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TikTok has made me realize that I’ve never had an original thought in my entire life. If that sounds familiar, it’s because I ripped that straight from a TikTok comment section. If you’re a frequenter of Tiktok like I am, I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling of coming across a video that is so specific to your life that it seems like it was made especially for you. Then you go to the comment section and it’s flooded with people relating to the exact same thing. I’ve found it surprising, and also quite comforting, to know that we’re all much more similar than we may realize. 

Apparently everyone has that one crush from seventh grade that they still aren’t completely over to this day. My sweaty hands have always been a source of shame and embarrassment for me, but over 600,000 people liked a video about those science tables that are the mortal enemy of anyone with sweaty hands. So you’re telling me that you’re also a procrastinator with a deep-seated fear of failure? Wait, all your moms are also able to find lost things in places that you swear you already looked? 

mother and daughter talking
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

For every thought or feeling I’ve had, it seems that someone else has experienced it too, and it makes me feel less alone. Since we’re only able to experience life through our own perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in the conviction that we’re alone in our suffering and insecurities. We wonder if we’re normal and hesitate to share out of fear of judgment and rejection. TikTok provides a platform to more openly share our experiences, build up a sense of camaraderie between strangers all over the world, and allow us to have these little moments of connection. 

At the same time, I’ve also noticed that while there are so many diverse perspectives on TikTok, it also breeds a sort of toxic and divisive environment when it comes to who’s “right.” Naturally, there are many controversial topics that are brought up and talked about online. Having these discussions is important, but from what I’ve observed, it’s a very one-sided communication. Oftentimes, people aren’t looking to listen to other people’s opinions but are instead focused on attacking anyone who doesn’t think the way they do. 

woman throwing fist at camera
Photo by Timothy Eberly from Unsplash

Also, I feel like there’s an issue with herd mentality and bandwagoning that develops from being surrounded by so many opinions. I’m guilty myself of “checking” my opinion against the comments on a video, and the lines become blurred between what I actually think and what the top comments are saying. This brings up the question of whether everyone commenting actually thinks this way, or if they’re being influenced by the previous comments. It becomes a whole cycle of people parroting whatever is trendy or “in” at the moment. 

TikTok is a great platform for sharing information and exchanging perspectives, but it’s also important to keep in mind its negative aspects as well. Have fun with the universality of finding shared experiences with others, but be careful of tipping too far into exclusivity.

Karen Li

UC Berkeley '24

Karen is a sophomore studying computer science. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading, journaling, hanging out with her dog, and binging TV shows. She strives to reach others through her writing and hopes to write meaningful pieces that someone, somewhere can relate to or learn from.
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