A platform where users can share creative videos with sound, TikTok has made its way across college campuses in the United States, including Kent State.

“It’s a fun place to be creative,” said Dr. Lawrence Marks, a marketing professor in the College of Business Administration at Kent State, “You don’t have to be professional.”

TikTok, created by the Chinese company ByteDance, allows its users to create short videos that range from lip-syncing to comedy and talent videos, making it most appealing to Generation Z.

“What makes this fun and popular is as soon as you’re in it, you’re seeing stuff that you select as categories or clicked on before that appeals to you,” Marks said.

The app does not require much effort to navigate; simply launch the app and scroll through to view different videos.

“It’s instantaneously entertaining, it doesn’t require any additional clicks to get there,” Marks said.

Marks, who studies trends in the market, predicts TikTok’s growth will eventually slow down.

“Nothing stays forever,” Marks said. “I’m not suggesting it’s going to crash and burn to nothing, but certainly its growth will slow.”

Dr. David Silva, an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies and the School of Digital Sciences at Kent State, conducts research on social media as part of his job.

“The musical element is big, something that wasn’t in previous iterations,” said Silva. “Having a full audio, visual and community experience all tied into one is good design and engaging.”

Silva views TikTok in a similar light to apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat before those platforms gained users in older demographics.

“As a younger crowd catches on to something new, they’re there first,” said Silva, “They make that space for themselves with who they see as their peers and colleagues.” 

Silva can see the sustainability for TikTok considering its high number of users.

“I think it has reached a point now where it’s not just a bubble that’s going to pop here in the next couple of months,” said Silva, “I think it has some staying power.” 

TikTok Poll

Out of 221 votes, voters stated how long they would spend on TikTok throughout the time period of the week. 

Though it is popular amongst college students, some Kent State students don’t seem to have embraced TikTok as much as Macey Helbig, a junior criminology and justice studies major. Over 50 percent of students voted on a poll said that they didn’t use TikTok, but the hours ranged for the other half.

Helbig made a name for herself with the help of creating and posting TikToks.

“I have 5,500 followers and my most popular TikTok has 2.7 million views,” Helbig said.

Helbig, like Marks, sees the endless possibilities for creativity when it comes to making TikToks.

“You can do so much with it,” said Helbig. “Whatever you want to do it will get out there.”

Macey Helbig

Kent State student Macey Helbig has gained popularity with the help of TikTok. 

Helbig originally never planned for her TikTok account to take off as it did, considering she created the account as a joke.

“Once I started seeing everyone, I started getting all of these ideas, so I decided I would try it and see what happened,” Helbig said.

Though it is popular amongst college students, some Kent State students don’t seem to have embraced TikTok as much as Helbig and others have after a poll showed over half don’t even use TikTok.

Dylan Bowers covers tech. Contact him at dbowers9@kent.edu

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