By Skylar Zachian || Contributing Writer
Two weeks ago, after my mint condition iPhone XR tragically took a tumble down the staircase of Bonchek, I found myself in desperate need of a new phone. After venturing out (a lengthy 7 minute drive) into Lancaster to make my purchase, I plopped down in my dorm room to get my phone all set up. As I opened the app store, I mindlessly downloaded the essentials: Instagram, Snapchat, Spotify, and Canvas, of course. However, I quickly realized that I had forgotten one remarkably important app: TikTok. This social media platform, which had consumed my summer with its catchy songs, captivating story times, and top-notch comedy, suddenly didn’t feel like a necessity. Was it even worth it to take TikTok study breaks now that I could take trips to Splits and Giggles with my hallmates or soak up the sun on Hartman Green? I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth it, refrained from clicking download, and went on with my life.
However, despite the fact that this app no longer takes up space on my phone, I have come to realize that TikTok lives in my head rent-free. No matter how many times I try to evict it, TikTok simply refuses to move. The following list encompasses some, but not all, of the mannerisms and habits that I have picked up from TikTok:
- If I’m talking to friends about something ironic, I find myself reaching up to slowly push a strand of hair behind my ear like Debby Ryan in the TikTok meme of her iconic appearance in Radio Rebel.
- I quote “that’s enough slices” when I’m stressed.
- Walking to class, waiting in line in the dining hall, or studying in my dorm, I suddenly get the urge to dance to the TikTok remix of “Let’s Groove.” This has become such a frequent event that my roommate and I casually sing or dance to this song at least once a day.
- Doja Cat’s “Get Into It (Yuh)” plays on repeat in my mind, which I can only attribute to the countless hours I spent trying to learn the popularized TikTok dance which accompanies it.
There is no escaping it: TikTok is everywhere. By making popular videos to select sounds, users of this app ultimately control the music to which our generation listens. Turn on the radio for 5 minutes, and I guarantee you will hear a song that has either been turned into a TikTok dance or meme. If this doesn’t convince you of the extreme power that this platform holds, consider the fact that TikTok creates new inside jokes among millions of people across the world on the daily, shaping our standards of comedy.
I am sure that at this point many people may be thinking that TikTok holds far too much power over society and the minds of individuals. Honestly, I would have to agree with this statement to a certain extent. This is the main reason that I decided not to redownload TikTok. However, I would never wish to take back the time that I spent on this app. TikTok may have had (and still has) a strong hold on me, but I believe that its power has yielded many positive effects.
During the height of the pandemic, for example, TikTok served not only as a form of entertainment but also as a form of communication that allowed me to better adapt to the circumstances of not being able to see friends in person. If my friends and I hadn’t had the opportunity to talk in a while, we could always send each other relatable TikToks that reminded us of one another.
Essentially, this article is my thank you letter to TikTok. Thank you, TikTok, for improving my song and dance memorization skills, for quickening my wit, for providing laughs in times of stress, and for being a means through which I have bonded with others. While I currently have no intention of redownloading you in the future, you will always be a core memory.
First-year Skylar Zachian is a Contributing Writer. Her email is email@example.com.