Dive into Tik Tok: discover its history and definition

by our Digital Agency and Social Media Agency Optimize 360

What is Tik Tok?

Everyone is talking about Tik Tokthe application that has captured the hearts of millions of users around the world.

But what do you really know about this video-sharing and social networking platform other than its name?

In this article, we'll explore the definition, history and main features of this popular mobile application.

Tik Tok

What is Tik Tok?

TikTok is an ultra-popular mobile application for creating and sharing short videos (from a few seconds to a few minutes). It's a social network with a varied and entertaining content feed, ranging from dance challenges to comedy sketches. TikTok's algorithm customises the feed for each user, making it highly addictive.

It stands out mainly for its many tools for creating creative and interactive videos with friends or subscribers, such as :

  • Filters and special effects
  • Video editing tools
  • Music, sound and voice-over
  • Challenges and viral trends

As it has grown, Tik Tok has also established itself as a key player in the French market. a genuine social networking platformThe site also features a "Like" section, where users can interact with each other through likes, comments, shares and private messages.

The history of Tik Tok: when and how did it all begin?

The birth of Musical.ly and Douyin

Tik Tok has its roots in two separate applications, which eventually merged: Musical.ly and Douyin. Musical.ly was founded in 2014 by Chinese-American entrepreneurs Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang.

Initially launched as an educational application, it quickly evolved into a social network centred around the creation and sharing of playback music videos.

For its part, Douyin was born in 2016 on the initiative of the Chinese internet company ByteDance. This mobile application quickly gained popularity in China with similar features to Musical.ly, but with some notable differences such as support for live video and a variety of innovative tools for creating more diverse content.

The acquisition of Musical.ly by ByteDance and the birth of Tik Tok

In November 2017 ByteDance acquires Musical.ly for 1 billion dollars. This strategic merger enabled ByteDance to develop its presence on the international market and expand the functionality of its apps. Less than a year later, in August 2018, the Tik Tok brand was officially launched and the merged app quickly positioned itself at the top of the charts in terms of downloads and active users.

Exploding popularity: Tik Tok becomes a global phenomenon

Since then, Tik Tok has continued to grow in popularity with a young and diverse audience. Today, the application has over 2 billion downloads worldwide and several hundred million active users every month. In 2020, it even became the most downloaded mobile application worldwide.

This phenomenal success is largely attributable to a strategy of viral content around challenges, celebrities and influencers which have made this platform a real meeting point for generation Z and pop culture fans.

The main features and key aspects of Tik Tok

Create and share your own videos

One of the main attractions of Tik Tok is its ease of use to create compelling video content.

Users can film directly from the application or import existing videos for editing, adding music, filters, stickers, subtitles and many other interactive elements.

They can also use tools such as multi-clip mode, image overlay, lip sync and accelerator to bring their creative ideas to life.

Discover, view and interact with content

Tik Tok also offers an infinite experience of discovery thanks to its algorithm sophisticated and customisable.

Thanks to the 'For You' section of the application, users can browse and watch videos based on their interests, location and viewing history. These recommendations are designed to encourage users to interact with other members of the community by liking, commenting on or sharing their favourite content.

Tik Tok challenges and viral trends

Without a doubt, one of Tik Tok's key strengths is its ability to create and promote viral trends.

Hashtags and challenges are widely used to stimulate user engagement and encourage the creation of content around a specific theme, whether it's a dance challenge, a joke or a more serious topic such as the environment.

Collaborate and connect with other users

Finally, Tik Tok offers users a host of ways to collaborate and expand their network of contacts on the platform. These options include :

    1. The duet - allows you to combine two videos side by side and react to the content of another user.
    2. The stitch - similar to the duetto, but allowing you to include a video extract before or after your own contribution.
    3. Lives - live broadcasts where creators can engage in conversation, answer questions and receive virtual gifts from their subscribers.

In a nutshell, Tik Tok represents a new era in mobile entertainment and social networking. 

From its origins in Musical.ly and Douyin to its current worldwide success, the application has set itself apart thanks to an innovative and immersive approach to video creation and user interaction.


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