DNX Tech | Tiktok: Boon, or Bane?

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Hannah A. Papasin
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

A girl in a bra that barely covers her breasts, dancing to Savage Love.

A bored housewife lip-syncing to comedy bits in between household chores. 

A teen-aged boy trying to mimic the moves of Magic Mike (or Dante Gulapa?), his choreography perfectly in tune with some forgotten Duran Duran song.

Tiktok has afforded all these, giving app users a chance at short-lived fame.  The snooty ones will dismiss it as kitsch; others have heaped scorn on the app (one does have to have a lot of time to be able to dedicate precious minutes for a perf that would get lost in a sea of perfs anyway). 

And it has shocked the more conservative ones who have seen the app used by nubile things in various stages of dishabille (in fact Pakistan has banned the app for apparently obscene content – should we tell it about HBO?).

But what is Tiktok really and why is it very very hard to shake off from people’s phones, and in fact from people’s lives?

DESTRESSING

Dannah Berjit is a fairly attractive woman in her early 20s.  Fair-skinned, with a gamine face and a shock of red hair, she has been using the app to showcase mostly her dance moves.

Of course the choreography could be provocative, but that is exactly what makes the app appealing. It offers no censorship, and the user has a fair amount of freedom when using it.

https://web.facebook.com/dannahberjit/videos/3734469526604987/

“For me, Tiktok is the same as with Zumba – it removes boredom,” Danna tells DNX Lifestyle.

It helps release stress, and you can sweat it out.

It makes sense then that Dannah has been using the app since December 2019, at about the time when the pandemic broke out.  The conditions were ripe, everybody was cooped up in their homes, there was nothing else to do and the news is getting repetitive and depressing.

Tiktok provides a respite from all that.

“Tiktok is a happy app,” Louis Romar “Kempoy” Alisbo, fitness buff who now works in an international chocolate company, shares.

Indeed, while others have taken to Tiktok to display their dancing skills, Kempoy opts to use the app for comedic bits.

“I do Tiktok to make comedy videos in order to make people around me happy,” he says

It feels good afterwards, he adds, like therapy.  And of course, it helps if the audience is appreciative.  It fuels the desire to do more.

PERFORMANCE IN A MICRO LEVEL

“Tiktok speaks to my creative side!”

Gerhard Krysstopher is a performer ever since he can remember.  He has spent much of his life performing, singing, dancing.

But Tiktok affords him a chance to keep performing especially after his industry has been put on a freezer, no thanks to the pandemic.

https://web.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1743248672489848&set=a.105252802956118&type=3

He admits that people find the app “cringey”, “but once you find your niche content (both as consumer and creator) you will find it actually serves a host of personal needs”.

 “Whenever I can, I do it,  just to destress and have fun,” he says.

Gerhard has a little over 5,000 followers, which might seem a lot but is just but a teeny fraction for some with a following of millions.

Most importantly, it keeps the creative juices flowing.

“When I’m stumped about something at work, at times I would find what to do next when I scroll for a bit on the app and vice-versa.  What I see in real life I sometimes apply as a Tiktok video concept. It is definitely a source of all kinds of inspiration,” he says.

Tiktok might have been reviled by some because it has been used to promote soft porn sort of, but so has TV. So has radio.  So has the newspaper.

In other words, the medium is only as good as how you use it.

And for as long as it keeps people like Dannah, and Gerhard and Kempoy stress-free during the pandemic, I say, keep those videos coming.

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