If you are a parent of a teenager, you have probably heard about this app. It is like Instagram, but not really. It is similar to Vine but very different. TikTok is simply its own thing. What started as an app that had some of the sketchiest ads out there has become a juggernaut of social media growth.
Every teen wants to end up “TikTok famous” by making it to the “For You” page that the app uses to promote new videos. The question we have to ask is, “how far will they go?” A simple scroll through the first few videos after downloading the app will get you suggestive content, kids pointing out “little known facts,” acts of vandalism and lip syncing (so much lip syncing). While other outlets reward new concepts, TikTok seems to run on kids doing their own take on established trends. One piece of audio from a movie or song will be played over and over with users acting out various scenes around it. Then, as quickly as the trend hits, it will be over and done with users moving on to the next concept.
A lot of the content is rated R, but before adults totally dismiss this as a plague upon our kids’ iPhones, they have to know that there is some genuinely creative and funny content out there as well. The analytics are very quick to adjust to what a user likes, and it only took a couple of days for our feed to go from the default to mostly Christians giving uplifting words and corgi videos. The main problem is that it took us wading through the other stuff for two days to get there.
Should churches have a TikTok account? Not yet. This is an app that strictly appeals to the 13-29 age crowd and there are a lot of things that our churches don’t want to be associated with. If they can find a way to generate a more “family friendly” feed, then there may be room there for organizations, but that might also be the death knell for the app’s “cool factor” as we have seen with other social media platforms. In the meantime, we will wait and see if TikTok is really here to stay, or just another flash in the pan that is only cool until the next big thing.
If you are a church leader or volunteer seeking to help your church utilize social media as a part of your outreach, Clearbranch United Methodist Church in Trussville is hosting a free social media seminar on Saturday, March 7. Find out how to grow your church’s presence on social media and get the most out of your time on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Learn how you can better connect with your congregation and the community. Click here to learn more.
Director of Communications
Clearbranch United Methodist Church