TikTok really did its part for humanity this year.
While the world went into lockdown, the platform did a great job of taking our minds off the pandemic, as one by one we all attempted to create the perfect dalgona coffee or learn the latest dance craze.
Some who fell victim to the app’s influence would say it single-handedly kept the economy alive, and Jeff Bezos’s pockets well-lined. This year has felt so long that the list of trends that hit the platform over the course of 2020 is endless, but videos to the themes of ‘Things TikTok Made Me Buy’ and ‘Amazon Must Haves’ have been popular favourites throughout the year.
While retail stores closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and consumers turned to online shopping, Amazon stock rose by nearly 80%, as did Bezo’s net worth. While he was worth roughly $115 billion on January 1, in August he became the first person in the world to be worth $200 billion.
One such item that quickly began trending, and TikTok users subsequently raced to buy, was the Revlon one-step hair dryer, a handy tool which makes it easy for anyone to give themselves a salon-worthy blowdry at home.
For others, like 24-year-old Bartek, the platform was a kickstart to a new career. Since joining the app on April 20 with the encouragement of his younger sister, he has now built a loyal following, a brand called ‘Lets Munch’, and even a catchphrase or two.
‘When we went into first lockdown, I was at my parents house. One day, I was gonna make a cheesecake when my little sister started telling me about TikTok, saying I should film it and put it on there,’ he told UNILAD.
‘It didn’t do very well,’ he says of his first video, but after his friends enjoyed it, he decided to carry on. It paid off, as his third video was an instant hit, raking in 400,000 viewers overnight.
‘I couldn’t believe it. Since then, I grew very quickly,’ he added.
Bartek, a keen cook from a young age who also has experience working as a grill chef, now has more than 300,000 followers and 3.8 million likes on the platform, where he regularly posts videos of his recipes.
Seven months on, he’s collaborated with brands such as McCain, JD and Wagamama and quit his job to focus on TikTok full time.
As the pandemic took hold, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the world. According to SensorTower, which monitors app downloads, it was downloaded 315 million times in the first quarter of the year.
Even celebrities jumped on the hype, with the likes of Kylie Jenner and Mick Fleetwood joining the platform. One recent trend saw users post videos with the caption ‘if Miley [Cyrus] comments I will [insert wild behaviour]’.
The next morning, users woke up to find a string of comments on their videos from the actress-turned-singer herself, telling her fans to get married, shave their hair and dump their significant others to name just a few.
As one Twitter user put it: ‘Miley Cyrus wakes up and chooses violence’
A lot of musicians also have the platform to thank for their chart success this year.
For example, Lil Nas X’s country jam Old Town Road has been used in more than 67 million videos on TikTok, earning it the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-setting 17 weeks.
Additionally, Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage earned its very own dance and even got a Tiger King remix, while Young T & Bugsy’s No Rush inspired its very own challenge.
As the success of the app doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, and rumours surface of the platform trialling longer, three-minute videos, it remains to be seen what will become of TikTok in 2021. Either way, it’s going to be big.