Why You so Obsessed with Me?

What started as a joke became Generation Z’s latest and greatest addiction.

Alma Harrison, Editor-in-Chief

It’s the summer of 2014. You’re bored, so you decide to try out this new app called Musical.ly. You set up an account and start scrolling through the “Featured” page. Eventually, you gain the courage to make your own lip-syncing video to “2 Phones” by Kevin Gates. You do this for a few months. After a few years, everyone except Loren Gray and Baby Ariel has stopped using the app, and it fades away. Then comes TikTok – same app, different name.

Now it’s the summer of 2019, and TikTok has revolutionized Gen Z. While there are still lip-syncing videos, the users creating popular content mostly focus on comedy. The funniest videos ended up on the “For You” page where they can be viewed by anyone on the app, even if they don’t follow the creator. This is the pathway to fame for anyone from celebrities to high school students in Overland Park, like junior Brett Conner, who has made it onto the ‘For You’ page. 

“I downloaded it kind of ironically. One of them made it on the ‘For You’ page, so I was like, ‘I’m just gonna make more,’” Conner said. “I like doing it.”

Similarly to Conner, senior Kate Herrmann downloaded TikTok as a joke just to see what the hype was about. Both students ended up liking it and decided to make their own videos. They’re not afraid of anyone judging them for it.

“I think my bio is like, ‘This is just for giggles,’ but I work really hard on the giggles, so I want people to like them,” Herrmann said. “But it’s fine if you don’t. Just don’t be mean.”

The app is an easy way for anyone to show their creativity. Whether it’s doing art or a short comedy routine, users prepare for their videos just like any other performer. 

Various trends on the app have influenced teen culture, like the creation of Hydroflask-holding “VSCO girls” and chain-wearing “E-boys”. Users also make easy dances – similar to the “YMCA” from previous decades or the later “Whip and Nae Nae” – to ‘“lowkey” songs, propelling up and coming artists, like Lil Nas X. All in all, it’s all just fun.

“My TikToks are just for funsies, and they cheer me up when I’m sad,” Herrmann said.