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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

TikTok, one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, has over 800 million active users, gaining traction faster than Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat and Pinterest (Data Series, 2020). Many people wonder, what is it about TikTok that makes it so popular and addictive? Why are people are spending hours on the app?, And the biggest question is how are some popular creators even dropping out of university to pursue a TikTok career?

I often find myself falling down the TikTok rabbit hole, in which I tell myself I will quickly go on the app for five minutes, then end up spending hours mindlessly scrolling and sending my friends funny videos I see. Although I have had suggested videos and advertisements on other social media sites like YouTube or Instagram, I have never had such specific and targeted videos on my page than before being on TikTok, and I believe this makes it so addictive. The algorithm is truly remarkable, showing me videos that pertain to my exact situation. 

Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok has a specialized algorithm that at its core recommends content, but these recommendations are not just a feature, they are what makes TikTok work (DataSeries, 2020). These algorithms are able to accurately predict the preferences that you would watch and like based on the activity of similar users to you, which is why sometimes your close friends will have the same “For You Page”, which is an endless feed of curated personalized content (DataSeries, 2020). With other social media apps like YouTube and Facebook, you are given more control over what you see first, meaning you would have to type the name of what you want to look at in the search bar. However, TikTok gives you recommendations first, meaning as soon as you open the app you are bombarded with an infinite amount of content, most of which are 15-second videos made predominantly by younger creators (DataSeries, 2020).

What really makes TikTok special though, is that anyone can have a video that blows up. Unlike traditional social media sites in which you usually only get millions of likes and shares if you’re a popular, verified creator, on TikTok anyone can post videos and gain popularity overnight. For example, I have had close friends post videos that have gotten millions of views and hundreds of thousands of likes. Popular creators like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae were just regular kids attending school until they started posting dancing and other videos on TikTok that gained popularity very fast. Now they have millions of followers, deals and sponsorships, and are household names for Generation Z.

Overall, TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform and has such an addictive algorithm that stays leaving users wanting more. Although many argue that it may keep us from doing meaningful work and it is a pointless distraction, I believe that as long as we keep our priorities in check and take breaks, TikTok can be a really fun social media app.

References

DataSeries. (2020, September 13). How TikTok is addictive. Medium. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://medium.com/dataseries/how-tiktok-is-addictive-1e53dec10867

Julie Hanna

Wilfrid Laurier '23

Julie is a third-year business administration student at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also pursuing a minor in environmental studies. She joined Wilfrid Laurier's Her Campus in the Fall of 2021 to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author. When she is not writing, you can find her studying, working out, spending time with friends and family or ordering abundant amounts of iced coffee from the nearest Tim Horton's.
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