While Snapchat may still seem like an alien platform to many people 20 years and older, another application has emerged to quietly capture Generation Z’s attention.
Musical.ly or “Musically” is a lip-sync app that enables users to make instant music videos to their favorite songs. Furthermore, this simple function is combined with a social media interface that features challenges and other forms of digital interaction between users and their networks.
As a tech trend, there are some hallmark characteristics of Musical.ly as Generation Z technology, including instant video generation, non-text base-functionality, and a certain soapbox-like quality that allows users to broadcast themselves prominently.
The vast majority of its user base is young, including the likes of 15 year-old Baby Ariel, whose channel on the application attracted 8 million followers, subsequently propelling her to a degree of stardom.
But, like many other digital trends popular with youth, there are privacy concerns. Already, schools have considered banning the application as it encourages students to replicate arguably inappropriate behavior or repeat offensive lyrics. Perhaps more threatening is the prospect of online stalkers, who have already begun taking advantage of the app by following and harassing young women.
As one online crimes officer in Ohio explains:
We’re getting complaints now that kids are going, ‘hey somebody is talking nasty to me about my video,’ and their intent is just to show and try to be the next pop queen or pop star.
Meaningful tech solutions that prohibit such abuse are necessary. But with greater protections in place, there certainly is nothing wrong with a fun app that helps Generation Z reframe the question: what does musically inclined mean?