Millennials Share Why They Now Love TikTok
From viral dances, life hacks and even makeup tutorials, TikTok has taken the world by storm since we’ve been stuck at home during the pandemic. While most of Gen Z might have jumped onto the app almost immediately, millennials have had their reservations about the social media platform. We spoke to 8 millennials to find out why they hated TikTok initially, but have now embraced the trend to become absolute pros at using it.
1. “There’s a lot of good information about news, current affairs and social issues”
“From my guess, it’s mostly Gen Zs on TikTok. However, I do see some people my age or older using, though a lot are hesitant to get on it. I didn’t like TikTok at first because from the snippets I saw, it looked just like pretty people showing [off] their pretty privilege (a.k.a being hot with no context). Why would I want to watch that if it didn’t add value to my life? Also, a lot of the things shared were cringey and I could not imagine watching content like that.
I downloaded TikTok because I had a client who was working with TikTok and had to film a dance video. After that, I stopped using the app for a month, but I went back in and realised people saw my video even though I don’t follow anyone. Then, I realised how the algorithm worked and how I could “craft” a specific feed to only see videos I want to see.
I’m on a mix of animetiktok, sgtiktok, valoranttiktok and POVtiktoks. I [also] started posting because I like dancing, so it was fun to try out some of the not-so-cringey dance trends.
I moved on to posting fashion TikToks like lookbooks which did well, and gaming TikToks since I stream. I’m actually on the app way too much now. Sometimes, you just get lost in the scroll.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “Craft your For You Page into something you would enjoy watching, then you would like the experience. Honestly, there’s also a lot of good information about news, current affairs and social issues that are condensed into 60 second snippets which help you see things from a different perspective.”
— Leah Shannon, 27
2. “I picked up resin art just from watching videos and I got hooked on posting”
“I remember seeing school kids in uniforms dancing and making these videos in real life and thinking that they were just too young. I was very unimpressed and [felt that] nothing could make me want to download this app as it seemed like something for the younger generation.
However, I started seeing funny TikToks being reposted on Instagram. When I first downloaded TikTok, it was just out of curiosity. But after chancing upon videos of young girls dancing inappropriately, I deleted it after a day.
A month later, I was talking about TikTok with one of my friends and she told me that I needed to keep scrolling and liking things before TikTok understood what I wanted to see. I tried downloading it again and slowly my FYP started to show me funny videos, skits, food and things I actually liked. That’s probably when I got addicted and sold my soul to the app.
I now use TikTok daily as a way to unwind and find it very relaxing to just scroll mindlessly sometimes. I’ve learnt many new recipes and even picked up resin art just from watching videos of it being done. I wanted to try posting things I was doing, and after a couple of times I got hooked on posting.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “It’s really helpful for learning new things, hacks and just unwinding in general. It is very addictive though, so I would be cautious of that.”
— Camillia Deborah, 25
3. “It can also be a great conversation starter with friends”
“To me, the general age range of people who use TikTok are between 13 to 30. I heard about TikTok from my friends when they shared funny videos with me or talked about songs associated with certain TikTok dances.
My original perception of TikTok was that it is boring, mainly because my For You Page (FYP) featured Xiao Mei Meis (XMM) dancing, which wasn’t really my thing. Many of my friends shared about the funny videos popping up on their FYPs but it didn’t for me. Hence, I felt that it didn’t live up to the expectation I held for it.
I downloaded TikTok mainly to keep up with my friends as well as trends. I guess it sparked my curiosity as to why the app is so interesting. Now, I use TikTok often before I sleep and I am mainly on food and SG TikTok videos. I like [watching] funny content and ASMR slime videos [too] because they’re weirdly comforting.
I guess I am a pro TikTok user because I’m constantly updated about recent trends and songs. It can [also] be a great conversation starter with friends. My current perception definitely has changed from my original, as my FYP is now more curated according to my tastes and preferences.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “TikTok is fun but don’t use it to spread hate!”
— C, 28
4. “TikTok is a platform where individuals with artistic talent can showcase their art”
Simon’s orientation group’s TikToks
“Previously, when TikTok first came out, I found out about it through Facebook after Vine’s popularity. I felt that TikTok didn’t have any quality content, as most people tend to sexualise their content to get views—especially when I saw kids as young as 12 [years old] doing provocative trends.
Recently, I’ve been watching photography tips, foods, stand-up comedy and local TikTokers just for laughs. I scroll TikTok probably every few days and DouYin (a Chinese version of TikTok) almost daily. Personally, I do not post content on TikTok, but during orientation camps, my team used TikTok as game forfeits. We recorded TikToks and sent it to our orientation groups, and some of my fellow Orientation Group Leaders posted it on their accounts.
