Opinion: Tiktok has changed the method of consuming media

Avary Kampwerth, Staff Writer

Photo by Liam Killian

Before Tiktok became a part of the conversation of online media, Vine was arguably one of the biggest video apps on the internet. The app allowed users to upload six second clips of whatever they had to say, which usually related to comedy. Today, there are thousands of compilation videos titled ‘the best of Vine’ on Youtube. Vine, at its most popular, was  a phenomenon and is now quoted by our generation on the daily. Some incredibly iconic phrases have come from Vine. From ‘hurricane tortilla’ to ‘look at all those chickens,’ many vines are still referred to constantly. When Vine shut down in 2017, video apps like Musicl.ly became more popular. In 2018, Musical.ly merged with a new app, TikTok. Since that moment, the way that we treat the internet and social media has completely changed. 

Tiktok has taken us from just liking pictures on Instagram to spending hours scrolling through the ‘for you page.’ Watching these short videos (between 15 seconds and 3 minutes) has taken over the nights of many students, choosing to consume the mesmerizing content rather than working on anything else. The app has also changed the lives of so many creators, giving them enormous platforms and becoming a form of income. The D’Amelio family, for example, have become celebrities since the two daughters, Dixie and Charli, blew up on the app. Tiktok has created massive celebrities from things like dancing to reviews on various items, and many now find themselves to be millionaires after posting a simple video. One video can completely change everything for these lucky few people.

Not only does Tiktok have the power to create stars, it has also introduced a new way of viewers taking in content. We as the consumers have become obsessed with taking in as much information as quickly as possible. When there is a video that does not seem interesting enough right off the bat, it is so easy for the viewer to simply swipe to the next video. Because of this, the attention span of the viewer begins to focus only on things that are exciting or eye-catching. The second a video no longer seems to do the trick, it is on to the next. Creators have to fight for engagement, hoping that the algorithm will favor their video among the rest. The app has become impossibly selective, and so few people actually see their videos go viral. But it has created a wild need among creators for their videos to blow up, hoping that they’ll end up on the ‘for you page.’ 

Other apps have also taken advantage of the short video option. Instagram has turned to using ‘reels’, Facebook has the ‘watch’ feature, and so many forms of media have begun to use the quick attention format. Contrary to the long videos that can be uploaded to Youtube, the instant satisfaction a short video provides makes these apps more in-tune with the desires of its users. 

Media platforms fight to grab attention, trying to compete with the mass success that Tiktok has found. As the app continues to grow, I predict that other apps and such will continue to model their platforms after Tiktok. Filling spare time with scrolling on it has become habitual for so many people and has changed the way that we take in information. Big changes will likely occur as our attention span decreases and other platforms fight for our time.