Whoever is active on social media these day, may have seen the latest craze already. “I’m already Tracer” and “Hit or Miss” are commented left and right and the memes are expanding even further. It all started with a app named Musical.ly, now fused together with and known as TikTok. Musical.ly might ring a bell for some, as it was seen as a cringy platform were children and pre-teens found their place to lip sync and dance to songs. But how did an app that was seen as cringy by the majority, now find success online? Find out more when we dive deeper in the internet culture and the history of TikTok.
Musical.ly, TikTok’s origin
Released in 2014, the app was made to have users lip sync to various 15-second audio clips, ranging from music to clips from drama shows. The app had a boost in user growth in the summer of 2015, when a lot of teenagers started using the platform. However, the creators did not intend it to be a lip sync platform, but more a video based social network, also intended for educational purposes. The education part however was scrapped in order to accomodate the “Make your own music” idea.
The combination of music, short videos and a social network made the platform attractive for young teens and the platform found great success under that demographic. However, more and more children with phones started downloading musical.ly, resulting in lots of cringe compilations on YouTube. The platform at this stage was more seen by young adults as a platform where kids and teens would be, not something they would participate in.
Name Change to TikTok
So the platform begun to grow, people started using it more and more. And in november of 2017, Chinese company Bytedance bought Musical.ly (with 100 million active users at the time) for $800 million to $1 billion. Earlier this year they decided to use musical.ly’s data and userbase to merge it to TikTok (which has 500 million active users). The app was planning to keep the same layout as musical.ly, just with a few tweaks, which makes sense since now you only have to update and patch one app instead of two. But users of Musical.ly were not too happy with the name change, some even thinking their phone got hacked.
New features TikTok
Besides the well-being feature that alerts users that have been using the app for over 2 hours a day to take a rest, TikTok’s focus was less on the music and more on the video aspect of the platform. TikTok now also launched new VR-looking filters, new tools to create videos. However, one feature is the reason of it’s current booming participation. TikTok is different now since it as a collab feature (also known as “Duet” feature) where you can make a TikTok beside another TikTok, reacting to it or making one video together.
The Duet feature is now the tool that would change TikTok into cringy Musical.ly to Vine 2.0. The memes started circulating in various stages to where it now it. Unfortunately, making a feature to react to TikTok video’s not only results in serious collaborations, but in the beginning people used it to bully others. For instance with the “I wanna be Tracer” song.
They have to purposely be fucking up now pic.twitter.com/2giT1vhG03
— Ironic Tik Toks (@IronicTikTok) 16 oktober 2018
However, jokes used to make fun of these users, have become more meta. For instance, people started to make more creative versions of this girls I wanna be tracer meme.
As displayed in Pewdiepie’s video here.
Now the memes are spiraling down a meta rabbit hole. Several memes are being compiled in one TikTok and the jokes are not necessarily about mocking others, but making clever inside jokes about “I wanna be tracer”, “Hit or Miss” or many others. Continuing so fast, resulting in many compilation videos spawning on YouTube, with a couple million views per video. As you may notice, more young adults participate in TikTok’s now instead of pre-teens and children, resulting in a growing demographic for that platform.
So an app has managed to change its brand image from cringy to the new vine by this merge and changes in features. TikTok therefore is a good case for any app that wants to change their brand image.
What is your opinion on TikTok? Do you use it? Let us know in the comments down below.