TikTok isn't the new Vine — it's much better

'Look, Vine was great, we can all agree on that. TikTok is just better'

See the video. Learn the song. Rehearse. Record. Delete. Add sound. Record again. Post.

At first, I was cautious. I didn’t think this lifestyle was for me, but suddenly it was all a routine.

I was once an adversary of TikTok, yet there I was, shoveling my black Labrador's paws into red cowboy boots to the song “Lalala” by Y2K. After an embarrassing amount of attempts, finally making it on the #foryou page was the nail in the coffin. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, dreaming of the perfect video to go viral. You think you can quit at any time — but after that, you just can’t stop. 

TikTok has garnered mixed criticism. First launching in China in 2016, the short video-based social media app gained 100 million users in that year alone. While it did quickly amass a following, its merger with Musical.ly in 2017 to reach a larger audience did just that. 

Videos and advertisements for the platform popped up everywhere from Twitter to Snapchat, and depending on your stance on Musical.ly, TikTok seemed to be instantly loved or hated. Active Musical.ly users seemed to be excited for the swap, as it meant more creators and potential followers. 

Those not fond of Musical.ly, however, stood in opposition.

Fans of Musical.ly praised the lip-syncing app for being a creative space for individuals, and the app's intended audience is 13 and up, as stated on its website. Allowing children on a platform like Musical.ly brought up concerns of child safety and cyberbullying, as videos deemed “cringey,” another word for embarrassing or awkward, were left with hateful comments. 

Even after Musical.ly was rebranded, videos of tweens with dramatic filters lip-syncing to sped up music and P.O.V.s of telling your high school crush you love her dominated the feeds of TikTok users. 

New compilation videos of cringey TikToks started popping up online where compilations of cringey Musica.ly videos used to be. Then came the ironic and often over-the-top spoofs of “shameful” or “embarrassing” content — much of which became more popular than the original. 

Though there was some initial hate, with the onboarding of famous Viners like Cole Hersh, Alex Ernst and Josh Ovalle, many are naming TikTok the new Vine. 

Those people, however, are dead wrong.

Look, Vine was great, we can all agree on that. TikTok is just better. 

With Tiktok's user-friendly design, you don’t need editing software on your computer to make a decent looking video, and videos are from 15 to 60 seconds long instead of a mere six. 

TikTokers also seem to be a more supportive group all together, rather than attacking certain groups or passing off blatantly offensive commentary as humor. 

Much of Vine’s humor relied on shock value or, while often ironic, rather offensive jokes. Instead of joking about racism, homosexuality or sexual harassment, the allure of TikTok is something much different. 

Trends seem to change day by day, but they usually follow songs. Like Musical.ly, TikTok is based around audio recordings, resulting in trends where users copy a dance or activity to a popular song or audio clip. 

Some of the most notable trends include the “walk a mile in these Louboutins” challenge where one tries to walk in anything but footwear to the Iggy Azalea song "Work," and the “famous relative check” in which the user tries to prove they are related to a celebrity. 

Whether you are creating your own or just a passionate viewer, TikTok is addictive. 

As those who grew up in the digital age become twenty-somethings, it is no wonder that going viral on the internet is desirable. It seems like anyone can go viral for just about anything, and to be honest, it seems like a pretty sweet deal. 

A girl a few years ahead of me at my high school went viral once and got to meet Taylor Swift. Don’t we all want something like that? Craving the attention, fame and copy-cat videos that come along with it, Gen Zers will do nearly anything to be seen by the masses.  

I’ll admit I’m guilty of this. When my friend was dog sitting over summer, I got up in the middle of the night to make a “Who R U?” video, where one pretends they have swapped places with someone, sometimes even themselves — I swapped with the dog. Another time, in the middle of a date at a trampoline park, I made my boyfriend record me doing a backflip tutorial, where I had him rotate the screen to make it look like I did one, though I embarrassingly cannot do a backflip.

If you’re still unsure about your future with TikTok, I say, it has changed my life and can definitely change yours. Sure I can’t listen to certain songs without thinking of a ridiculous TikTok I saw once. 

I’m not funny anymore, suddenly all my humor is “a ha ha.” 

But, it’s also allowed me to be stupid and silly on a platform where there are no expectations. Avoid it as you will, but someday you will be right there next to me, "a ha ha"-ing, putting your dog's feet into boots.

Reach the reporter at sarawindom@outlook.com or follow @SaraWindom on Twitter. 

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