The Youth Lab


This 52INSIGHTS delves into the world of social media platform TikTok. It is brought to you by Katie, a 16year-old student and TikTok user, part of Thinkhouse’s Love Network, who is based in Dublin and London.


TikTok is my generation’s new favourite social media application. TikTok has blown up in the past couple of years. In 2018, TikTok had 500 million users, currently in 2019 TikTok has 1 billion users worldwide. One of the leading reasons for TikTok’s popularity is the app’s wide availability. TikTok is now available in 75 different languages and 154 countries.

I asked my good friend Sara who is a frequent TikTok user why she enjoys the app so much:

“I think it’s just a lot of fun, Making them with your friends and learning dances is a lot of fun. I am not gonna lie! And Tik Toks are so funny, like some people are so creative. I don’t know how they come up with ideas that are just that funny” -Sara, 15 years old

I was frequently told by fellow young people they love the app so much because of how fun it is to create videos, lip sync and dance with friends. There is also an undeniable urge for TikTok users to see one of their own videos go viral. On TikTok there is a page called ‘The for you page’ - if you’re one of the lucky ones who randomly gets their TikTok selected for ‘the for you page’ it has a major possibility of going viral. The ‘for you page’ is a recommendations page of popular TikToks that are suggestions for each user to watch while they’re on the app. TikTok users want to go viral, as TikTok is responsible for the fame of internet stars Jacob Sartorius, Baby Ariel and Loren Gray.


Currently in TikTok culture there are some exciting new trends. These include the new TikTok slang. TikTok users have created stereotypes for girls and boys who use TikTok, these include:

  • vsco girls - a vsco girl is a stereotypical teenage girl who wears scrunchies, shell chokers, birkenstocks sandals, oversized t-shirts, owns a hydroflask and most importantly drinks with metal straws. She drinks with metal straws to “save the turtles.”
  • e girls & e boys - the e in e boy/girl originates from the word emo. If you’re an e boy/girl you wear layered t shirts, chains, beanies and tend to have an overall grunge look.
  • soft boys - these boys are known for their cute and wholesome look. They tend to wear vintage style oversized t-shirts and jumpers, white trainers or converse and blush on their cheeks and nose.
  • soft girls - Are known as cute as they wear Brandy Melville clothing (plaid skirts, crop tops, graphic t-shirts, mom jeans and pastel colours). Soft girls often paint clouds on their cheeks and wear lots of blush and highlighter.


Dancing and challenges are one of the main attractions of TikTok. This is most likely because dancing is the obvious thing to do when making videos to music. Being a TikTok-er myself, I agree with Sara that learning dances with your friends is such a fun activity, because when your dance is in sync and perfect it feels so rewarding.

I made a TikTok of my school friends and I dancing. Behind the scenes this took so long to make and to perfect!! It was a brilliant feeling when we all crowded around my phone and watched it back and saw that we were in sync. There’s nothing better.

  • Spooky season dance and makeup - Now that Halloween is just around the corner, many makeup artists and dancers are posting incredible makeup tutorials, for halloween inspiration many including special effects achieved by latex and colourful clown makeup. The now TikTok famous dancer Minecrafter2011 went viral for his ‘spooky season’ charleston like dance which many users are recreating to celebrate halloween. Minecrafter2011’s dance was to the song ‘spooky scary skeletons.’
  • LevelUp - LevelUp is a popular song by artist Ciara that went viral for its upbeat dance in which users count down with the lyrics “5...4...3...2...1”. At the climax the users squat and begin to move their arms in fast circular movements in time with the songs fast-paced lyrics.
  • Harvey bass dance - English 16-year-old, Harvey, went viral on TikTok for his dance to song ‘Git up’ by Blanco Brown, which got 76 million views on TikTok. Unfortunately, Harvey got suspended because his video was taken in his school. But millions of other people recreated this teenager’s iconic dance.


  • Olivia Neill - This 18-year-old Irish TikTok star from Belfast is one of my favourites. Olivia rose to TikTok fame due to her hilarious humour, shy dancing and indie singing. Olivia created a viral dance called ‘The shy dance’ that is extremely popular with teenagers. The shy dance involves covering your face with your elbows and shaking from side to side as if you’re ‘too shy’ to show your face.
  • Shauna Davitt - an Irish 18 year old from Wexford known by her fans as ‘Shauna the sheep’ has blown up on TikTok recently. She has 5 million hearts and almost 170k fans. Shauna’s TikToks are mainly comedic. Some of them got up to 1.5 million views! She makes funny videos struggles of teenagers. Shauna lives up to her username and also makes TikToks of sheep and her life living in the countryside of Wexford.
  • Jacob Donegan - an Irish 19 year old, otherwise known as itz_jacob_33 on Tik Tok, is a TikTok sensation, with almost 70 million likes and 900,000 fans. Jacob promotes self love and body positivity on his TikTok account. He is also an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community as Jacob is transgender. Jacobs fans are known as the JaCubs.
  • Jamie Corbett - is 21 years old and is from Canada. He is known by his fans as ‘JustJamie.’ Jamie has 110k fans and 1.2 million likes. I enjoy his TikToks because he is so funny and is a very good dancer. He is best known for his sassy and sarcastic humour. Jamie is already famous due to his instagram skits and youtube videos.
  • The Corner Lads - This group of boys from England otherwise known as Kieran, Emile, Liam, Jack, Phil, Aidin and Scott, went viral for their TikToks dancing around their school and neighborhood and performing stunts. They have 1.3 million fans and 23.9 million likes. Unfortunately due to some of the boys being 18 they have to post less frequently due to them being in university.


I never notice ads on TikTok, but I notice what my friends are wearing and using as props in their videos. If there was a challenge that was specific to a certain item or activity, that would be the best way for me to engage with a brand or business on the TikTok platform. In this way, we have seen brands such as HydroFlak, Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville, Supreme and Gucci have benefitted from receiving TikTok fame.

It’s all about fun and connecting with your friends, and I feel that if it began to become more commercial people wouldn’t like at is much because unlike Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook etc, TikTok is quite raw and authentic. Anything a brand can do to enable more fun and connection would be really cool. For example, helping teenagers like me to create our own TikToks eg. a space where we can go and film and hang out together.

See also

It's TikTok Time
It's TikTok Time

Short form video content seems to be taking over the world. At least, the online world of social media. Seventy eight percent of people watch...


“Those under the age of 25 [13-25] spend more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram, on average, while those age 25 and older spend...

Cyber Insecurity & Smartphone Addiction Therapy
Cyber Insecurity & Smartphone Addiction Therapy

“The smartphone’s position at the center of the mobile universe [remains unchanged]. The smartphone continues to reign supreme as consumers’ preferred device for most online...


Amidst the threatened breakups of tech monopolies and burgeoning trade wars, the Venn diagram intersects on the subject of privacy. It's a couple of weeks...


Remember the floss? The dab? The Drake-inspired In My Feelings Challenge? Well, there’s a new viral dance trend in town capturing the internet’s attention: the...