Okay so why the hell is TikTok actually called TikTok?!

Very sad that it has nothing to do with the Kesha song


Over the past two years, TikTok has become a juggernaut in our lives whether we like it or not. Like many, I held off from downloading for so long, writing it off as an app for 13 year olds doing dance trends. When I got it, it was to watch ironically with some smug arrogance that I was above it – but like most, I spend at least an hour of my day these days scrolling my FYP and don’t know what I’d do without TikTok in my life. And it got me wondering, I have literally no clue what the meaning of the name TikTok actually is?

Only real ones remember Musical.ly

Before TikTok got bought and renamed, it was known as Musical.ly. Back in 2018, the Chinese app and company Douyin made an acquisition of Musical.ly, and rebranded the app to TikTok. In China, TikTok does not exist, and they all use Douyin instead. Douyin is only available in China, but it is mostly the exact same format and experience but with different content.

Literally translated, the meaning of Douyin is “shaking sound”, which has evolved internationally into the much catchier name of TikTok. TikTok is called TikTok to represent the short, snappy videos that the platform is for. Like Vine before it, TikTok is about being as creative as you can be in a limited timeframe, and the name was chosen to reflect that. No reference at all to Kesha’s debut single, which is a real shame.

Musical.ly was never the cultural juggernaut that TikTok is, but before they made the acquisition Douyin never had the international reach. Now, TikTok rules the social media world with young people and is outrageously influential on the music and television industry – showing no signs of stopping or slowing down.

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