In a word: yes. In slightly more words: yes, yes it can.
If you haven’t yet heard of the viral video sharing app TikTok, which has experienced an exponential boom in popularity since its release two and a half years ago, you will undoubtedly turn to it at some point during this time of self-isolation.
With the content on the app varying from dance routines, comedic videos, visual artwork, cooking tutorials, lifestyle and all-round relatable content, there is undoubtedly something for everyone on the platform. Like so many social media platforms, the ability to create content in a new and innovative way has such appeal within our generation, and TikTok gives us another format in which to do this.
Their “mission is to inspire creativity and spread joy”.
The question of whether or not it is an art form lies in the definition of art. The platform states that their “mission is to inspire creativity and spread joy”. The hours spent by users of the app both creating and watching content certainly highlights how there is a real and tangible desire to both create and consume content.
The fluidity of the content produced is evident in how it can be judged and mimicked; this arises most notably in the viral dance trends that use various popular songs. Users such as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae have built much of their followings on the app, captivating audiences with their (deceptively difficult) dance videos. But are they simply kids with cameras, or artists in their own right on a new and exciting platform?
There is a real and tangible desire to both create and consume content.
The platform itself has acted as a stepping stone in their careers as ‘influencers’, with many popular users graduating in some sense to increased followers on other platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, where the opportunity for an income from brand deals and views increases. Yet, their activity on the app still remains a key focus for them, highlighting the addictive nature of the app and desire to continue to create content for TikTok.
With so many users flocking to the app to stave off boredom, especially during such trying times, the demand for new and interesting content for users to consume has never been so high. The tableau-esque nature of the short clips make them so watchable and before you know it, you will find you have been scrolling for hours on end. The accuracy of TikTok’s algorithm for deciding what videos to show you deserves a huge amount of credit for audience retention, as well as the list of categories users choose from to streamline their content.
The demand for new and interesting content for users to consume has never been so high.
There are different features which users can use to make their content unique to them, such as creating their own sound bites, using already popular ones in a new way, adding comedic filters, and skilled videography. The various genres the content on the app includes adds to its credibility as a viable platform for artists, of all kinds, to showcase their talents.
As people turn to the app as a way to view content, the appeal of making their own content, either to mimic their favourite users or to showcase their unique take on the content, is evident. It can be argued that TikTok can certainly be seen as a place for artists of all calibers, from viral content creators with followings to users who merely see it as a way to have fun.
In such uncertain and isolating times, there is a sense of community among users of the app.
While they may just be kids with cameras now, TikTok gives its users a platform to express their individuality and artistic talent, and serves to entertain millions across the world. In such uncertain and isolating times, there is a sense of community among users of the app. The ability to create and watch content from the comfort of your own home adds joy to so many artists’ lives and provides comfort during these trying times.
The take-away: stay inside and make TikToks – it might be more fun than you think!