platform. By using Artificial Intelligence to learn their interests and then using that knowledge to keep pushing relevant content to their timeline, TikTok has created such an addictive platform which is very hard to quit for the generation which is always online.

TikTok versus other social media platforms

Despite all this, I am still in a fix whether I should download TikTok or not? So, I asked myself why am I using my current social media accounts and why Mr. Guilt is so bothering me not to go for another one?

  • I am using Facebook firstly because it’s my first ever social media account and I definitely have a closed association with it. Moreover, it’s a One for All and All for One platform that connects me with my friends, shares all the important social updates and news with all sorts of privacy settings.
  • I use Instagram since it is the most essential platform for bloggers and social media influencers. I follow multiple national and international bloggers and to keep myself well-informed and up-to-date with the latest trends.
  • I am a passive Twitter user since I don’t post here much but I love the concept of micro-blogging since it keeps you updated to the latest news on the go.

How is TikTok different?

In continuation of my above arguments, the next question that pops is what special features are offered by TikTok that make it stand out in the social media game? As a matter of fact, TikTok is entirely another domain of social media. It’s all about the creativity of its users and that’s what makes it different from the rest of the existing social media platforms.

One thing that really amazes me about TikTok is its huge repository of media including clips, voices and their combinations that turn out be hilarious short clips. TikTok gives a lot of liberty to its users to utilize their creativity to lip sync with different videos and to interact with other users to come up with unique video clips. It is also interesting to note that TikTok has got such a humongous media repository of multiple nationalities, countries, and languages to keep its users and audience entertained for hours.

TikTok, Humor, and Sarcasm

We are getting closer towards solving the enigma of the popularity of TikTok and especially in Pakistan. Following is the overall break down the types of TikTok clips created by Pakistanis:

  • Short “Bollywood” Film clips and dialogues
  • Random news and videos
  • Songs and dances
  • Memes about politicians
  • Humor intended clips

TikTok works in multiple ways for both the clip creators and viewers: First, TikTok gives freedom to its users to unleash their potential to act and lip sync in order to create humorous clips thus giving the users the confidence to create more videos. Not only that, it helps its users feel like a big part of the platform through the meet and greets, giveaways and gifts being sent on crossing certain milestones.

Secondly, it encourages engagement with other users through easy remixing and collaboration creation options at the click of a button. Thirdly, it allows creative liberty by providing an easily accessible library of audio clips from popular music videos, films, and TV shows. TikTok clips are a source of good laughter for its audience who can view them not only on TikTok but also on any other social media platform since its videos can be easily downloaded and exported to any other platform.

TikTok and popularity

TikTok is for extroverts and especially those who have got good acting skills. This platform guarantees popularity for the people who want to be famous quickly and get known by a larger audience within short periods of time. The famous TikTokers with thousands of followers are now considered to be as celebrities and are given due recognition for their talent and creativity behind their TikTok content. Well, a lot of credit definitely goes to the “Digital revolution” which has led to shorter attention spans and hunger for everything to happen faster and more efficiently. TikTok is a two-way handshake: Video-content creators who want popularity in no time and passive users who use this app just to follow famously and “worth-following” people on TikTok.

TikTok mixes funny and popular really well

Well, I am not really sure about our productivity level and time utilization on making such clips and what is the reward of such TikTok videos other than being a creative actor/actress and being popular. On a lighter note, the funny TikTok clips can be termed as laughter therapy.

It’s a well-established fact that funny always sell better and that’s one of the biggest reason behind TikTok’s popularity among Pakistanis. That’s why lighthearted and sarcastic Marvel Cinematic universe is trumping DC universe in the past decade. We intend to have a good leisure time laughing at the TikTok clips created by us and our friends. And Pakistanis’ interests have now shifted towards swift popularity and we now strive to be famous and known for our video content on TikTok. That’s what is driving TikTok’s insane growth in Pakistan and other countries from the sub-continent.

It remains to be seen if TikTok has the steam to keep challenging other social media platforms or it will find its inevitable end like Vine and other short-lived social media platforms.

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