My resistance to TikTok, and why I am sitting on this hill for now (Opinion, Audio Available)

Photo by Mourizal Sativa via Unsplash

*If you are on the go,  listen to the audio version of this post on Anchor or Spotify

I understand the past few years, most of the world has been consumed by this app called TikTok, especially the youngins’. There was an internet analysis from a Youtube (YT) creator TiffanyFerg describing how TikTok changed the way she consumed content, and how she feels Youtube is becoming stale for her. This prompted me to reflect on my non-usage of the app. Yes, I’ve not downloaded the app since its inception. I only caught a glimpse of it when my partner used it briefly for work-related purposes. Despite its popularity, how everything can be found there now, and how trends sprung up from there, I still don’t feel compelled to download it for several reasons: 

I’m trying to preserve what little attention span I have. The Internet has progressively chipped away at my attention span that reading, a hobby that I used to do a lot, now feels like a chore. Anyway, I already have stories and reels for super short-form content. I also feel like the same content is already being posted in stories and reels anyway. So why do I need to download and use another app to watch the same content, and let the app steal my info and attention span?

Photo by Amanda Vick via Unspalsh

I’m not into lip-syncing and dance revo-like content – I blame old-age for this but I don’t see the point of watching people lip-sync or follow dance steps for entertainment. I guess you can call me a nerd but as much as possible, I try to consume content where I can get or learn something new, otherwise, I feel like I am wasting time. Sure, make-up content on YT can be repetitive, but it is serving me another purpose that TikTok can’t (I will explain later). BUT, no judgment on people who are doing it, if you are having fun or getting more money or engagements, go for it. 

Just a side-note, this lip-syncing reminds me of the dubsmash app, and the dancing reminds me of dance revo the people used to play in arcades. Now you know my age. 

I want to follow not just the content but get to know the creator too (sounds stalkerish, I know) – In this internet analysis (I will link it in the description), it did mention how content on TikTok drew lots of views, and yet when it was time for meet and greets with the content creators, few people show up. On the contrary, in YT, you can be part of a community there and you know the content creator on a personal level (well, more of a para-social level). I want to live vicariously through these people. I don’t think I can do that with 30-second – 2-minute videos.

Photo by Bruce Mars via Unsplash

I cannot use TikTok as a companion while I’m doing stuff, it demands full attention – I do focus work and I do household chores. These things can get boring without companions, and no I don’t mean human companions. I need to be able to see and listen to something in the background so I keep going with these dreadful tasks. YT especially long-form videos do these for me, TikTok can’t. In fact, it does the opposite. It demands full attention, but in the end, your mind is exhausted, and you don’t get much out of those minutes or hours you sit hostage by the app. 

I don’t feel like I’m missing out. People on YT/Twitter/Reddit/IG tell me what’s going on there anyway – Again, it’s the same content being posted on these platforms, it’s just the manner of delivery that differs. If TikTok creators post about how this foundation is the bomb, the YT creators I follow will create the same content but in a more detailed manner. The full-length video can give me a better gauge if I should buy the product with my precious money because they were able to test the product fully. Also nowadays, the YT creators I follow create dedicated videos on what’s been happening on TikTok. The same process with Twitter and Reddit but in word format. As such, I’m informed without having to download the app. Ergo, I am still generally aware of what is happening there.

Photo by Shingi Rice via Unsplash

Listen. I know I just rattled off like a TikTok antagonist here. However, on the flip side, I fully understand the craze behind it, and I do not judge people who use it and create content there. I also acknowledge that this platform is the battleground of many things now, including business growth, popularity, misinformation, and disinformation. Even TikTok averse people like me, or purists and older folks have to grasp the reality that this is where many people consume content now. Heck, I see journalists and experts now setting up shop there (and on a few other platforms). It’s a really good stepping stone for creators to encourage impressionable people and youngins to delve deeper into certain topics or be more knowledgeable in certain topics by posting content that is digestible if the platform is used wisely.

As for me, although my choice of platform for expression is dying (aka blogging), I chose to stick here for now since this is still a hobby/therapy for me. That’s why I don’t say I hate TikTok because I may need it in the future if I consider content creation as a money-making venture. But I do hope the above reasons for not using TikTok can help those who are going through some internet or social media fatigue or find themselves a little too addicted to the app. 

Reference: TiffanyFerg on Youtube: Why does youtube feel so lackluster right now? | Internet Analysis

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