TikTok: A Hit Piece

Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash

If there’s one thing that probably unites most young adults/teens in the West, it’s staying up WAY past our bedtimes scrolling through that cursed app, TikTok.

I’ve talked about the most downloaded app in 2021 before, and I’ve never had positive things to say. It’s a serial time-killer, consisting of (mostly) mind-numbing content, and offers no way to really control what you see. It is literally built to be addictive, think vapes, and because the average video on the app is about 15 seconds, it’s also destroying everyone’s attention spans.

Don’t get me wrong, the “monkey likes instant gratification” side of my brain LOVES TikTok. And, to be completely fair, it does host some pretty funny creators, who push out actually funny/meaningful content.

The problem is this: no matter how many high-quality videos you might come across, they’re going to be surrounded by a bunch of low-quality, trashy videos. But here’s the twist, you’ll still watch a lot of those bad TikToks. Why? Because they only last a few seconds, and even with the lack of real value, they’ll give you just enough of a dopamine release to keep that ole’ monkey brain engaged.

And the worst part? When you actually get to the videos that have some actual worth, they probably won’t give you the same quick dopamine hit that your previous scrolling provided you, making you much less likely to pay attention.

These 15 second videos aren’t just ruining the little quality on TikTok, it’s affecting our lives outside of the app. At least, it did mine.

Honesty time: I recently re-downloaded the app, it’s real addictive.

Two weeks later, I re-deleted it off my phone.

There’s a lot behind my decision to get rid of TikTok again, but one of the biggest reasons was that I was starting to notice that my attention span was dramatically shortening in real life. I was zoning out of conversations, never finishing youtube videos, and hadn’t touched a book since that little note icon appeared on my phone’s home screen.

That’s not good. Patience is a virtue, but I was treating it like a curse.

It’s almost funny, as soon as I didn’t have that addiction ruling my time, I immediately started reading again, I was way more present in conversation, and I was much more mentally engaged in the content I was consuming. Sure, it’s taking some effort to build back up patience, but all good things take work.

In a lot of ways, TikTok is a perfect storm. It’s quite literally built to suck all your time away, and the way it does that is not only addictive, but attention-span shortening. It has its upsides, sure, but the fem gems are far outweighed by the drivel, and anything that can addict you that easily is something you shouldn’t even touch with a ten-foot stick.

I’ll be real, I’m the type of person who gets addicted to things fast and hard. When I find something that I like, especially if it’s easy to do, you’ll catch me planning the rest of my life around it.

While that’s not good no matter what, that level of fixation around an app that’s already damaging in so many ways spells disaster.

I know for a fact that I am much better off having removed TikTok from my life. And maybe that’ll be the case for you. I’d encourage anyone reading this who uses the app regularly to consider deleting it off your phone, at least for a week, just to see how it feels.

And as always my friends, Choose Joy.

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A curious and adventurous mind, always ready to push boundaries and forge the new trail.

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Ben Schoel

Ben Schoel

A curious and adventurous mind, always ready to push boundaries and forge the new trail.

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