Marie Claire Australia|June 2020
Dressed neatly in a plain white T-shirt and wrap skirt, Melanie Greenwood props her phone on the windowsill in the hallway of her home in Holland Park West, Brisbane, and presses record. Joined by her 14-year-old niece, Macey, she starts bopping about to techno beats, giggling through a short choreographed dance routine. The performance is far from perfect, and at one point Melanie’s husband walks into the shot looking baffled.
Afterwards, the 36-year-old mum-of-two posts the video on TikTok without much thought – she’s recently joined the app at the insistence of her social-media-obsessed niece.
Fast forward 24 hours and the clip has been watched by more than two million users worldwide. Two days later, it jumps to five million views.
That was in December 2019, and today the video stands at more than nine million views. “It increases every few days,” says Melanie, a former beauty salon owner who goes by the handle @melgreenwoodbeauty83. “I still don’t know why it went viral.”
For the uninitiated, TikTok is the latest social media app to take grip. Created in 2017 by Chinese company ByteDance, it’s the fastest-growing video-sharing platform in the world. Last year it was the second most downloaded app globally. It now has almost 2 billion users in 154 countries.
First in, best dressed were, quite naturally, tech-native teens and tweens. After all, TikTok offers micro-doses of entertainment – users create and share videos that last just 15 seconds – perfect for attention-deficit gen-Zers. It also trades largely on participation. TikTok users challenge each other with dance routines or lip-syncing over sound bites. It might be some hip-dipping choreography to a retro Mariah Carey track (which gets particularly meta when Mariah joins the challenge); acting out a sequence of emojis with one’s hands; or highkicking a cap offa drink bottle. Each challenge rises seemingly from nowhere, then sweeps through the app like wildfire before vanishing.
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