You may have seen their videos floating around on various social media platforms, often reposted on Instagram and Twitter. Like that viral video of a girl in a pink shirt, crying while dancing to Mariah Carey's "Obsessed". If you’re reminded of the Vine and Musical.ly days of the recent past, there’s a pretty good reason why.
TikTok was originally launched in 2014 as Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app that had millions of active users across the globe. It was then bought out by the Chinese company ByteDance in 2017 and was eventually fully integrated into their pre-existing TikTok app in 2018. Known for its short-form videos and viral challenges, this app has captured the attention of the ever-creative Gen Z, who dominate the app’s international demographic at 18-24, with women being the most actively engaged on the platform. The app has a solid and active community in China with India following closely from Asian countries. In the US, TikTok has been downloaded over 96 million times.
So if there’s a way to describe the app and its functions, it’s a combination of Vine with music, Instagram’s easy way of following users, and Twitter’s hashtags to organize content on the platform.
As with every platform, the TikTok community has several popular users who will unfailingly receive thousands of likes and views. Several TikTok stars rose to Internet stardom on the app, which opened doors for them in other platforms and industries like music. It was also the reason for the song “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X to become one of the hit songs of the year by being used in thousands of videos on the platform, eventually earning a spot in the Billboard Top 100. The platform is also a launchpad for viral memes found on the Internet, as the app features popular videos on their trending page.
The most-followed TikTok user or“Muser” as of the moment is Loren Gray. Aside from her 33.7 million followers and a total of 2.1 billion likes on the app, she also has 3.59 million YouTube subscribers and 17.7 million Instagram followers. Aside from the numbers, she’s recently landed the August cover of L’Officiel Baltic. She posts the usual lip-sync videos with comedic aspects on TikTok while keeping her music, makeup, and lifestyle videos on YouTube.
Closely following her is Baby Ariel with 29.8 million followers and 1.6 billion likes. She also posts comedic lip-sync videos on the app. She has 3.08 million YouTube subscribers, who watches videos of her original music.
The most-followed Musers have found varying degrees of success outside of the app, so cross-platform followers and content sharing greatly contribute to their online popularity. Aside from that, Musers are often unafraid to be funny or post cringe-worthy videos all for the entertainment of their followers. Dressed in their everyday clothes, Musers can do anything from dance covers to reaction videos while garnering thousands to millions of likes and views. If you’re wondering if content creators can earn money through the platform, TikTok allows users to buy in-app coins to “give” to creators similar to the YouTube membership feature and websites like Patreon.
Gen-Z humour aside, TikTok’s algorithm and platform allows for endless avenues for self-expression. From dance covers to pop culture tributes, it’s another way for users to share creative ideas with pre-made tools. If you’re interested in dipping your toes into this creative pool, then you should definitely go for it!