If you’ve been an adult for more than handful of years, you can clearly remember a media landscape in which TikTok didn’t exist. And it can’t seem like that long ago, because it wasn’t. We all know the digital age moves at light speed, what’s popular today will be yesterday’s news soon enough, yada yada yada.
But TikTok has taken that dizzying speed to an entirely new level. Especially if you’re a parent, forgive yourself if you’re still stunned at how TikTok went from zero to everything in little more than 18 months. Charli D’Amelio is the reigning monarch of TikTok with over 100 million followers and over 7 billion likes on her videos, and enjoys greater name recognition with people under 21 than George Washington and Albert Einstein (ok so I’m exaggerating…maybe). And she’s 16 years old.
How did it all happen so fast? (We find ourselves asking that question about a LOT of things these days, actually, but none so much at TikTok). This Atlantic piece does a great job of giving the lay of the land to those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet days.