If you are over the age of 25 there’s a pretty good chance you’ve never used the social media app called “TikTok.” But there’s also a very high chance you are aware of its existence, even if the particulars are a little fuzzy.
So What is it?
TikTok is a video-sharing social network that allows users to create lip-sync and comedy videos from their phones. On the surface, it appears similar to Instagram and Snapchat “stories,” where users post videos showcasing highlights from their lives.
But TikTok is different: Users’ videos are really performances – meaning the videos are typically premeditated, “creative,” and interact with the app’s large music library. Across the globe over 625 million people use TikTok regularly, spending an average of 52 minutes on the app per day consuming video content.
How is it so addicting? Artificial intelligence has marvelous potential. Personalized medicine, fully optimized supply chains to reduce global warming, the end of automotive deaths worldwide. But so far we can point to TikTok as one of the biggest artificial intelligence success stories. The app leverages users’ shrinking attention spans and uses artificial intelligence to deliver exactly the right content at exactly the right time to keep you scrolling.
TikTok, which originally debuted in China, launched internationally in 2017 and became an overnight success. For now, investors in U.S. based Facebook and Snapchat don’t appear phased. Facebook shares are at all-time-highs and Snapchat shares are up 250% over the last year, having recovered from lows in 2018.
But TikTok is becoming too big to ignore. TikTok’s parent company “ByteDance” has garnered a $65 billion valuation (making it the most highly valued private company). And yesterday, Evan Spiegel, the founder and CEO of Snapchat, said it is “possible” that TikTok could become bigger than Instagram. Zuck has officially been put on notice.