TikTok is one of the most widely used popular video-sharing platforms on the web and experienced a meteoric adoption rate among users in a relatively short amount of time.

In September 2016, Chinese-based software company ByteDance launched a video-sharing social media application called Douyin. The following year, an international version was launched for the masses to install on their mobile devices named TikTok. The platform quickly established itself as the most downloaded application in the United States in October of 2018 and has persisted in being a social media powerhouse today.

TikTok’s rise to app store domination can largely be attributed to ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly in November of 2017 for a whopping $1 billion. Musical.ly users were automatically integrated into TikTok’s platform after the buyout, and the majority of those users were from the U.S.

Although the DNA of TikTok’s original content trademark—lip-syncing and dance routine videos—are still largely popular on the platform, the application has evolved in its respective markets to offer a wide variety of clips from its user base. Allowing for more long-form videos has allowed for content creators to upload viral storytimes and, in some instances, mini-documentaries about their daily lives.

TikTok’s user base currently stands at approximately 1 billion. Unlike other social media networks, however, there’s a strong argument to be made that it’s the most culturally significant app. Throngs of folks want to be TikTok famous, and numerous individuals have managed to launch successful branding and influencer careers from the application.

Even so, the platform has also become an integral online space for individuals to share their everyday lives—from Instacart shopper woes to corporate workforce pains, and massive Shein hauls to revolutionary shopper-focused hacks. Here, TikTok exists as an essential view of real-world discourse through a digital lens.

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