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How TikTok Differentiates Itself From Other Platforms and Why it's Successful

By: Meghan Macaya


TikTok’s influence on contemporary society is crystal clear. The app didn’t initially garner the most positive response, but in 2020, our COVID-oriented circumstances turned this widely criticized app into one of the most praised platforms in the world. But the question remains—how did TikTok evolve into the success it is today? Read on to discover how the app has managed to rise above the noise, ultimately dominating the social media scene.


1) Collaboration

One of the most notable aspects of TikTok is its collaborative spirit. The app was specifically designed with community at the forefront, so there are plenty of features throughout the app that make partnering easier than ever. One of these is the massively popular duet feature. TikTok duets allow for a split-screen experience between you and any given creator. Whether you wish to harmonize with your favorite singer or layer an instrument onto a trending dance, duets make all this possible with just one click. Another collaborative feature is TikTok stitches. With a stitch, you can integrate another creator’s video into your own. In addition, users can toy with a variety of cropping and editing tools to create a seamless composition. With all of these features at your fingertips, TikTok feels deeply communal, unlike other platforms where collaborative tools are far less accessible.


2) Integration

Another likely contributor to TikTok’s success is its integrative software. The app makes sharing content across platforms easier than most of its competitors. Plenty have migrated towards TikTok after coming across compilations on YouTube and Twitter. TikTok has succeeded in creating an all-encompassing platform, and these share-friendly settings have undoubtedly caused the app to achieve stellar popularity in such little time.

3) Creativity

Although TikTok flaunts its collaborative features, they’ve strived, first and foremost, to build a community based on creativity and innovation. The platform provides endless opportunities for users to grace the ‘For You Page’ (FYP) with their take on any challenge, dance, or trend. The app’s initial success stemmed from lip-synching and dancing, as made popular by influencers. But over time, TikTok blossomed into something much more—a place of infinite possibility. Whether it be recreating your favorite scene from Mean Girls or duetting with award-winning singer Dua Lipa, there are endless ways for you to make your mark in this space, potentially becoming a viral sensation along the way. Hashtags, as on other social media platforms, provide another avenue for creativity. On TikTok, however, your choice of hashtags carries much more weight. While other apps curate a feed based on the users you follow, TikTok’s FYP is inspired by engaging trends and hashtags. Challenges are another opportunity to interact with others while putting your own spin on things. Dozens of new challenges surface every day, encouraging users to come forward and try their hand at them.


4) Safety

Another element that sets TikTok apart from its rival platforms is its commitment to safety. Since the app largely appeals to the younger generations, they recognize the importance of a safe and secure user experience. TikTok provides an assortment of safety features including privacy settings, digital well-being notifications, and parental controls. These privacy settings are designed to keep your account secure and protected from unknown users and unwanted interactions. Parents and guardians have easy access to parental controls while monitoring their children’s social media use. Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok is equipped with digital well-being tools to notify users when they are spending a significant amount of time in-app. They also work to restrict sensitive content from younger audiences. Due to an abundance of safety features, TikTok has created a welcoming space for all creators to showcase their content with peace of mind.


5) The Algorithm

Regardless of the other notable aspects of TikTok, the root of its allure lies in the algorithm. The app’s unparalleled software was designed to display content aligning with each user’s curiosities. Rather than solely showing content from followed accounts, the FYP aims to present an infinite scroll of short-form videos that entice to no end. The more you explore, the more your feed will be aligned with your interests. Users have noted that TikTok’s algorithm is unprecedented in its accuracy and precision. On platforms like Instagram and Facebook, people are so bombarded with the same kind of content that they’re unable to engage with fresh, exciting posts. Ultimately, this is what sets TikTok far ahead of its competition—the it-factor that keeps people scrolling.