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How TikTok Is Rewriting the World
TikTok will change the way your social media works %u2014 even if you%u2019re avoiding it.
Hello, person who is, statistically speaking, a human adult aged approximately %u201Cmillennial%u201D to %u201Cboomer.%u201D The analytics suggest a high likelihood that you%u2019re aware there is an app named TikTok, and a similarly high likelihood that you%u2019re not totally sure what it%u2019s all about. Maybe you asked someone younger in your life, and they tried to explain and possibly failed. Or maybe you%u2019ve heard that this new, extraordinarily popular video app is %u201Ca refreshing outlier in the social media universe%u201D that%u2019s %u201Cgenuinely fun to use.%u201D Maybe you even tried it, but bounced straight out, confused and sapped.
%u201CFear of missing out%u201D is a common way to describe how social media can make people feel like everyone else is part of something %u2014 a concert, a secret beach, a brunch %u2014 that they%u2019re not. A new wrinkle in this concept is that sometimes that %u201Csomething%u201D is a social media platform itself. Maybe you saw a photo of some friends on Instagram at a great party and wondered why you weren%u2019t there. But then, next in your feed, you saw a weird video, watermarked with a vibrating TikTok logo, scored with a song you%u2019d never heard, starring a person you%u2019d never seen. Maybe you saw one of the staggering number of ads for TikTok plastered throughout other social networks, and the real world, and wondered why you weren%u2019t at that party, either, and why it seemed so far away.It%u2019s been a while since a new social app got big enough, quickly enough, to make nonusers feel they%u2019re missing out from an experience. If we exclude Fortnite, which is very social but also very much a game, the last time an app inspired such interest from people who weren%u2019t on it was %u2026 maybe Snapchat? (Not a coincidence that Snapchat%u2019s audience skewed very young, too.)