Bright: An ode to TikTok

Zach Bright, Opinion Editor

Preparing myself to wade into Week 8, I’ve been trying to get off the grid a bit so I can actually do well in my classes this quarter. To this end, I’ve decided to delete a good number of apps — namely Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. TikTok has been one of the hardest to part with.

If you are an actual adult who is focused on their family or career, there’s a good chance you know little to nothing about the app. TikTok is a Chinese-based video-sharing platform. Users can film short videos up one minute long with a variety of visual and audio embellishments. To put it simply, TikTok does what Vine could not.

TikTok nursed me back to health after I spent a weekend in November on the fourth floor of the NorthShore University HealthSystem hospital following a particularly bad bout of tonsilitis. Originally downloaded to pass the time, TikTok has become a staple in my entertainment diet.

The app is brilliant, a real canvas for creativity. The people who populate it? Enormously talented.

Take @snarkymarky. Acting as an elementary school teacher in point of view videos, he unearths deep childhood memories that link so many Gen Z individuals. Users like @adamrayokay, who plays “Rosa,” have been able to add to the cultural zeitgeist with just fake lashes and bad foundation.

Try making a TikTok of your own — it’s so difficult. I forced my good friend to make one with me on Friday night a couple weeks ago. We spent an hour or so recreating some dances but neither of us are very “mobile” people. So we came out of that night with what I at the time saw as a strong contender for a semi-viral TikTok, in which I am presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). It is not good (but please follow me @zmuffin_69).

It’s easy to look down on TikTok, to act like you are above the noise and the nonsense. But you can find a home on the app.

Individuals less rooted in social media might not understand the buzz, which is fair. However, this in no way means that the humor and discourse on TikTok has any less value just because it’s populated with so many younger people. And in fact, some of the biggest players on the app are older themselves. Positive affirmation fuels the content @sparkling_energy puts out, and others from @its_j_dog to @the_grandma_barb tap into their aged wisdom to pull off humor that transcends generations.

As I bid TikTok farewell (until my tonsillectomy in March), I want to make it clear that it has been a platform of unadulterated joy. You made me laugh. You made me cry.

Zach Bright is a Medill sophomore. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.