I think that TikTok is a platform where individuals with artistic talent can showcase [their art] other than on Instagram. Meaningful content makes it worth using TikTok.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “If you have a talent in something just go for it. You’ll never know when your TikTok might become viral overnight.”
— Simon Wong, 26
5. “I watch a lot of life hacks on TikTok”
“I found out about TikTok through Instagram since my friends sent me videos of random uncles on the streets doing cool stunts which captured my attention. Originally, I thought TikTok was just like Musical.ly where people posted lip-syncing videos and viral dance moves only. I felt that people who used TikTok were mainly attention-seeking people.
I downloaded TikTok after hearing about how amazing the TikTok algorithm is over a podcast. It’s able to curate a feed on the fly based on your interactions such as liking and sharing videos in the app. Also, I lowkey wanted to “keep up with the times” since it’s popular now.
I watch a lot of life hacks on TikTok, using the app around twice a week. As my boyfriend rented a claw machine, I mainly post content related to claw machines on TikTok to promote it.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “If you know the motion of swiping, you will know how to watch TikTok. There’s no harm in trying to create videos on TikTok.”
— Hee Ling Yi, 25
6. “My music playlist expanded by 3 pages and I have 7 new food spots to try out”
Iqmall’s liked TikToks
“TikTok is the new meme currency. I [originally] thought TikTok was just kids dancing and I wouldn’t want to be caught dead watching stuff like that. Since there wasn’t anything for me on the app, I never hopped on.
I first got alluded to the brilliance of TikTok on Twitter, then Youtube compilations. I realised there’s a lot of good content that are short and informative, [thus] I downloaded the app to get stuff fed to me through the algorithm. As I was always on the receiving end when my friends sent me TikToks, I wanted to share videos I found funny too.
Ever since I downloaded TikTok, my [music] playlist expanded by 3 pages, I have 7 [new] food spots to try out and saved a bunch of graphic design tutorials. I haven’t ventured into the hashtags— I’m a #FYP main for now. I guess the speed of the videos makes them so addictive. If I hate something, [I just] swipe up. I can consume a lot quickly and get to the good stuff ASAP.
I use it for an hour most nights. I’ve also started repurposing my Instagram Stories onto my TikTok.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “You’ve got to keep stuff open to see more weird and funny stuff. Trust me when I say that there’s something for anyone on it.”
— Iqmall Hayat, 28
7. “You can just use it to destress by watching videos that make you happy”
“I initially thought that people using TikTok were attention-seekers that used their appearances to get views.
My boyfriend loves sending me cute TikToks of dogs and cats which got a little hard to watch on Whatsapp, so I decided to just download the app to exchange videos more easily. Since then, I love watching videos of cute pets, cooking and cake decorating videos. I use TikTok daily now, though I’m not proud to admit, but it is addictive once you watch stuff you like.
I post time lapses of my cake decorating progress on TikTok. I just wanted to test the audience on a different platform besides Instagram and Facebook. I think [TikTok] is a great platform to share fun and informative videos on how to do things, as I actually learnt a few things from TikTok that apply to real life.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “There is a huge range of different videos that will appeal to anyone on the app. You might actually learn something interesting, or [you can] just use it to destress by watching videos that make you happy.”
— Laura Martens, 25
8. “It’s better than Pinterest or Youtube for inspiration if you know how to use it”
“Initially, I thought TikTok was just for memes, but I steered clear [after seeing] XMM dances. However, I got back in and tailored the algorithm to get content I actually love.
I love watching comedy, anime, fashion and video editing inspirations, as well as relatable content. I used to watch TikTok daily, but now it’s around thrice a week on average. I usually post trends on TikTok too. TikTok feels like a short form of YouTube, [except] you need to go through the initial process of tailoring the algorithm.”
Advice to millennials who want to use TikTok: “Stop judging a book by it’s cover. Tailor the algorithm and you’ll get awesome content. It’s better than Pinterest or Youtube for inspiration if you know how to use it.”
— Justin Oh, 25
These Millennials Show Us That TikTok Can Be A Fun App For Anybody
Keeping up with the latest trends doesn’t necessarily have an age limit. Though these millennials had their doubts, they’ve shown us that we shouldn’t be afraid to try new things and do whatever we enjoy doing. There’s no need to put a label on things according to the generation.
All images courtesy of interviewees.
Responses have been edited for grammar and clarity.