The joy of ‘TikTok’­

Izah Azahari

With everything that’s going on globally, everyone is finding different ways to cope with having to stay at home.

As I scroll through my social media feed, I have seen a huge increase in people uploading entertaining short videos they’ve made via TikTok – a social media app that allows people to make short videos. Curious about it, I took the opportunity to seek out a number of people who have become avid users of the application.

TikTok has been gaining a lot of traction from its users globally over the recent years, and with a mission to inspire creativity and bring joy in those watching or making ‘TikToks’, the application has become one of the leading destinations for short-form mobile video.

When you first go onto the application, you can watch videos made by people from all over the world, and people in Brunei are far from being left behind in exploring their own creativity making funny yet inspiring videos that can spark a huge following – one of whom is my fellow Borneo Bulletin reporter, Wani Roslan.

Previously known as ‘Musica.ly’, Wani started using the app in 2016 prior to merging to TikTok in 2018, having found out about it through Facebook. She became instantly attracted to it, but only began making short videos of her own in 2018.

“I saw many creative short videos, mostly done by Asians from Korea, Japan and China. Some were hilarious while others were more on the creative side. These led me to try and create my own video.” She began with ones that were lip-syncing, and that got her inspired to create more videos that involved action, transitions and dancing.

“Once people dive into the world of TikTok they would be amazed with the content that TikTok users – better known as ‘TikTokers’, have.”

Wani said the plus side of TikTok is the ability to watch videos by other users around the world without having to follow them, and because it contains an array of sounds, visual effects, music, unique camera features and an ease of editing, it adds to the appeal and offers more possibilities for users to show their creativity.

With the current situation of having to stay at home or self-isolate, although there are different ways for people to cope, Wani said some might use the app to keep them occupied, which has helped her. “I believe that the app has enabled me to share my passion and creative expression through videos, and sometimes I like including my husband and children as well for the fun of it.”

Meanwhile, local Radio DJ, Professional Magician and Fitness Trainer Nadzri Harif said that he’s seen TikTok all over social media for a while now, adding that it was daunting for him at first to sign up to yet another social media platform.

However, he said that the fun in seeing different challenges people do with different editing tricks and styles became a great experience for him. “I’ve been using the app for about one or two months.” Nadzri said to prepare oneself to jump deep into the rabbit hole as TikTok specialises in bite-sized chunks of entertainment hat. It is easy to get lost in through endless scrolling. “I am guilty of just watching video after video,” said Nadzri. “Upon joining, I was shocked to see how many Bruneians were on it and how creative they were!”

While you can shoot, edit, add filters and effects as well as texts, Nadzri said the videos can be as simple or as complicated as a person wants, as there are also a lot of users who specialise in teaching how to shoot and edit certain styles and effects. Amidst the current outbreak and answering the call to stay at home, the Radio DJ came up with the two-part ‘Nadzri’s Guide to Keeping Busy While Staying Home’ on his Instagram where he gives different ideas on how to cope while being stuck at home.

Among these ideas was recording a TikTok, and as some get a few thousand views for videos, the response have been varied. “I shot one with two of my cats – Murphy and Fluffy, and it’s gone crazy. It’s close to reaching one million views on the platform!” Nadzri exclaimed. “I’ve recently shown my 58-year-old mom some videos, and there is a plan to record videos with her, my sister Tasya, and my wife Tati, in the future.”

Nadzri thinks that, just like any other social media platform, TikTok can exercise creativity as he believes no one should be worried about sharing their ideas into the world.

“I’m also a firm believer of experimentation. Try out TikTok and who knows what skills you might unlock, or who you end up inspiring,” he added. Also part of the TikTok world is a user who goes by Ameish8 on the application and first saw people posting their videos on Instagram, where she found a number of them to be funny and entertaining and decided to download the app for the fun of it.

“My daughter watched it with me too and I guess she was inspired as she told me she wanted to do TikTok videos as well,” said Ameish8. “I thought it would be a fun activity for us.”

With all the videos on the application, Ameish8 said it helps to pass the time and also highlighted the aspect of losing track of time when you watch videos or when you make plenty of skits and decide which best to upload. “I can say that it’s a great distraction.”

Another user named Gee who goes by the account name Vredeierocis believes that the social media platform is a very different culture compared to Instagram and Facebook as it has more engagement due to the nature of its explore page called the ’For You Page’ (FYP) that gives most local creators a chance to appear on it.

“You also have to understand that if you wish to go public with your videos you have to be responsible and accept that you will receive all sorts of comments,” said Gee.

“I have a very strong preference, from the very beginning I opened my comment section, to ignore all of the bad comments and to try to never address them on my TikTok videos.”

Gee said that ever since the COVID-19 breakout in Brunei, she has cut herself off from Facebook and Instagram as it did not help ease her anxiety, especially when she kept seeing negative rants about the situation.

“TikTok weirdly gave me that escape from it since I felt that most of the creators focussed more on the positive aspects,” said Gee. “My nieces and nephews are active on TikTok and that is also one reason why I like to be on it.” She feels that the application has enabled her to stay updated with what her nieces and nephews do since they are practising social distancing for now and could not meet with the rest of the family members regularly.

Gee also feels that people should get into the social media platform, and while she has tried to convince some of her Instagram and ‘Facebook-Forever’ friends to try out TikTok, she personally and seriously does hope to see the community grow in Brunei.

Aside from inspiring creativity for the fun of it while everyone is stuck at home right now, there is inclusivity in the social media app regardless of which generation you’re from with very much relatable content which makes it even more interesting.