The addictiveness of TikTok.
TikTok is an app that seems hard to avoid nowadays. If you do not have the app yourself, it is guaranteed that you encounter a reposted TikTok somewhere on your Instagram reels. I was a regular TikTok user. I never posted anything, but I have done my fair share of scrolling. During winter break I decided to delete the app. On average, I was spending more than one hour a day on TikTok alone and thought I could do something better with my time. I hate to admit this but the first couple of days I sort of missed the endless scrolling on my phone. This feeling made me start to wonder, what is so addictive about TikTok?
It was somewhere in 2019 when I downloaded the app. I had it on my phone but did not look at it for months. Then covid hit in 2020. As you know, everyone had to stay home and resort to spending time with themselves and their family to fill their spare time. TikTok was booming during these months, and with the whole world stuck at home the platform was heavily used. People’s screen time sometimes reached up to twelve hours a day.
Recently, mashups of popular songs and sounds used during that specific time became popular, as Lockdown 2020 mashups began surfacing on people’s ‘For you’ pages, with many users commenting about how this made them feel ‘nostalgic’ in a way, thus marking the big role that TikTok has played as a form of entertainment during lockdown.
One could even say it was the perfect form of entertainment: while you're endlessly scrolling from video to video, TikTok learns what your interests are and its algorithms make sure that you'll see more of what you already like.
These last two facts are pivotal factors of the addictiveness of the app. It’s a never-ending time-killer. A sneaky feature added by the creators of the app is that you are unable to see what the time is while scrolling, consequently losing track of how long you’ve been scrolling for.
This is also something that I have noticed. Time passes by quickly when scrolling on TikTok. Whenever I knew I had fifteen minutes to spare, I would open TikTok on purpose, knowing those fifteen minutes would feel like three minutes when scrolling. Sometimes forty-five minutes of my time would be gone without me noticing.
What really made me struggle with deleting the app is the fear of missing out. The app is filled with what one would describe as inside jokes. The app is used actively by 31 million people, so I am not sure how ‘inside’ the joke is exactly, but it makes you feel like you are part of something that other people are not a part of. It makes you feel a certain kind of special.
My screen time has already gone down significantly since deleting TikTok. I don’t think I am ever redownloading it. It is definitely not worth the extra hour I have in my day. And if I really miss it, I can always resort to Instagram reels :).