Everything you need to know about TikTok
Richard Howard • October 26, 2021if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?>
If you’re not a teenager, not in your twenties or don’t have a hella-strong social media game, you may very well be asking “What is TikTok?” Sure, it’s a social media platform, but what makes it different? To tell the truth, a lot of us that sort of know what it is still don’t know exactly what it is. You know? No? It’s many things—most of which are really weird—is what we’re saying. Even if you have no interest in ever experiencing the aforementioned weirdness, we guarantee that your kids are crazy about it. For that reason alone, you should learn the basics – both for online safety and the fact that it can be a very data-hungry app.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, with all posts being video-based. TikTok video length began at 15 seconds, was upped to 60 seconds, and earlier this year further increased to three minutes. The platform has been so successful that both Facebook and Instagram have incorporated similar functionality, continuously adjusting their “Reels” to more closely match TikTok. Lip-syncing and dancing videos were a large part of the content in the early days of the app.
Today, the type of content wildly varies, often following different trending video types. For instance, there was the “famous relative check” where the user either proves they are, or blatantly lies about, being related to a celebrity of some kind. Hey, we told you it’s weird. “Duets” allow users to piggyback off of an already popular post. Singers duet with world-class pianists, and on the lower-brow side of things, users can simply get into one-sided arguments with an influencer.
Perhaps most commonly though, one creative user will pair a popular song with a humorous challenge, nostalgic recollection or relatable musing. When thousands of people jump on the bandwagon with their own versions, you’ve got yourself a viral video (and serious bragging rights).
Who to follow on TikTok
Zach King is a great example of one of the cool aspects of TikTok. You don’t have to be a celebrity or so-called “beautiful person” to be successful on the platform. Rather, developing skills and having an eye for engaging content can shoot you straight to the top. King used his video editing talents to become one of the most popular users on TikTok’s predecessor Vine. He brilliantly parlayed that into contest wins, commercials and even a stint on The Amazing Race. With over 64 million fans, he’s now one of those most popular people on TikTok.
“Okay boomer” the guy all you want, Will Smith is killing it on TikTok. The 52-year-old actor comes in at an impressive sixth-most-followed on the platform, and is the only pre-social media fame celebrity in the top ten. Obviously his incredible sense of humor had a lot to do with his ascent, but anyone who’s seen a clip of one of his inspirational talks won’t be surprised at his popularity here.
Like many top TikTokers, JoJo Siwa has parlayed her performance abilities to superstardom. Unlike some of her counterparts, however, JoJo manages to balance product partnerships and the promotion of new projects with a behind-the-scenes look at her amazing life. Sure, she’s chilling with celebrities and whatnot, but also lets fans into her dance practice sessions and other methods of preparation. Plus, she’s just so darn NICE.
If you find yourself yelling, “That was totally unnecessary!” at your screen regularly, Khabane Lame is the TikToker for you. Starting off by poking fun at life hacks, Khaby now hilariously calls out any video that offers a convoluted solution to a simple problem. My personal favorite: sending up the girl who struggles after a friend bike-locks her backpack to a pole. Maybe…take off the backpack?
Body positivity, hilarity and some fine production value to boot? (Lizzo is no stranger to a masterful video edit.) Count us in. It’s obvious that Lizzo is an actual fan of the platform, and her genuine enjoyment is contagious.
How much data does TikTok use?
After “What is TikTok,” this might be the question we get the most. Like any app, data usage ultimately depends on usage habits. However, one useful guideline given was that each 15-second video was about 4 MB on average. That doesn’t sound like much, but remember: regular social media behavior is to browse through a number of videos in one viewing session. Theoretically, you can watch four 15-second videos per minute, or 240 per hour. 240 x 4 MB is 960 MB – nearly 1 GB. This lines up with recent tests that found TikTok used about 840 MB in an hour.
Now, it’s unlikely you’ll be watching vids non-stop for an hour. But considering users are spending an average of 52 minutes a day on the app, that’s a heck of a lot of data monthly, and doesn’t even include uploads. In short, if you’ve got limited cellular data, it’s extremely important to ensure you and/or your kids are on Wi-Fi when using TikTok. You might even want to consider preventing Tik Tok from using cellular data at all.
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