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I am writing to report that I’ve officially done it. After many months of unwavering resistance, it was time to succumb to the unavoidable pressures and bite the bullet. Following this momentous occasion, my world will never be the same. I am embarrassed, disturbed, and mildly regretful to announce that I have downloaded TikTok. 

Some might say I’ve hit rock bottom. But you should know that this rather disquieting decision was not made without considering the potential consequences. I’ve heard all the horror stories. One day, people download TikTok for fun, maybe even ironically. But before long, they’re unable to escape, aimlessly swiping until it’s three in the morning and their circadian rhythm has undergone irreversible damage. I know about the app’s cons all too well. Nonetheless, I was willing to take the risk in order to see firsthand what all the fuss was about.

Charles Deluvio

Even though I’m relatively new to the app, I think I’ve gotten the gist. You have your TikTok comedy sketches, pet videos, thirst traps, life hacks, and collaborations. If you want to learn how to get a bang for your buck at Starbucks or watch e-boys make cringeworthy facial expressions all day, I guess you’ve come to the right place. For a while, I assumed TikTok was a toxic dumping ground for uninspiring DIY tricks and child celebrities.

Just when I thought the app only consisted of brainless videos, I found an unexpected respite. This shimmering beacon of hope came in the form of TikTok dances. They’re usually set to some popular song and include pretty basic movements. Tons of people upload videos of themselves doing the TikTok dance in hopes of going viral. Sure, some of the renditions are duds, but a lot of the people on TikTok are actually talented. I have yet to learn many of the trendy dances, but I’m sure that in a moment of boredom and desperation, that time might come. And when it does, I’ll have truly reached an all-time low.

woman filming vertical video of woman throwing confetti
Photo by Amanda Vick from Unsplash

Aside from my burgeoning love for TikTok dances, I’ve enjoyed other content on the app as well. The tech-savvy teenagers dominating TikTok produce their fair share of entertaining videos, many of which are informative. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, some TikTokers post clever videos and catchy songs urging people to wash their hands and stay indoors. Other TikTokers use comedy to cope with the situation. For example, the user @cameronghoang advised his viewers not to open doors with their hands, followed by a clip of him using his mouth to turn a knob instead. In the middle of a global crisis, TikTok can be a way to have a laugh and stay informed.

It’s easy (and sometimes justified) to make fun of TikTok. Until recently, I relentlessly refused to give it a chance. Even now, after repeatedly watching TikTokers hit the woah or cut Fruit Roll-Ups, I wonder if the app is a worthwhile use of my time. Still, I’ll admit to enjoying the carefree hours spent watching TikTok on loop.

The question of whether I’ll ever start making my own TikTok videos still remains. My visceral repulsion to the idea suggests that becoming a TikTok star is not my destiny. But I never thought I’d download the app in the first place, let alone gain respect for it, so who knows what the future holds? In the meantime, I’ve got some mindless scrolling to do.

Jennifer Anderson

UC Berkeley '22

Jennifer Anderson is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Media Studies and History. Outside of school, you can find her rewatching Glee for the 20th time, trying out new dessert recipes, and exploring the Bay Area.
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