TikTok 101: The lure of short-form content

Photo: Nina Müller

by Susan Mae Loseo

              Hopping on board the TikTok train hasn’t gone out of style.

              At least, not yet.

              Last year, at the height of the pandemic, people claimed their tickets to what is currently the fastest growing social media app — TikTok, with millions of users across the world.

              TikTok, formerly known as Musical.ly is a video-sharing platform that allows users to create, like, and share short-form content. From dance challenges, music trends, lip-synch videos, comedy skits, product advertisements, healthy recipes, makeup tutorials, and educational content, TikTok is arguably the best place to be.


              Getting into TikTok is as easy as it sounds. You can download the app for free on Google Playstore or Apple AppStore and set up your own private or public account. Like many social media platforms and apps, it uses a recommendation algorithm that curates your feed based on preferences, engagement, and activities.

              Of course, generating content is at TikTok’s core. You can record a 15-second, 60-second or 3-minute video with special effects, filters, transitions, and music from its audio library and edit it using different tools in its menu. Finally, you can post your video, download it, and share it across social media platforms. Adding hashtags to your video also helps users to find it under specific categories.

              Exploring TikTok doesn’t stop there. On its homepage or For You page, you can follow other content creators, like, react, comment, stitch, duet, save, and share their videos, too. The app also allows creators to do a livestream, enabling their followers to interact with them in real-time. The popularity of short-form videos on TikTok relies on audience engagement and entertainment value. The more people who engage with your content, the wider your reach can be.

              More than just a video-sharing app, TikTok has paved the way for brands to enhance their creative strategies by incorporating short-form content, hashtags, and challenges into their campaigns and collaborating with famous TikTok content creators. Here in the Philippines, some of the successful brand campaigns include Globe’s #CreateWithLove challenge, Ambi Pur’s #SprayTheGermsAway dance challenge, Lysol’s #DisinfectToProtect challenge, Alaxan FR’s #TaposAngLaban, Oppo’s #PictureLifeTogether, Jollibee’s #JolliBeatShowdown, Head and Shoulders’ #ItchNotYou, and Whisper’s #HingaLangGirl.


              It is common among TikTok users to spend much more time on the app than intended. Short-form videos lead to a time-consuming binge spree that sends anyone down the TikTok rabbit hole.

              Whether it’s fashion, dance, music, health or just pure entertainment, here are some of the stan-worthy TikTokers whose content you can’t miss:

Top to bottom, from left: Bretman Rock, Niana Guerrero; Maris Racal, Miko Manguba, Inka Magnaye, Antonio Parlati; Plastique Tiara, Jacob Collier, Sara Echeagaray, Bearenger

Bretman Rock (@bretmanrock)

              With over 12 million followers, Bretman Rock continues to inspire and entertain men, women, and queers alike through his vibrant personality, hilarious challenges, intense workout routines, and unmatched humor.

Niana Guerrero (@nianaguerrero)

              In 2020, Niana Guerrero was named as the most followed TikTok star in the Philippines and currently, she has over 25 million followers. She is known for her dance covers, freestyles, and initiator of several popular dance challenges, including her #BootyWurkChallenge which garnered over 43 million views on the app.

Maris Racal (@missmariestella)

              With her sweet voice, quick wit, fashion sense, and funny videos that mostly go viral, Maris Racal gained 4.5 million followers. She is also known for producing meme-able worthy content that her followers can often relate with.

Miko Manguba (@jmko_music)

              Miko Manguba is known for his song covers, popcorn duet challenges, creative musical talent and original music that attracted over 2 million followers.

Inka Magnaye (@inkamagnaye)

              Inka Magnaye is a voice over artist who garnered over 1.7 million followers on TikTok for her voice over challenges, duets, ASMR content, and POV acting videos. She rose to fame after being discovered as the voice for Philippine Airlines’ safety announcements.

Plastique Tiara (@plastique_tiara)

              Plastique Tiara is a drag queen and former contestant of Rupaul’s Drag Race. Her seamless transformation videos, impeccable style and glamorous drag aesthetic earned her over 6.9 million followers.

Antonio Parlati (@antonioparlati)

              With over 2.9 million followers, Antonio Parlati is known for his English lessons on TikTok, explaining grammar, expanding vocabulary, and initiating pronunciation challenges.

Jacob Collier (@jacobcollier)

              Jacob Collier amassed over 400 thousand followers for his split-screen song covers incorporating extreme reharmonization, duet challenges, musical experimentation.

Sara Echeagaray (@saraecheagaray)

              Sara Echeagaray is best known for her one-woman-show comedy skits, lip-sync videos, fashion tips, and her excellent acting skills that attracted 6 million followers.

Bearenger (@bearenger)

              Bearenger is a health and wellness content creator who shares healthy recipes for a great lifestyle including green smoothies, nourish bowls, plant-based pizza, and vegan cookies to her 1.4 million followers.

              The future of TikTok as a social media platform offers limitless opportunities for content creators, businesses, users, and even government institutions. Its unparalleled growth increases its impact on social trends, our lifestyles, needs, and perhaps even our political systems. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware and stay aware of our online engagements, making sure we think before we click. And if you’re not already on the TikTok train, think before you jump in.


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