Updated: Aug 16
Now that suddenly Tiktok is on the news with the whole Donald Trump vs Tiktok debate, let me take the moment to identify why ‘poors’ love Tiktok. Read on…
Rinku is a rustic girl. She lives in the remote village of Bankura, West Bengal. Pawan lives many miles apart from her in a nondescript village of Amroha. But these two are connected via Tik Tok — they sing duets, they reenact movie sequences — thanks to the split screen option.
Like them, thousands of non-urban folks use TikTok daily. Like facebook, it has become one of the must have apps in their phones. The numbers of Tiktok downloads and Tiktok logins have been increasing day by day. They recite shayaris, mouth the dialogues once said by the Big B or Srk. They even perform stunts! Girls buy clothes keeping in mind how they would look on Tiktok wearing them. The weird hairstyles of boys, their jeans — are also decided keeping in view what works best on Tiktok.
If you give a cursory glance, you will not find much difference between the models of youtube and TikTok. However the two differ from each other in subtle ways –
Patchy Walls, Tin Shade : People Are Not Ashamed To Reveal Them
Most Youtubers tend to showcase that they are living a shiny, hip and happening lifestyle. Notice the tech youtubers who sit inside a room talking about gadgets and bleeding edge tech. What you will notice is a nicely organised background scene. Behind them, you will notice how they never forget to place their Silver or Gold Play Button Award on a luxurious rack attached to sumptuously painted wall. Those who go outside for food reviews and sorts, wear clothes that even Michael Jackson didn’t possess. In short, richness, luxury, shine, polish — are the keywords when it comes to Youtube or Vimeo.
Now, download the Tiktok app — or for that matter — any such apps like Live me or Bgo Live. Before opening the app, just think for once — why haven’t you downloaded the app till this time? Is it because you don’t like these videos? Or is it because there is already an image in the media(thanks to Carry Minati) that these apps cater to the people of lower economic strata?
Anyway, when you open the Tiktok app or Live Me app, what you will see is people dancing on Bhojpuri songs or songs of the 90s. They do not hide their Kachcha house, the patchy or uncemented walls. And they also get likes! They do not wear high end cloths — tight fitting shirts, jeans, salwar kameez or even nighty — they are comfortable in everything. This, in a sense, is the USP of titok videos.
English — Not Needed –
These Rinkus and Pawans of Tik Tok mouth dialogues from Hindi/ regional movies, sing vernacular songs. They do not need to speak in English to get likes. Their version of coolness is different from ‘our’ version of coolness. They are not ashamed of their lack of spoken English skills — and rightly so. These boys and girls have accepted their desi image without any regret whatsoever.
Unabashed Show Of Poverty
Thatched roof, a rickshaw in the house suggesting the profession, dirty sarees — these are all displayed in the videos in Tik Tok or other such services. The boys and girls never use any screen to hide these symbols of poverty. Sometimes these symbols of povery become their props! One couple used a rickshaw to enact the spread-hands scene of Titanic! Good or bad — you decide. As far as I am concerned — these people have realized that they are not coming out of their poverty. So why hide them? This nonchalance, ofcourse, is obstructing their willingness to bounce back. However, at the same time, they do not forget to smile. So who am I to complain?
Make Up ? No Thanks
The girls in these videos are comfortable in their bare minimum make ups. They are well aware of their chapped lips, dry skin and lifeless hair — but who cares? They enjoy making videos and the boys enjoy watching them. Ofcourse there are exceptions too.
Vent For The Bobs And Vagene Brigade –
A few years earlier, India earned a bad reputation because of the comments of frustrated men speaking things from the dark corners of their hearts. Sexuality is always present in many of the videos on platforms like Tik Tok. Girls purposely show a little bit of their cleavage, puff up certain parts of their body to gain more likes and appreciation. Resultantly the comment auto-scrolled chat list is filled with comments from the unfortunate, sexually frustrated men. Some say nice cleavage, some much more hardcore things. What happened, as a result, is platforms like facebook or twitter are now polluted by harmless romantic fellows only. Most of the frustrated fellows have turned their attention to vloggers.
Class Distinction Digitised ?
While these people are happy in making videos, voicing their opinions — which otherwise remain unheard and showcasing their unfiltered talent, the urban folks maintain a kind of distance from these platforms. Are we seeing a digital form of class distinction? If the above comment paints a bleak picture, there are reasons to cheer too. For a long time, the village folks, the people who cannot construct words properly have been ignored in the world wide web. These platforms are giving them a chance to voice their thoughts, spread their ideas and become small scale celebs. However, there are things to worry about. Tik Tok is becoming mainstream only after roping in the Bollywood celebrities and gaining a good amount of urban vloggers. Maybe, the fact that they are enticing people with earning opportunities is attracting urban gig-lovers too. The end result — the unpolished, desi people are gradually becoming side lined. With all the evils, platforms like Tik Tok, Liveme etc are providing voice to the downtrodden masses. Suddenly, they are no more invisible men.
Note — This is not a promotion of Tiktok. To know why you should not use Tiktok watch this video by Dhruv Rathee.
I am a content writer. I published this article first on my blog which you will find here — https://dilsedigital.wordpress.com/2020/03/30/75/ . For any content writing job, call me on — 8334894803. Indian clients only.