What makes TikTok tick?

Video app TikTok is wildly popular because it makes filming, editing and sharing videos easy, allowing anyone to be a creator

American rapper Montero Lamar Hill, also known as Lil Nas X, went from college dropout to breakout star in less than a year as his song Old Town Road went viral on the short-form video app TikTok.

The 20-year-old's part-country, part-rap single was the background track to a popular trend in which TikTok users filmed themselves transforming into flannel-clad, Stetson-donning cowboys and cowgirls after drinking from cups labelled "yee yee juice".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 29, 2019, with the headline 'What makes TikTok tick?'. Subscribe