TikTok is a mobile application that, although it is similar to Vine and Musical.ly in that you can create short videos to share on the Internet and have them go viral, I view it as the next evolution for apps of this sort. The main distinguishing feature of TikTok is how you can use songs and sounds from other TikToks, and lipsync over that, as well as 'duet' other videos and create duet chains. Most of these duet chains are used for Fortnite dances, making fun of over-dramatic normies, ugly people and fat people, or even for creative and funny purposes; such as the "get this water to Africa" which reflects our altruism and ironic humour, or all the lore behind the Furry War. This had all previously not been done before. Essentially, TikTok is a mix of both Vine and Musical.ly, but 10x better.
One thing that is apparent right away after watching one of the 10 minute TikTok compilation videos, which garner millions of views each, is that TikTok is a great way of showing how anti-political correctness most of Generation Z are. In many ways, TikTok is a manifestation of the spirit of my generation. We are a tragic generation; we are snagged in a time where divorce is rampant, poverty, environmental destruction and mass immigration destroying social trust is only going to continue to get worse, traditional gender roles are diminishing and cross-dressing is rising (the phenomenon of 'traps') to the point where we often just assume some people are without knowing for sure, and dating is harder than what it used to be before the sexual revolution of the 60s.
My generation is a generation of longing for things we never had—normalcy being the most noteworthy. It used to be normal to enter into your 30s or 40s and have your parents still married, to know that there are only two genders, to shun sexual deviants, to be politically incorrect but not too vulgar, to live honourably, have a sense of identity and community and to have your shit together by the time you reached adulthood. In recent times, not so much. This is evident in all our niche jokes and sense of humour—like the "make me a sandwich," and "get back in the kitchen" jokes arguing for traditional gender roles and wholesome, stable families, and in the type of art we produce (see: vaporwave and fashwave) which features a lot of '90s and Greco-Roman aesthetics and what was considered normal in previous generations that we missed out on, and may never live to feel again. Indeed, my generation is yearning for wholesomeness, heroism and truth—something we have been robbed of, and previous generations got to experience.
Despite all this, Generation Z have found a way to unite, and although it may sound cringeworthy to say, but we can unite through memes and the creativity of meme culture. We are very creative and tech savvy, and we use these skills to enjoy edgy and ironic humour—but also have standards for what comedy is; we like to play video games but still enjoy sports; we do not buy into this LGBT bullshit (we especially do not like effeminate men and masculine women) and we hate overt sexuality and the liberal hookup culture we are in permeating all aspects of civil life through the use of the media and popular culture—especially when it starts from a young age; we find military surplus clothing cool and respect people who serve in the military and defence forces; we are disgusted by fat people; we think old and rich people are out of touch with the issues that actually matter and face us leading into the future—and in following that line of thought, we hate massive wealth inequality and poverty (which explains why so many of us are turning to Fascism and Communism—because the current status quo of liberal democratic late-stage capitalism is unsustainable); we find materialism off-putting; and idolatry, narcissism and self-worship to be a gross personal trait—like the people in emergency services who make TikTok videos or take selfies whilst at work.
My generation and the future generations to come are going to have to deal with the mistakes of the previous generations. We use ironic and niche humour to deal with our problems. We look for ourselves in others, if we are in on the memes or have niche humour (gallows humour too), then we do not tend to want to befriend normies (people who do not understand memes). We create us versus them paradigms, and often laugh at the 'thems,' such as third worlders, poor people, non-whites and clueless normies—whilst still empathising with them. This is often done by taking popular culture and molding it to our own version of it through the use of memes and ironic humour—essentially what most TikTok videos are like. But why is our humour so weird? For me, it is an escape from the current zeitgeist of nihilistic, chaotic hopelessness and betrayal. We are seeking order in a world of chaos and perpetual 1984-style wars, wholesomeness in a culture of decadence and ethnomasochism—our humour is our way of communicating our yearning for better times. Even if a normal person around my age is not explicitly as political as I am, there is that feeling deep down in wanting a normal society again.
It is not just an empty platitude that Generation Z is "stressed, depressed but well-dressed." It is the reality we face in that the things we have to learn at school in such little time leaves us stressed, the shallowness and how atomised we are as individuals in the current state of Western society reflects our issues with depression, and the consumer culture inherent in late-stage capitalism leaves us well-dressed despite this. The biggest problem facing my generation is that the people who can help have no idea and are clueless to the gravity of the situation facing us, the people who have the power have the wrong ideas, and the people with the right ideas are heavily demonised by the powers that be.
TikTok is a unifying force for young people to deal with our problems and have a laugh over, and although the state of modern technology can definitely be said to do more harm than good, it gives us that chance to connect with others we share interests with and having fun looking like a clown doing it.