It’s digital crack cocaine for kids
TikTok is quickly becoming the most destructive social media platform that has ever existed:
The interface is explicitly designed to hijack and shorten attention spans and dopamine receptors.
TikTok shares your data more than any other social media app.
And, on a personal note, seeing the endless stream of dancing teenagers on my little glowing box makes me feel like I’m a background character in Blade Runner.
What MTV, Hollywood, and Warner Music tried to do over two decades of internet marketing TikTok was able to do in one year. TikTok has taken final control of the two-thirds of society that Aldous Huxley said were susceptible to hypnosis, and has put them into a state of psychosis.
Millions of people, mostly kids, are now addicted to learning a new dance, a new lip-sync, a new prank; and those who do best at dramatizing this fervent, collective improvisation are rewarded with likes, comments, and shares.
TikTok is the perfect social media app. Here’s what that means for society.
The Commercial Magnifying Glass
TikTok was the moment I realized my generation’s time was over and that the teenage Zoomers were now the target.
“Enjoy your time under the commercial magnifying glass,” I thought as I saw my 14-year-old sister on the app.
What I mean by this is that your every move, gesture, and thought is being bought and sold by TikTok. Data is the new oil. And if you tell someone about this they’ll flippantly tell you “yeah they collect data but who cares, I got nothing to hide.”
It’s pretty much the start of a George Orwell book. If you don’t believe me, look up Big Brother Award winners and see if TikTok is on the list.
According to a study by mobile marketing company URL Genius, TikTok shares your data more than any other social media app — and it’s unclear where it goes. Moreover, because TikTok uses third-party trackers, they can track your activity on other sites even after you leave the app.
“Consumers are currently unable to see what data is shared with third-party networks, or how their data will be used.” — URL Genius
What makes this worse is that 32.5% of Tiktok’s users are between the ages of 10 to 19 and 29.5% of them are between the ages of 20 to 29.
TikTok is the greatest digital marketing opportunity in history and they are going to use it to sell you things, track your every move, and control your thoughts. And if you ask any of its users what they think about that they will tell you “I don’t care, I just want to get famous.”
TikTok is a Mental Illness Factory
TikTok is digital crack cocaine with an absurd effect on dopamine and the human brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It’s like a switch that tells your brain “hey this feels good, do it again.”
In a Forbes article, Dr. Julie Albright, a sociologist specializing in digital culture and communication, mentioned that TikTok users find themselves “in this pleasurable dopamine state, carried away. It’s almost hypnotic, you’ll keep watching and watching.”
TikTok is a constant state of dopamine overload. Ironically enough I saw a guy on TikTok explain recently why he couldn’t get into books, because they were slow and boring.
Why Didn’t the US Ban Tiktok?
When Biden and Trump both agree on something, you know it’s bad. And they both agree that TikTok is not only a national security risk but also a danger to the mental health of children.
TikTok is owned and operated by the Communist Party of China, but that’s not the only problematic feature of the platform:
There’s borderline child porn on TikTok
It’s unsafe for children and even violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
And its Chinese spyware to top it off
I’m not much of a Trump supporter but man, I was actually happy to hear he wanted TikTok regulated and was disappointed when it failed.
Maybe banning it outright is too much, after all, full-on internet censorship is very minimal in the world outside of China. But the US should at least do more to regulate TikTok.
If we want a high-quality future, we must reject a low-quality present.
YouTube Vs. TikTok
When I wrote about the “death of YouTube” many people got mad at me.
They especially didn’t like the part when I said TikTok was the first platform to really challenge YouTube’s dominance.
But it’s true. TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform in the world. In just three years the Chinese social media app has amassed over 1 billion active users; and in the first quarter of 2020, TikTok generated the highest download for any app ever in a single quarter.
This doesn’t mean I have to like it, but in many ways, TikTok is the perfect social media app. It’s short, sweet, and to the point.
Can you believe they had a YouTube vs TikTok boxing match? We are doomed as a species.
People whose content I like to watch post it on YouTube. That’s why I use it. That’s why you use it. But for a new generation of users, that’s not enough. They want something easier, faster, and more addictive.
What really frustrates me is the impact TikTok has had on the other social media platforms. Now YouTube is to copying TikTok to compete with it.
It’s all about how much short, addictive content they can pump out.
And hey, I’ll fully admit that maybe I’m on the wrong side of TikTok. A friend of mine recently told me it’s not all bad and his feed is full of videos about food, cute animals, book recommendations, and hot lesbians.
To each his own.
TikTok Brings Out The Worst in Us
If the Ancient Greeks believed that wisdom comes from knowing yourself, then TikTok is the opposite of that.
It’s a platform that encourages people to be someone they’re not. It’s like a never-ending costume party where everyone is trying to one-up each other.
It does not mean that Gen Z is doomed.
They could be the saviors of the world for all I know.
But I can’t shake the feeling that TikTok is a huge step towards Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy,” where the average person is an unthinking, pleasure-seeking moron.