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WTF is TikTok?

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Here at Cat's Cove, we are curious about trends and like to try new things out. As an early adopter in his demographic, Toby has been viewing and sharing videos via the social media platform TikTok for months.

Cathy, Bonnie and Rachel, all intrigued by the potential of a short-form video-sharing app, soon joined Toby on the app. Talk around the proverbial water cooler (a.k.a. office kitchen sink) soon turned from Netflix binges to TikTok trending videos.

Always a skeptic, Sasha hesitated to buy in. At least once a week, Toby would enter Sasha’s office and start the conversation with “But have you seen the TikTok about…” or “But here’s the thing about it…”

And she didn’t get it.

But in the last two weeks, a few relatable and clever TikTok videos have converted even the most skeptical among us (cough, cough, Sasha).

And who better to explain it, then the last person in the office to jump on the bandwagon?

Below, Sasha explains the basics of TikTok.

So, wtf is TikTok?

TikTok is a video-based social media app. Users can create and share videos that are 15-60 seconds in length.

TikTok evolved from an app called, that featured DIY lip-syncing videos. Thanks to its roots, music-based videos still dominate the platform, but TikTok users now use the app to post a wide variety of videos. Favourites are challenge videos, dance videos and funny videos.

Who is using this thing?

When we talk to business owners about TikTok, we often hear, “oh that’s the thing that teenagers are using.”

It is true that the platform was first used primarily by teenagers, but the demographics are shifting north. While 41% of users are under the age of 24, more and more older users are joining the TIkTok community. One in 8 American adults (the stats always lag for Canada) have adopted the platform, and that continues to rise.

Facebook and Instagram also began with a young demographic, but they have reached all age demographics now. Tiktok is projected to do the same.

Is TikTok hard to navigate?

If you’re familiar with other social media platforms, you will be able to navigate it.

To see more videos, you scroll up, the same way you would on your Facebook or Instagram feeds.

It has likes, just the same as Facebook or Instagram.

It relies heavily on hashtags, much like Instagram, and you can search by topic or hashtag.

Plus, the really cool thing about it is that you don’t have to sign up for an account to get an idea of what it’s all about. Download the app. As soon as you open the app on your phone, you immediately start seeing popular videos on your screen, even without creating a profile.

How do videos show up on my screen?

Basically, the longer you are on the app, the better it gets to know you. If you only tap hearts on videos that have “cat” in the title, it’s going to start showing you a lot of cat videos.

The app also uses comments, likes, shares, trending hashtags and trending music to determine relevance.

Perhaps most importantly, it takes into consideration whether or not viewers watch a whole video before swiping up. In other words, if other viewers watch all 15 seconds of a video before moving on the the next video in their feed, there’s a much better chance you will see it.

So there you have it.

Tiktok is the new social media app that is going mainstream.

And who knows? Maybe in a few months, you’ll be the one showing your colleagues viral TikToks around the water cooler.

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