A Guide to TikTok for Old People

TikTok icon, created in September 2016, by Zhang Yiming

There’s a new app that has hit the screens of your device as well as your teenagers’: TikTok. What is it? For all the old people left out of the mix and left in a state of confusion, this is for you. A guide to explain all the videos featuring disfigured filters, “ok boomer” comments, eccentric music, and overall interesting taste of entertainment. Here’s a breakdown for all of you since, honestly, this is only the beginning of TikTok.

TikTok has been around for about two years now, becoming the rebranded form of Musical.ly. You’ll find a variety of ages while scrolling through TikTok, but it mostly targets young adults. Entertainers post short, and typically, relatable content. If you’re not musically talented but still interested, no worries. The app is a lot of lip-syncing, dancing, jokes, and pranks wrapped up in one. You can follow those who intrigue you and even become *wait for it* TikTok famous. Many trends were birthed on TikTok, causing a wave of cringy catchphrases and great memes. VSCO girls, E-girls, and E-boys are also heavily recognized as being a product of TikTok. Now you’re probably wondering what all of those are and what they have to do with anything. I don’t know either…just kidding. VSCO (pronounced as Vis-co and not every letter said out loud) started as an editing app for pictures. It has since turned into a stereotype of suburban girls carrying Hydro Flasks littered with environmentally friendly stickers, stocking up on scrunchies, wearing oversized t-shirts, and preaching the religion of reusable straws. E-girls and E-boys are an aesthetic that has revolutionalized the emo-inspired world. They usually have dyed hair, wear a lot of silver jewelry, listen to Billie Eilish, and your imagination can probably take over from here. TikTok is self-described as “the karaoke of the digital age.”

Now, TikTok may seem like just another app that kids become addicted to and spend too much time on. Which, actually it kind of is. Students at Franklin, such as Beckett Parker-Lisk (10), got the app not expecting too much of it. Now, 25.1 thousand followers later, he finds himself saying, “it’s very addicting and I find most of the TikToks are really funny and relatable. (It) brings back memories of Vine while bringing the Musical.ly aspect, in other words, it’s lit.” While his addiction has died down and he only spends about an hour on TikTok every other day, he still enjoys posting his own content. He has around thirty videos on his account (@cantguardbeck). See, once you download the app and get a taste for it, you may even find yourself, an adult who works and pays bills, spending an ungodly amount of time on the app. No shame here, we’ve all been there. TikTok brings similar features that Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube provide for people and smushes them into a cute little addictive icon. So, if you find yourself giving into curiosity, this also serves as a warning for what you may be getting yourself into before hitting that install button.

Some adults have had an abundance of fun since hopping on the new wave and producing their own videos. In fact, looking in your “Discover” page, which showcases popular videos, you’ll find trending hashtags such as “#realhousewivesoftiktok,” “#worklife,” and “#getcrafting,” that feature many adults who have found a hobby of making short videos. Ah, it is such a creative place for kids to make fun of adults and for adults to do vice versa. Adults have begun creating their own content to make a comeback for the “whatever Karen” and “ok boomer” comments snarkily targeted towards them. Karen is a soccer mom, who complains a lot, and is not liked very much. Don’t worry, Karen isn’t real, there’s just a possibility you or someone you know represents a Karen. As for a boomer, if you’re being called that, you may want to rethink your existence. Boomers, short for “baby boomers,” are old people deemed ignorant or not open to younger generations. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the genius who creates a modern version of “hooligans” and discovers another way to roast minors on TikTok. 

Though this may not have convinced you to see what the app is for yourself, we have broken-down most of what TikTok is comprised of in this short guide. Perhaps you have read exactly what you needed to and are ready to embark on your own journey through TikTok. Maybe, you think it’s all silly, TikTok shouldn’t even be something people do, you’re still confused, and you feel as if you’ve wasted valuable time reading about TikTok. In that case, it’d be advisable to stick to your day job, Karen. Nonetheless, this concludes your guide to TikTok for old people.

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