Why Gen Z are so obsessed with TikTok

Why Gen Z are so obsessed with TikTok

Here’s a short answer – because TikTok appeals to them and makes them easy to become viral.

The result of this seemingly ordinary desire to be instantaneously known is mind blowing. TikTok and its Chinese version, Douyin, have surpassed 2 billion application downloads worldwide, according to Sensor Tower.

0.5 billion of the total downloads were recorded only in five months!

Here is some enlightenment for those who may have been wondering about this phenomenon.

It fits user expectations (UX)

“Gen Z has seen a lot of video platforms come and go.” 

“But the ones that have made a big splash are the ones that let this generation express themselves with minimal input for a lot of output.”

That is one secret behind TikTok’s success, according to Drake Rehfeld, its network director.

Compared to other video platforms and video editing applications, TikTok’s editing tools are easy to use and provide convenient user experience to Gen Z.

It fits the Gen Z desire for authenticity rather than perfection

“Gen Z understands that social media is like a highlight reel,” according to Connor Blakley, a Gen Z marketing consultant. “We choose to show what we feel best about,” he added.

Such demand for perfection in the digital world inconveniences  the Gen Z. 

They have to deal with the dilemma between the perfect version of themselves and their genuine identity and personality.

That is where TikTok appeals to them. “It’s (TikTok) become a place where you can be your own weird self and still get complimented,” according to Tiffany Zhong, CEO of Zebra IQ.

“Whereas on other platforms, you are trying to be as perfect as possible,” she continued.

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It appeals to their passion and dream

Madison Bregman, CEO of youth marketing consultancy GirlZ, gives a head-up about the psychology of the Gen Z.

“We are a part of a generation where every single kid wants to be an entrepreneur or an influencer,” she said.

“And the motivation for the Gen Z who seek to create a viral content or become a TikTok influencer is not because they feel insecure,” Blakley highlighted. 

“They want to feel good and share this with the others.”

“It is less about insecurity, and more about being a self-confidence booster,” he explained.

To support such dreams, TikTok makes it easy for such aspiring Gen Z influencers to go viral, according to Tiffany Zhong, the CEO of Zebra IQ.

The democracy of virality

“TikTok is a level playing ground, and anyone can go viral,” Zhong added.

Ishan Goel, the founder of marketing agency Goel strategies, explained this further:

“TikTok’s algorithm is designed to promote content that survives through different waves and tests, so it stays viral.”

“The content is generally tested in smaller audience buckets or pods.” 

“The more shares, rewatches, comments or likes a video receives, the bigger the bucket of audience it is introduced to.”

“So, every content has the chance of going viral.”

It is about self identity and relatability

The freedom of Gen Z to express themselves and their identity on TikTok results in more “real, raw and comedic” contents, according to Andy McCune, co-founder of Unfold.

“It is more humorous. It’s more about being relatable.”

Both of these factors of entertaining and relatability are keys for viral content in any social media platforms. 

But on TikTok, those are the fundamentals of the platform. 

“People can scroll through at the end of a long day and laugh at and be like, “that’s so me” – that is super powerful,” McCune commented.

The dark side

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Some appealing factors of TikTok also bring some significant worries.

  • More than the other social media platforms, the smooth, endless stream of short video contents will likely result in the addiction of the users.
  • The rawness of the contents may  also worsen cyberbullying. Making fun and ridiculing each other for fun and subsequently going viral for that may result in a traumatic experience for the victim.
  • TikTok also gives birth to a significant number of challenges for Gen Z to ride along. For the sake of attention and keeping up with the trend, the Gen Z are hopping along with the challenges, even though a lot of the challenges are not appropriate, decent or go against our faith.

We acknowledge that TikTok is so appealing to Gen Z.

We know that a knife is a useful tool in the kitchen.

What we are worried about is the wrong and harmful use of the knife.

More so when we have to deal with someone who has become too obsessed with a knife.

Carollina Ramle

Carollina Ramle hails from Sabah, Malaysia and is shy to strangers but friendly and cheerful to those who knows her. A business administration graduate majoring in technology management, she likes to surround herself with positive-minded people, and believes that good universal values exist in all religions. She’s a strong believer in peaceful human coexistence, despite differing beliefs.

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