For those who are asking themselves "What the hell is TikTok?", it's an app that allows users to create short videos and share them with the world. It's like Vine, except the videos can be up to 60 seconds long. Here's one of my favorites:
Hi Vine stans. I'll see you in the comments section.
You can pretty much do whatever you want in the videos. I've seen TikTokers prank their teachers, put their dog's hair in a bun, and show off their mugshots. But mostly people dance, make joke videos, and lip sync.
Here's a roundup of hilarious TikToks if you're interested in seeing some prime content.
If you're on the app for long enough, you'll realize there are tons of different "trends" or "challenges" that people participate in. It's usually a skit or a dance that uses the same song.
I've been curious about making the switch from TikTok consumer to TikTok creator, so I decided to make an account and give some of these challenges the ol' college try.
One of my fears before I began my voyage into the TikTok universe was the dominance of teens on the app. I just turned 25, which is unfortunate for multiple reasons (besides feeling too old for TikTok):
—My friend complimented me on a "new dimple" the other day and after further examination I realized it was a wrinkle.
—People are looking more and more suspicious when I try to get a student discount at movies and museums.
—My ankle randomly starts to hurt when I walk too much and I'm pretty sure it's gonna be like this forever.
But after some further exploration I realized the app is used by people of all ages! Being a crusty post-grad was not gonna stop me from living my TikTok truth!
Keep in mind that I was unable to find the official names of these challenges anywhere. So here's my best shot at both naming the challenges and trying to do them (I've also included a difficulty ranking and cringe ranking for each):
I started with what I thought would be an easier challenge. It's a seemingly simple dance that I saw a bunch of times when I first downloaded the app. Here's an example:
The dance requires a partner, so I roped my brother into doing it with me. What I thought would take five minutes took about an hour and I still look stupid, but here it is:
I'm gonna give this one a difficulty ranking of 5/10 because even though it's literally a 10 second dance, I am atrocious at moving my body in a coordinated way.
I'll also give it a 5/10 in the cringe department. Y'all might think it deserves higher, but in comparison to some of the other challenges it's sadly not that bad. Yup, you're about to feel a lot more secondhand embarrassment.
The idea for this one is that you transform from the normal version of yourself to the badass version of yourself:
I decided to do my own variation of the challenge using my dog, Lola. She's a temperamental 13-year-old toy poodle who only has about four teeth left and I think it's fair to say she's the badass version of me:
I give this one a difficulty level of 2/10. I've gotta be honest though and let y'all know that I edited it on Adobe Premiere then uploaded it to the app. If I tried to do it on TikTok it probably would have gotten a 7/10. I also slightly cheated by not turning myself into a "bad ass."
Cringe factor? Easily 10/10. After listening to that song upwards of 50 times, I'd rather hear nails on a chalkboard than listen to 10 more seconds. I pray none of you ever have to watch yourselves lip sync it.
If you're gonna recognize any TikTok in this post, it'll probably be this work of genius:
I am lucky enough to have an adorable chunky smush of a dog named Louie who (with the promise of a treat at the end) was willing to volunteer as tribute (Lola could not be reached for comment at this time). Here's Louie's go at it:
This one gets a difficulty ranking of 6/10. I have no clue how that girl was able to make her cat move so dynamically while also staying out of the frame. But I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt since Louie is probably 20 pounds heavier than the ginger cat.
I'm gonna give it a 0/10 on the cringe scale. Mostly because I don't appear in the video, but also because cute animals are the antithesis of cringe.
This one's a dance challenge that I was VERY intimidated by. Especially after watching this literal child absolutely kill it:
Mason Ramsey is SHAKING.
My coworker Shelby told me she'd be willing to do one of the challenges with me, so I decided to take her along for the ride on this one. It took us almost three hours, but we were finally able to achieve some semblance of the dance:
This one gets a difficulty level of 9/10. We were pretty much nowhere close to getting that weird scarecrow walk down at the beginning and had to switch out some of the moves with easier alternatives. My two years of hip hop classes in middle school unfortunately did not pay off.
I'm gonna give this a cringe factor of 7/10. Having a partner definitely helped take the rating down a few notches, but watching myself do that body roll really sends shivers down my spine.
While perusing TikTok one day, I came across the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. It was a video of a teenager pretending to be a Brandy Melville employee ringing you up:
Anyone who has ever shopped at Brandy knows how realistic this feels.
I thought the whole POV (point of view) idea was very clever. I knew I was too old and washed up to be a Brandy Melville employee, so I decided to impersonate a second-hand clothing cashier buying your clothes instead:
I'll give this one a difficulty rating of 6/10. My coworker Tyler (who has had many a clothing item rejected at thrift stores) helped me compose a lengthy script, which I then memorized. It took me a couple tries, but I think I finally nailed it.
The cringe score is also a 6/10. I'm honestly kind of proud of my acting, but I felt absolutely ridiculous throughout the whole thing.
Five TikToks later, I feel like I'm a slightly shitty TikToker but definitely have a better grasp of the platform than I did before!
Here are my main TikTok takeaways:
- Gen Z'ers are frickin' hilarious. I am blown away by some of the comedic genius that exists on the platform.
- They are also great dancers. I don't know if it's natural talent or a lot of practice, but I'm sure they tear up the dance floor at prom.
- There are a ton of people on TikTok who are a lot older than me, and they honestly have this app down. Is there a TikTok for grownups class that I can enroll in?
- TikTok is an absolute blast and — dare I say it? — is just as good, if not better, than Vine. Period.