By Mark Kawalya
It is surprising how TikTok has taken the world by storm. I use the word surprising here because the social media space is impregnable with giants like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter holding the market in a vice-like grip. These are the tech behemoths that hold the entire world captive as the go-to sources for information, communication, selling and entertainment. Expecting to compete with these giants for part of the lion’s share of subscribers is foolhardy at best but the dangers of concentrated ownership were amply demonstrated by the recent outage when Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were concurrently offline for several hours.
But TikToks success remains dumbfounding. Filled with short entertaining videos of people dancing, lip-syncing and performing comedy skits, it is hard not to fall in love with the application.
The Chinese-born application is all the rage in Kenya right now. Many of the youth in the country are utilizing the application to showcase their passions and talents in ways that have made them money and catapulted them into stardom.
Azziad Nasenya was just a regular little known young woman when a video of her dancing on TikTok went viral throwing. She was thrown into the throngs of mainstream social media influencing. Known as the queen of TikTok, she currently has more than 1.3 Million followers making her one of the most followed personalities on TikTok in the country. She charges companies about $1,000 for every post she makes on her TikTok account to advertise their products and services. She has partnered with brands like Phillips, Bic and Cortex just to mention a few.
The application which is more popular with the younger people is being used to usher individuals into various levels of success in their craft. Makeup artists, dancers, chefs and comedians are experiencing breakthroughs by presenting their creativity on the video-sharing application.
What is interesting is that even professionals that are already established are turning to the platform to increase the mileage of their trades.
Juliet Kane, a 24-year-old lawyer joined TikTok eight months ago and uses the platform to show off her culinary skills. She has got over 200,000 likes and clients which has helped her find a good level of financial stability. She has also seen her online subscriber base grow significantly while providing an outlet for her creative personality.
What is true is that many African young people have realized that social media holds tremendous power as a source of livelihood and a means to attaining many of the goals that formal employment would give them.