TikTok and LGBTQ+ Community
In the US, TikTok is the LGBTQ+ Community's platform of choice as it represents a safe space to express themselves with freedom. Live stream TikTok videos have become popular during the Coronavirus quarantine in this country. The platform's user base in the US is expected to continue growing by 2021. More information regarding TikTok in the US, as well as its usage by the LGBTQ+ Community, is provided below.
TikTok and the LGBTQ+ Community in the US
- Nearly 50% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old (Gen Z). Only 48% of this generation identifies as exclusively heterosexual, which means that a high percentage of GenZ belongs to the LGBTQ+ community.
- Some LGBTQ+ teens agree that TikTok's appeal relies on "how easy it is to go viral on it" as its For You page uses an algorithmic feed to show popular videos selected for each user according to who they follow and what videos they liked. The app's default feed is focused on discovery, which allows new content to go viral quickly.
- One way in which LGBTQ+ young people connect on TikTok is through challenges that feature popular songs. This is how Lil Nas X's single Old Town Road became popular as it was the soundtrack to the Yeehaw Challenge, which has over 127 million tags. Another example is the Lizzo Boys challenge, adaptable to the LGBTQ+ community, in which users come with "creative interpretations of all the different types of boys they like."
- TikTok LGBTQ+ communities are easy to form as liking or engaging with LGBTQ+ related videos or curated video playlists allows the LGBTQ+ content to appear on the For You page. This system makes it easy for people to find their own community and is also the reason why some users create "queer content" intentionally.
- Other LGBTQ+ community members in the US have not had the same good experience as others because they had received hateful comments on their posts or their posts have been banned by TikTok without an explanation. For example, Damien, a young gay trans man from New York, says that after posting a video describing how testosterone has affected his voice, he received several hateful comments and has also stated that TikTok removed some of its videos that are not violating any platform's rules, like sharing a short kiss with his boyfriend.
TikTok Live in the US
TikTok Increased its Live Streaming During US Coronavirus Quarantine
- Between March 23 and 27, the app released the program #HappyAtHome, which features live videos from celebrities to entertain users in quarantine. Short videos with this hashtag have received around 5 billion views. The program has a weekly schedule for different types of content: Motivation Monday, Kick Back Tuesday, Show and Tell Wednesday, EduTok Thursday, and Soundcheck Friday.
- During the COVID-19 outbreak, TikTok has experienced a rise in live stream beauty content. For example, TikTok influencers Adam Ray, Loren Gray, and Jackie Aina have posted live videos that included informative content such as makeup tutorials. These videos also included the hashtag #HappyAtHome.
- In April, TikTok hosted a week-long virtual prom for teens in quarantine featuring night live events with the hashtag #TikTokProm. Content included DIY prom fashions, beauty tips, choreographed dances, and DJ sets.
- TikTok has also launched its #OneCommunity live stream series, which features live videos from celebrities like Steve Aoki, Wayne Brady, Camila Cabello, and Kristin Chenoweth that aim to collect user donations for entertainment, food, and healthcare organizations affected by COVID-19. TikTok will match the donations up to $10 million through its Donation Stickers.
- Alongside LiveXLive, TikTok recently launched a 48-hour digital music live festival featuring 35 musicians performing from their houses.
TikTok Has Made Partnerships to Host Live Stream Events
- At the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, TikTok partnered with Marvel to TikTok to release a live stream of Marvel's booth at the event. The live stream showcased costumes and superhero games. TikTok also helped to host the Marvel Becoming Cosplay Competition and showed different happenings at Comic-Con.
- During the 2020 Super Bowl, through a partnership with the National Football League (NFL), TikTok users were encouraged to join challenges with live videos using #TouchdownCelebration and #SuperBowlLIV.
- TikTok has also hosted a live stream event of the abstract artist Callen Schaub. The event featured the artist painting surfboards.
- The platform also partnered with iHeart Radio to host exclusive live stream content from the red carpet of the iHeart Radio Music Awards.
US TikTok Users Are Making Money Through Live Stream Videos
- TikTok does not pay video creators. Brands pay TikTok video creators when they do live streams. This is the reason why many young creators go live on TikTok to make a profit.
- Gianna Wieczorek, from Illinois State University, posts at least one live stream each week. The student gets to work with brands like Curology and Ivory Ella.
- Dustin Bryant, a teenage boy from Ashland, has gain popularity from his TikTok videos. According to him, from a two-hour live stream where he just sits and talks to his fans, he can earn between $150 to $200 with fans' "gifts" that are transformed into money and redeemed through PayPal.
- Other teenagers like Josh Richards and Jaden Hossler, who have 11.4 million and 3.7 million followers on TikTok respectively, post videos "goofing around with the boys and making jokes." Hossler and Richards now live in L.A. away from their parents with other TikTok creators. They started making money by going live on the platform and receiving "gifts" from fans.
TikTok in the US
- In 2019, TikTok's user base in the US grew by 97.5% and it is expected to grow by 21.9% in 2020 to 45.4 million people and to surpass 50 million users by 2021. However, in 2022 this growth rate will slow to single digits as the app is expected to become saturated with younger users.
- In November 2018, TikTok had 20 million active users per month in the US and is now considered to have about 65 million. It is predicted that in 2020 about 21.6% of US social media users will use TikTok at least once a month. Approximately "26.5 out of the 500 million monthly active users" worldwide are from the US.
- As of April 2020, TikTok has been downloaded over 165 million times in the US. In November 2019, the platform was the second most downloaded app in the US with 4 million downloads.
- From the total monthly active users in the US, 60% are female and 40% are male. About 60% of users are between 16 and 24 years old, 26% are between 25 and 44, and 80% are between 16 and 34.
- In the third quarter of 2018, the number of US adults using TikTok has been increasing to reach 14.3 million. This number represents a 5.5 times growth from 2.6 million users at the end of 2017.
- The platform has experienced "a substantial boost" during the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, adding over 12 million unique visitors in March to reach 52.2 million. "Between January and March," the number of unique visitors increased by 48.3%.
- TikTok visitors in the US spent an average of 858 minutes on it in March 2020, representing a 26.2% increase over January 2020 and a 93.7% increase since October 2019. This growth is driven by the amount of time people are spending at home, the large distribution of TikTok videos, and the use of live streaming.