How Has TikTok Changed The Social Media Landscape In Pakistan?
What does a woman twirling in a bridal gown, a man holding a giant bottle of coke, a woman with a broomstick, and cricketer Hasan Ali have in common?
Why yes, they are all on my #Pakistan page on Tik Tok.
In a split second, I had been exposed to a versatility that at first overwhelmed me. Then, slowly as I settle into the app as a first-time user, my curiosity takes over and I scroll down the search to see what is on the hotly popular social media platform that has everyone hooked. As I dug deeper into the content I came across memes, random people singing, dancing, a muscular man running with a tire strapped to his waist, a pilot walking its viewers into a cockpit with a Punjabi mash-up playing in the background, and so much more. The platform is all about engaging visuals and sometimes you may catch yourself watching something so mundane yet relatable.
Whether you love it or hate it, the app is giving social media big guns major competition. TikTok had become the second most downloaded app at the close of 2019, with a total download of 16.3 million. The number has only gone up with the lockdown. Many have extremely strong opinions when it comes to the purpose and usefulness of the app, some of the criticism is based on it promoting vulgarity as well.
So why has this worked so well for so many youngsters living their dream currently? TikTok critics, this article is for y’all skeptics!
- Diversity and Low Maintenance
Even though almost all leading social media are accessible to everyone with internet access, TikTok has managed to steer into a very diverse crowd. From big-city girls to small-town tenants, there is something for everyone. The reception that these people are getting is heartening. The platform has proven to be inclusive by giving a voice to the marginalized groups of our society.
Tauqeer Abbas aka Phoollu is a testament to this trend. He has soared to popularity with his videos shot at the heart of his livelihood i.e. the fields. He has 128k followers on Instagram, 221k subscribers on Youtube, and 4.7 million followers on TikTok! And he isn’t even the most followed Pakistani on TikTok. This is where Tiktok has really upped the game for its users. It works just as well for an average Pakistani short on the means to shoot a visually alluring video. If they manage to make a video that goes viral they can become an internet sensation.
2. A new tangent in influencer marketing
TikTokers are in a league of their own. The app has certainly changed the marketing dynamics as well. Brands that switched from TV commercials to influencers on Instagram are now flocking to get shoutouts or a few seconds advert from these TikTok stars. The reason is simple, most brands go after the follower count and the TikTok clan has much higher digits. Jannat Mirza currently has 7.1 million followers beating the likes of Mahira Khan and Aiman Khan who are among the most followed celebs on Instagram.
3. Varying Demographics
Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook are other dominant social media mediums being used but both have been predominantly given a boost to those coming from a certain class and educational background. Their users range from 18–24 years. This segment has managed to learn the ropes about these platforms' built-in digital marketing tools which can serve them better and monetize it to their advantage. Studies have shown that TikTok on the other hand has a much younger audience. According to Global Web Index’s report, around 41 percent of users are aged between 16–24 years. Factors like age, gender, race, financial standing, and education are not much of a hurdle on TikTok in contrast to others. Through TikTok, many have managed to get into the spotlight and divert their following to other platforms as well.
4. The TikTok Community
Like Instagram and Youtube bloggers, Tiktok bloggers also come together to collaborate on their videos. There is always some challenge or the other happening. Many jump in just for the sake of being included in something trending. What follows is a series of viral and some very innovative takes on the challenge. In fact, the challenges initiate from TikTok and are carried forward to other platforms as well. Not only does the TikTok fam get together for fun, but they have also proven to be a supportive lot when in distress. Just recently, with Minahil Malik’s incident, not just her friends but those who didn’t know her, came out in her support via their respective platforms. This is very admirable as many choose to stay quiet in such cases to avoid getting dragged into the middle.
By the looks of it, the community will continue to grow as the app garners more and more popularity. The fact that the videos can be shared with other platforms gives the platform more footing in the digital space and makes it more user-friendly; an obstacle that Snapchat seemed to have overlooked. What will be interesting to see is whether the app will continue this upward trend despite the saturation of users, or is it in it for the long haul?