TikTok deserves the hype it gets

While teens on TikTok may be seen as “cringey,” they’re actually incredibly creative

TikTok+user+Haley+Sharpe+performs+her+choreography+to+Doja+Cat%27s+%22Say+So%22+in+her+official+music+video.

Zara Iqbal

TikTok user Haley Sharpe performs her choreography to Doja Cat's "Say So" in her official music video.

Zara Iqbal, Copy editor

When I heard of TikTok, I promised myself that I wouldn’t download the app — teens my age going viral for lip syncing and dancing to music? Seems pointless, a waste of time and most of all, cringeworthy. 

A few weeks ago, however, I finally caved in and downloaded the app out of curiosity, and it quite literally changed my life. I found myself scrolling through videos for hours on the first day of downloading it, actually laughing out loud (and not just blowing air through my nose) when I saw something funny, which was more often that I’d like to admit. The videos on my For You page were relatable and hilarious, easily becoming the best content I’ve seen on social media, and I was honestly disappointed that I hadn’t downloaded it earlier.

And now, TikTok has become the app that I use the most on my phone, averaging hours of screen time per day, causing concern for my close friends and family because of how addicted I’ve become. What was originally something I thought was undeserving of its hype, turned into what I go to for immediate boosts of serotonin. Teens my age on the app go viral for lip syncing and dancing to music — which I now think is incredible — but also for making videos that are literal comedic gold, original and creative. 

And I realized how many people think like how I used to think, and are quick to degrade and hate on what creativity Gen Z shows because it can be “cringey.” TikTok is seen as an app filled with stupid teens who are obsessed with jumping on imitating the latest trends to try and get famous. 

Older generations are obsessed with demeaning what teens find fun, stereotyping us as cringey, lazy and entitled. It’s amazing how much hate we get for such a benign phenomenon, as though teenagers aren’t allowed to simply have fun and act our age, because even if TikTok is cringey, why is that an issue? It’s a social media outlet in which people express themselves in numerous ways, which is also amazing, because users can use audios in new and unique ways that appeal to different communities and niches. 

There is content on TikTok that is made for literally everyone, which is also why you can quickly become addicted, but it was the first time that I saw so many other Muslims who were making funny and relatable content while going viral, such as user @muslimthicc, a college student named Zahra who is a verified creator; TikTok provided her the opportunity to attend the Grammys as a guest because of her presence on the app. It was so easy to find people like me, my age, with my sense of humor in one place. 

But unlike other social media apps, TikTok isn’t bound to the idea that one’s life must be showcased in glamour; anyone with a phone and 15 to 60 seconds of spare time can make a video that can make thousands of people laugh. And it doesn’t matter if it’s cringey or not either — people will double tap on anything that showcases a relatable personality and appeals to their sense of humor and short attention span, which can include simply talking to the camera and telling the audience an experience you had that day, or filming a new dye job for your hair you did at 3 a.m. because of a mental breakdown.

TikTok gets you to constantly experience what other people are experiencing, which is why it’s so amazing — the idea of using a video-only platform may seem unoriginal, but creators use that to their advantage to make incredible original content through their ideas and execution. It also has brought countless opportunities for creators on the platform — 16-year-old user Haley Sharpe, @yodelinghaley, created a choreography for rapper and singer Doja Cat’s “Say So,” which went viral. When Doja Cat released the track’s music video on Feb. 27, it featured Sharpe’s TikTok dance as well as Sharpe herself. 

So even though the older generation may scoff at us and not “get it,” berating us for being cringey, it’s OK — continue to post you lip syncing to that audio, or that storytime video because you might make someone’s day.