The World Is Ending (and 4 Other Reasons to Join TikTok)
I may be four years late, but I finally made it. I’m on TikTok. And I hate to say it but… I like it.
I‘ve known about TikTok since it was still musical.ly, but as someone who doesn’t like taking selfies and still isn’t sure who Dua Lipa is, making lipsync videos didn’t appeal to me. More importantly, I saw the app as a global threat. After all, TikTok was (and still is) a thinly veiled Chinese Trojan horse — a surveillance program covertly designed to pacify the masses, stunt our already waning attention spans, spread disinformation and sow political chaos.
But then I remembered: I work in marketing. I need to understand TikTok to do my job.
As a copywriter, I get pulled into everything from website writing to concepting for social campaigns. If I didn’t at least understand TikTok trends, I’d soon be slipping down the slope of irrelevance. Without any ~viral~ concepts to offer clients, I’d be forced to retire into early Boomerism, and then it would only be a matter of time before I’d be asking some five-year-old to help me set up the remote for my hologram TV.
So after years of resistance, I finally sold out and downloaded TikTok to secure my career (damn you, capitalism). And I’m here to say that if you’re still holding out, it’s time to surrender yourself to the Tok.
Five Reasons to Give In to TikTok if You Haven’t Already
1. TikTok Is the Anti-Gram
If Instagram feeds us polished pictures of reality, then TikTok is polish remover.
Let’s face it: millennial-driven social media sucks. Back when Instagram was the top dog of social media, my generation flooded this platform with perfect vacation photos, doctored selfies and grind culture propaganda (no doubt influenced by LinkedIn).
But TikTok is Gen Z’s domain, and it paints a refreshingly realistic picture of an attainable life — one complete with mental illness, self-deprecating humor, antiwork sentiments and unfettered nihilism.
I feel like A vacation would heal me♬ original sound - Demetrius fields
On TikTok, even celebrities seem more down to Earth. See Howie Mandel’s prolapse TikTok… or don’t.
2. It’s a Window Into American Life
Old people. Young people. Farmers. Gas station clerks. Boomers who can’t figure out how to film vertically. These are the diverse, beautiful people that make up America, and TikTok gives us a voyeuristic look into their daily lives.
There’s a slice-of-life vibe about TikTok you just don’t find on other visually driven social platforms. That might be because there’s a strong presence of less-than-glamorous, real-life content that wouldn’t fly on Insta. The result is more diversity: class diversity, racial diversity, bodily diversity — the list goes on.
A scroll through my FYP feels just like listening to an episode of “This American Life,” except I walk away with fewer brain cells.
@doingthings Do you think corn is real? 🌽 @Recess Therapy ♬ original sound - Doing Things
3. The Algorithm Gazes Into Your Soul
TikTok’s algorithm is so smart, it’s practically sentient — and it’s the only thing that truly understands me.
If you’re wondering, “Who am I?” TikTok provides a convenient answer to this philosophical question. A scroll through my feed will tell you I’m a tree-hugging, queer hillbilly repulsed by children and fascinated by defectors of the Mormon church. Somehow it also knows my mom is a redneck.
Sure, critics have complained about the algorithm trapping viewers inside an ideological echo chamber. But IMO, if you get stuck in a loop of Pizzagate truthers, that says a lot more about you than the algorithm.
4. The Ads Are Skippable
For the most part, ads on TikTok are tolerable. Dare I say some of them are even enjoyable? This is largely because all ads are skippable, which has twofold value: 1. I can skip the boring ones. 2. Brands are forced to be more creative with their advertising to survive on the platform.
TikTok is kooky by nature, which means ads like the following are run of the mill.
@planettammie This Queen is ready for the Disco wearing Lipstick and Mini Polka Dot Dress by @prettylittlething #PLTStanAQueen #fyp #tammiebrown #rpdr #fashion #makeup ♬ Fascinated - Company B
Best of all, there’s accountability. When brands do TikTok wrong, they get read for filth.
5. The World Is Ending Anyway
Is TikTok destroying our attention spans and melting our brains? Probably. Does it give all of our information to the surveillance state? Definitely. But you know what? The planet is rapidly heating, democracy is unraveling, and we are on a collective kamikaze death spiral. And if you can’t beat the fall of civilization, you might as well join it.
In the end, we’re all going to die. So why not enjoy a few seven-second videos on the way to the grave?
Shift your mindset♬ original sound - lilly sparks