Can TikTok make you famous

A girl bobs rhythmically to an electro beat in front of the camera. She crosses her arms, places both index fingers on the opposite nostrils and opens her arms again. For a second it looks like the girl has rubber bones. The trick is ancient, at the level of the break clown. But he pulls among Tiktok users. The videos of the so-called #omgchallenge have been viewed around 1.4 billion times in the past few months. But they also summarize what Tiktok is all about: music, dancing and comedy.

What is Tiktok?

Tiktok is a social network. Facebook is out of fashion with teenagers, but with Tiktok, the number of users is increasing, especially among young people. The central element of the app are short videos shot with the mobile phone, which the user can add music to. The idea: a maximum of 15 seconds. "Make every second count" is Tiktok's slogan. Every movement, every punch line has to be right, because there is no time for explanations.

If you like a video, you distribute a heart by double tapping or follow the user. The design of the app ensures that you can get to the next video quickly: a young woman moves her lips in sync with a sketch by Carolin Kebekus and makes the right grimaces. One swipe up and the next video will play. Two masked men in canary-yellow jogging suits dance to techno music in the pedestrian zone, more than 500,000 hearts.

Why is the app so popular?

"It's really easy not only to consume videos, but also to create your own," says Charles Bahr. Despite his young age, the 16-year-old already runs his own marketing agency. He is invited to give presentations at trade fairs such as Re: publica or Dmexco. Because Bahr advises companies on how to reach Generation Z, i.e. young people born after 1997. In fact, creating and editing Tiktok movies is very easy. The videos can be filmed step by step in any number of sections. A whole library of effects and filters is available to the user to spice up the video. The filmed people box away colorful lettering, instead of the face an egg with mouth and eyes sits on the shoulders, parts of a video run backwards. You can choose to add a short sound clip, the original sound or a mixture of both to the video.

Bahr estimates that the app's core target group are 11 to 15-year-olds. The spicy thing about it: Officially, use is only allowed from 13 years of age. Apparently not too many adhere to this. "I was on Tiktok much earlier," says 15-year-old Leonie, who prefers not to read her last name in this article. Her around 700,000 fans in Tiktok are best known as @leoobalys. "I can be creative there, regardless of whether it is about beauty or sports." Every day she uploads short dance clips of herself in which she lets her long hair fly in slow motion. What she likes about Tiktok is that it's so easy to get in touch with other users and react to their videos. This works, for example, with the duet function: users who are friends in Tiktok can create a video for the same audio track, both videos are displayed side by side.

How many people are using them?

According to media reports, around 500 million people worldwide used the app every month in June 2018 - most of them in China. Since then, the number of users has likely increased significantly. Because in August, the company merged the Sing-Along app with the very similar app Musical.ly. Bytedance bought it in November 2017 for almost a billion US dollars. Musical.ly had around 100 million active users. Like the news portal Digiday reported, 4.1 million people in Germany are said to use Tiktok every month.

According to the market research company Sensortower, Tiktok was the world's most popular app in Apple's App Store last year. Only Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Facebook were downloaded more frequently from the Google Play Store.