• Ryan Himes

TikTok: The Next Generation

Updated: Oct 16, 2020

TikTok, formerly Musically, has become the fastest downloaded app of all time, achieving over 2 billion downloads with more than 100 million active users within the US. The Next Generation does not refer to the app's notoriously youthful user base, average age between 13 and 40. Rather it refers to The Next Generation of social media, because TikTok has brought the greatest addition to social media since Facebook.

Let's start with the app's design; upon opening the app, an unprompted viral video plays which provides positive reinforcement to the user. This positive reinforcement ensures that each time the user clicks the TikTok icon, they receive a positive feeling as they are instantly provided with content.

TikTok's videos last a maximum 60 seconds in length. Therefore if a user doesn't like a video, the commitment to watching the next one is small, and the user is compelled to scroll down to watch the next video. Also, TikTok's algorithm, which is used to determine which video each user sees next, is being hailed as the greatest algorithm of all time, which has led to average daily screen time on TikTok to be over 85 minutes per day.

Also, the ability to like, comment, or share a video only requires 2 clicks. The "2 clicks rule" refers to the extent which a user will go to interact online; anything that requires more than 2 clicks will lose the user's attention more often than not.

Critics of the app largely cite its content as reason for the app to rise and fall as a fad. However, content will constantly change as trends do across social media. Meanwhile the app's design has revolutionized social media with direct, unprompted content and the ability to like, comment, and share in under 2 clicks.

Ask yourself, if your favorite celebrity, artist, chef, athlete, etc. had downloaded TikTok and posted 2 videos a day, would you download it? When asking the broader population, the answer is almost undoubtedly "yes."