TikTok 2020’s Biggest Trends

It’s been well over two years since TikTok arrived in the United States in August 2018, offering a retort to anyone who thought social media had lost its way. The app had it all: social commentary, comedy, crafts, memes, challenges, makeup tutorials, and, of course, dancing. Even those who weren’t totally sold on them couldn’t avoid videos, which proliferated on platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

As of April 2020, TikTok had been downloaded over 2 billion times; in the fall, it had around 850 million monthly active users.

Despite its growth in size and scope, the uninitiated still widely view the app as a tool that other much younger people can use. “TikTok is a children’s dance app, where kids will upload videos of themselves dancing for kids and adults to enjoy,” comedian Nathan Fielder recently joked. While it is true that TikTok has transformed the culture of line dancing, the platform has become a rich social and entertainment network more broadly. And in 2020, there was hardly a corner of society that he hadn’t touched.

The most obvious impact of TikTok can be seen in the entertainment world. “More than any other social network since Myspace, it looks like a new experience, the emergence of a different type of technology and another way of consuming media,” journalist Kyle Chayka wrote in November.

The For You page is primarily responsible for the uniqueness of the viewing experience of TikTok, an algorithmically programmed feed that serves you content that you are likely to find interesting. You don’t need to follow or be followed by a single person to see the videos you want to see, or for your videos to be seen by their target audience, which has made many people famous quickly. . In 2020 alone, top users like Charli and Dixie D’Amelio and Addison Easterling have amassed tens of millions of subscribers and have become household names. The D’Amelios even landed a Hulu show.

The app has also reinvigorated the music industry and has become a place to discover talent, market new songs, collaboratively produce new music and mix tracks.

TikTok has had an undeniable effect on what people wear and buy. In 2020, TikTokers appeared in campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Prada, signed with agencies like IMG Models, and shaped trends (think Cottagecore and the Strawberry Dress). Gucci tackled a challenge that taught people how to style their wardrobe items to look like Alessandro Michele’s runway models. (If you’ve got a scarf, turtleneck, and brightly colored accessories, you’re halfway there.) Mass-market brands have aligned themselves with influencers as well; Hype House merchandise, for example, is sold at Target.

“It goes beyond outfits and creative expression,” Kudzi Chikumbu, director of the designer community at TikTok, told Vogue.com in December. “TikTok is a place of joy and gives the fashion industry a whole new way to showcase their art and personality.”

As physical storefronts were closed in the first few months of the pandemic, new brands and stores appeared on TikTok, using the platform to generate orders online. Vintage dealers use TikTok to sell their products and reinvigorate old styles. Big retailers like Sephora, Dunkin ‘, and GameStop have even encouraged their employees to become TikTok influencers.

Service workers were among the first to adopt TikTok in 2018, and in 2020 people got a whole new outlook on their lives. Warehouse workers, fast food workers, and baristas have turned to TikTok to give others a glimpse into their lives, sometimes finding unintended fame along the way. In 2020, many of their industries were hit hard by the pandemic and leveraged TikTok to promote fundraising and relief efforts.

As the coronavirus continued to spread, TikTok also played a key role in public health. Nurses, doctors and other frontline health workers have used TikTok to talk about the risks of contracting Covid-19, explain the importance of wearing masks and breaking down misinformation about vaccines. (Many have also documented their vaccinations on the platform.)

Patients, with coronavirus and other illnesses, chronicled their health journeys and connected to the outside world from their hospital beds.

As the Black Lives Matter movement gained support across the country this summer, TikTok became a space for young activists to talk about police brutality, what it means to be an ally, and about criminal justice reform, as well. that of the app’s own relationship with black creators.

Political activism has also been fruitful on the app. In June, TikTok users mounted a campaign to inflate expectations for attending President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa. Photographs of the event showed a sparse crowd, with many empty seats. After the event, longtime Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, written on twitter: “The teens of America have dealt a savage blow to @realDonaldTrump.”

One of the oldest and most visible trends on TikTok in 2020 was the Renegade, a dance choreographed by 15-year-old Jalaiah Harmon to the song “Lottery” by Atlanta rapper K-Camp. The dance, popularized mostly by white influencers, opened up a dialogue about black designers and gave credit where it’s due.

In 2020, viral food culture migrated from Instagram to TikTok. The platform popularized pancake cereal, whipped coffee, and carrot bacon. It has also helped young people, like 18-year-old culinary darling Eitan Bernath, gain exposure and teach millions of people stuck at home during their forties how to cook.

TikTok songs and audio tracks provided the soundtrack for 2020. The platform has brought new artists out of obscurity at a rate never seen before by the music industry. He has put songs like Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” back in the limelight and introduced new ones to the general public.