Like most social media apps, you can follow your favourites, 'Like' posts, comment and live stream. You can also re-post content on other platforms. 

Some of the most common things on the app include lip-syncing, dancing and comedic skits. It also provides users with filters, music and animations.

Who is using it?

Most users are 24 years of age and under. Major celebrities like american talk show host Jimmy Fallon have jumped on the bandwagon, encouraging fans to participate in the app's Challenges feature. In one instance, Jimmy Fallon challenged people to jump down to roll like tumbleweeds.

Where did it come from?

Chinese technology company ByteDance purchased and rebranded it as TikTok.

Where are the users?

The majority of its users are in China; it is so popular there that it is estimated that nearly three in every 10 people have the app. Outside of China, most users come from the United States.  Two percent of its users from Australia, and there are currently TikTok users in approximately 150 countries.

Is TikTok used in South Africa?

There aren't official numbers, but there are quite a few uniquely South African hashtags such as #mzansioriginal or #johncenachallenge, which is a lovely stream of videos relating to Sho Madjozi's viral song. So there's definitely a local presence to get involved with.

What kind of content performs well on the platform?

Cringe videos have huge widespread appeal with compilations of painful or embarrassing TikTok clips. Other popular TikTok accounts belong to people doing dance or acrobatic routines. These tend to rack up millions of views. Other content that performs well is entertaining content with music and skits.

TikTok is getting massive global traction. In the first half of 2018, it was the top download in the Google app store worldwide. It beat out other well-known social apps including YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook.

What lies ahead for TikTok?

Will a career on TikTok be possible? Will it be monetised in the same way as YouTube?? Well, on YouTube you can run ads, but on TikTok there is a way to make money using the Live Stream feature. Viewers can purchase an emoji and send it to their favourite live streamers. The live streamer can then convert that back into cash.

It's clearly working. Revenue has more than tripled in the past year, according to a report released in late 2018. Another revenue stream it recently trialed was a partnership with Guess to run a campaign called '#InMyDenim' for its first-ever branded content piece in the United States.

Paid partnerships with social media influencers are also on the cards. Big brands like Pepsi, Nike and Sony Music are building communities on TikTok, aligning with new influencers to create content and a dedicated brand following.

Who's leveraging the popularity of TikTok?

Facebook definitely is! It has launched a very similar version of the app called Lasso. Google play says, "Lasso makes it easy for anyone to create and share short videos with fun filters and effects. Follow creators, search hashtags, discover popular viral video trends and join in by putting your own spin on them." 

"Once you've found a type of video that's trending — whether it's '#comedy' or '#fail' — you can use the in-app camera to create your own spin on them with special effects, music, text on video and editing tools that you can use to cut and edit your funny videos. Add hashtags to your video to share it with the world. You can also add your videos directly to your Facebook story," concludes Google play.

This has been seen as Facebook's attempt to lure back its shrinking teenage demographic. The app doesn't have good reviews on the app store, however. Some complaints include slowness of the app and many people feel the app tries to be too much like TikTok. 

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