Sitting extended family around the dinner table once a year for Thanksgiving always leads to three unavoidable conversations: What do you think of the president, who are you dating, and what is that you keep looking at on your phone? You’re on your own for the first two, but it’s likely that anyone between the ages of 12 and 25 is secretly looking at TikTok underneath the table where the family dog is begging for scraps — hmm, would that be a good TikTok? Thanksgiving is a #content goldmine, after all, albeit with the caveat of having to explain to everyone what exactly it is you’re doing when you’re walking around screaming “fucking MINT!”
Teaching the internet to anyone over the age of, honestly, 30 is never painless, but we tried as hard as possible to come up with a script for you to follow when TikTok inevitably comes up that isn’t just “OK, Boomer.” These are the surefire questions that your parents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors are going to ask, and all the answers you’ll need so they’ll let you put your Airpods back in and scroll in peace.
“So is it a music app?”
It used to be. Before TikTok, there was lip-syncing app called Musical.ly. The two were merged in August 2018, and music is still a pretty big part of the app.
“But it’s also...not music?”
There used to be this app called Vine where you could make six second videos. TikTok has also become a place for short, funny videos like that. Sometimes the videos use clips from TV shows and other videos as soundtracks, or creators just use their own voices.
Sometimes people post tutorial videos, videos answering questions, or videos showing crazy things about their lives.
And videos of animals. Lots of animals.
“Why does everyone keep doing the same thing?”
The thing that makes TikTok better than other apps is it’s all about community. If one person has a funny idea, they don’t keep it for themselves. If you see something funny, you can make your own version of it, and that’s how the trends and challenges are born. Some past trends include: “Hi, I’m Ryan,” “fucking mint,” and VSCO girls, but a recent one is “character select”:
“Are famous people on it?”
“Are there famous videos?”
There’s a new one every day, but these are some TikTok videos that got so famous, people who aren’t on TikTok saw them.
“What’s the point?”