I use TikTok. I use TikTok like a drug. I impulsively go on the TikTok app for hours on end to feel a high that TikTok delivers pretty consistently.
I started using TikTok a little before my boyfriend broke up with me because of a blog post. I had just broken my boyfriend’s phone and I remember this feeling of knowing our relationship was over because something incredible happened to me when I downloaded that app and I couldn’t even talk about it with the person closest to me because I felt guilty that he didn’t have a phone to see what I was talking about.
I wasn’t even creating content at this point, which took things to another level with my addiction, I was just consuming other people’s content, and I couldn’t get enough.
I’ve learned that TikTok’s main content delivery sysyem, the For You Page, works through an algorithm that gets smarter the more videos you watch and like. The algorithm compares things like faces, sounds, and hashtags to learn what kinds of videos you can’t get enough of, and then it shows you those videos. And when I say this algorithm works, it works. I’ve lost hours scrolling through the For You Page. HOURS just WATCHING 15 second videos. It’s insane and I’ve been doing this almost daily for the past 2 months.
Shortly after the breakup I decided to begin creating videos when I noticed there was a big dance community on TikTok and as someone who is embracing their dancer side more and more, I thought it’d be a fun platform to post dance videos since there was so much fun choreography to learn on TikTok and you could duet users, so it was possible to make videos dancing with others and the duet feature which places the video right next to yours made it easy to learn choreography too because you can compare yourself with the dancer you’re learning from side by side.
I learned quickly that these dances were harder than they looked, so I expanded my content to include lip-syncing comedic sketches, another popular type of video on the app.
I also learned quickly that even though lots of people on the app seemed able to gain “clout” seemingly overnight (it’s not uncommon for TikTok users to have 100s of thousands of followers and millions of views and likes), I struggle a little more. I’m currently plateaued at just below 250 followers. I seem to have this social media curse of never being able to go over 500 followers, even though the norm is 1000s.
I’ve been working on it though on TikTok, posting videos daily. I don’t think I’ve found a “voice” or “brand” which might be why I can’t gain a following, but I’m slowly growing and my content is definitely improving. My first TikTok video was such garbage I deleted it from my phone because I don’t want anyone to ever see it. But when I made it I thought, this is decent content! But then I started watching actually decent content on TikTok, videos that were so high quality or well acted or where the person spent a lot of time on their appearance. There’s a lot of effort on TikTok and that makes me happy because it’s the youth using that app and I think it’s a good sign that their standards for content is pretty high level.
Even though I am largely a flop on TikTok, and that is on me, I want to do my best to just make stuff daily, so super high quality stuff is not always the result of pushing out quantity, and also I’m still learning so I’m being easy on myself. There are some videos I spent such a long time on that got less than 5 likes and all you can do it go welp, on to the next one.
I did have one semi viral hit, and it was a duet video. It was through this video that I have even as much clout as I do (200 followers and 68k likes!). I can’t tell what made this go off while almost none of my other videos have. I think it’s because the original video I duetted is legitimately so good, that I was able to ride on its coattails a little bit. All I did was pretend to be the friend who comes into the video halfway through. I did it in a Walgreens in the Tampon aisle while upset because I wasn’t chosen to work a high paying promotional gig that morning. I told myself I would try to create something worth way more than the $300 I would have made working, and I guess 200 followers, 66k likes and 200k views is worth more than $300? I can’t figure out how to embed this but there should be a link.
Having a semi viral video on TikTok was a very exciting experience. You’re pretty much constantly getting notifications, so you’re constantly getting dopamine hits. And watching your “stats” go up in real time is also very satisfying. I remember when my views finally slowed for the viral video though, I did go through withdrawal once I wasn’t getting constant notifications or new followers.
I’m made over 150 videos on TikTok, which barely amount to an hour of content because they’re mostly 15 second videos, and my desire to stop making videos isn’t waning. I don’t that feel discouraged by all my non viral videos because I love so many of these videos and it’s fun to see my growth even in as short a time span as 2 months.
TikTok has changed what I listen to, how I look, how I dance, what I watch and even my goals. I’m an early adopter of technology, I had gmail since you needed an invite type of thing, and I’ve never seen anything like TikTok or used anything that has affected me like TikTok, maybe since I got my first iPod. Snapchat did have a similar feeling when I started using it of a new way to share, and I was right about that because Instagram stole stories and it’s a big thing now, but TikTok is just another level because it’s also a community. It strictly enforces anti violence, porn and hate and the result is a wholesome app that truly fosters creativity and connection.
TikTok feels a lot like an RPG to me sometimes and I’m building up this character. Right now I’m going by promobot but I think I might want to change my name because I just learned promobot is a real thing, even though I’m pretty sure I was the first promobot.
Another thing about TikTok is the music that blows up there is ridiculously good. I have a playlist on Spotify that is nothing but songs that are trends on TikTok and it’s all I listen to these days. Listen to it yourself.