With the invention of the smartphone and its increasing popularity in recent years, a new popular culture of sorts has taken over our younger generations: Apps and the ability to stream yourself through them. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t need to have looks. You don’t even need to be super talented necessarily. All you need is your phone, an app such as TikTok, some sense of humor and creativity, and you could be famous. How did we get to this point where you can film a short video of yourself on your phone and become an internet star? Well, we need to take it back to a couple years before the first iPhone was released.
In 2005, three former PayPal employees officially created a website called Youtube where anyone can view, upload, and share videos for the world to see. Only a little over a year after its creation, Google purchased the site in 2006 for $1.65 million. Youtube opened up the door to the idea that anyone can be famous, giving people the freedom to create any content for the world to see through their account as long as there was a camera and a fun idea. After “Charlie bit my finger”, countless song parodies and original songs, dance videos, pranks, and kittens, Youtube became a hit and is now estimated to be worth $160 billion. People simply fell in love with this new idea of not having to be a monstrous athlete or amazing actor/actress to be famous. It was easier now for regular people to get recognition.
As 2007 rolled around, the first ever iPhone was released and the world went crazy over the fact that everything was at the touch of your fingertips. On top of Siri and the sleek touchscreen, Apple continued to add new features, leading to the addition of an app store in 2008. Now you had people trying to come up with the next big app on the app store that everyone would use. From having a lightsaber on your phone to launching birds, the app store rapidly grew from the first 500 available when added in 2008.
Apps have arguably become the defining feature of the modern smartphone, and one in particular really set the bar in 2013. Vine was released and once again being a star became even easier. Just like Youtube, you could have an account to post all of your content for your followers to see, except this time you only needed to entertain people with a six to fifteen second looping clip. The videos got shorter but the concept remained the same: The ability to become internet famous easily. Vine had 200 million active users two years after its debut and completely redefined entertainment. No need for lots of planning, fancy microphones or cameras, elaborate skits, etc. Just pull out your phone and do it. The best part was you can see what everyone else is doing and try to recreate it or put your own twist on it. An app that made things simple, fun, and created a massive social network. Which brings us to TikTok.
TikTok is easily the most popular app to date. What can you do? One of the most popular things to do right now is film yourself doing a “TikTok Dance” that someone else has created and everyone is trying (i.e. Renegade). Of course on top of lip-syncing and dancing, there are lots of cute baby/animal videos. Maybe you want to rant about a funny story. There are even “TikTok Challenges” that everyone shares and tries to accomplish. In addition, a lot of creativity and editing goes into these videos with all of the effects, features, and easy-to-use tools TikTok has to offer. Essentially, apps such as Vine and now TikTok have created a huge social network and culture of streaming yourself to others, sharing your content, and striving for fifteen seconds of fame. These apps have also made it easy and to the point, creating entertainment that pleases everyone.
So what’s to make of all this? Try it out! Download TikTok. Hangout with your friends, parents, or kids and create a TikTok together. Laydown with your significant other and laugh at TikTok videos. Even try other video apps like Triller. No matter your age, you will have a good time engaging in one of the many current trends going around right now, and you may even come to appreciate it.