The Controversy of Social Media

There’s a new social media platform on the rise. It’s called Tik Tok, formerly called Its purpose and to create and share 15 second comedy and music videos. The catchy tunes and addictive dances are everywhere. It can be said that Tik Tok is the new Vine, that it filled a void in the world of social media. Some would argue that Tik Tok is a more inclusive community with less bullying. Others would say that it can have just as negative of an impact as other platforms.

It’s fun. It’s addicting. There’s this need to get views, and followers and likes. On Tik Tok, you broadcast to a wider amount of people. Whereas snapchat is used more for direct communication. And on Instagram, posting pictures are more common than videos. 

“I think Snapchat and Instagram are individual and you communicate with the kids you know. Tik Tok is kids from all over the world.” -Alexandra Curtu ‘22


The app is centered around the “For You Page”, where videos are broadcasted to people from all over the world and are passed around more and more based off of how many likes and views they get. People strive to get their videos featured, and frequently create videos with this intention in mind, using the hashtag #FYP.  


Like many people her age and within West High School, Linnea Rietz ‘22 uses Tik Tok and finds herself using the app for multiple hours each day. “I like Tik Tok, it’s a fun app. I post once or twice a week.” Some Tik Toks take longer to film than others. Rietz reports it taking anywhere from 10 minutes to 6 days, from brainstorming to posting. Many take several tries. For example, Rietz spent nearly two hours trying to make the perfect Tik Tok using trendy color changing lights, and it took multiple friends helping her, simply to create 15 second video. “Anyone can have Tik Tok, but it’s really hard to get famous, if you’re not what people think of as perfect.” When asked if she believes less cyberbullying occurs on Tik Tok compared to other social media platforms, Rietz says “No, have you read the comment section?”  People tend to say rude and insensitive things towards other people’s content. Tik Tok can be used to react to posts, in a way that can be mocking and negative. Often users duet videos (Make it so that the video being viewed and the users video are side by side) to respond to what was in the video, and can be hurtful or mean-spirited. While Rietz enjoys using the app, she acknowledges the downsides and avoids using it as a place to hurt the feelings of others.


Some people get famous because of their talent or use of comedy, whereas other stars gain attention arguably due to their appearance alone. Rietz uses the app to attempt to make other people laugh, and her videos typically feature her friends and family members.  On the other hand, there are users that are widely considered famous because of the way they look, and don’t post things that are all that original or different from any other person on the app. Some people choose to address this by avoiding the app altogether.


Paige Albright ‘23 reports that most people she knows are on it 24/7, singing songs. Albright is a dancer herself, but does not use Tik Tok. “Dancing can be anything you want it to be, so  dancing on Tik Tok 100% counts. I choose not to use it because I worry I’ll look back at it when I’m in college and say ‘ew why did I do that.” Most of her friends use Tik Tok, as does her sister– constantly. She has been in a couple, but would not consider making her own account. “I feel like in the future, not using Tik Tok will protect me from making bad choices that I’d make if I did have it.” She admits to sometimes feeling excluded due to not understanding the references, but it doesn’t bother her enough to feel the need to  make an account. She has other priorities and doesn’t want the distraction.  


Many people use Tik Tok as a joke or with their friends as a pastime and don’t take it very seriously. Many most likely aren’t really thinking about all the components of making a viral Tik Tok and the reasons it may or may not be successful.  


There’s a great debate between whether Tik Tok is an upgrade from other social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. Every app is going to have its own positive and negative aspects, so the best thing users can do is to be aware, and use them in the most kind and productive way possible.