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The 60-second hit of dopamine via TikTok

Updated: May 23, 2022

Are we still addicted to TikTok?

Ah yes, TikTok. I decided to revisit my old article and analyze how the addiction was going? And it is still an addiction but less so than it once was.

These past few months it feels like the app is slow to register a change of interest as well as, or as fast as, you would expect for an AI.

These days I receive in excess only the topics I had previously responded to. Even though I am no longer interested in them or have been so inundated with them that I am sick of seeing them.

Yet, no matter how fast I swipe away from this content, it still ends up in my feed. There are three realizations from this:

  1. It is doing what Facebook has been criticized for, and only showing the things you are aligned to your own view, and therefore have no counter opinion, counter topics or counter content!

2. It has revealed that all apps, no matter how smart and intuitive, still need to keep up with changing tastes and interests — or at the very least program their AI to do so

3. It has lost my interest as I will only visit the app if I want to view more of the same thing that it keeps on showing me

. . .

Too little diversity

I wrote a few months ago about becoming Addicted to TikTok, if you want to know what it is, how to use it and why it is important, check out that article here.

The 60-second hits of dopamine that it provided was fantastic and when I opened the app, two hours would fly by with laughter, fun, and emotional connection…but then it lost that feeling of discovering something new.

Still aligned with my interests but new all the same. Where was the introduction to new dances, to new people, to talented people?

Yes, I love to watch auditions for Britains Got Talent or The Voice to hear the amazingly talented people that are auditioning but that is not ALL I want to see. Yet that is all I get now when I open the app.

. . .

Somehow with all the lockdowns and lack of connection that we are all feeling there is an opportunity to share real-life stories of people and share the frustration we all feel.

Yet I see only pre-fabricated acts of kindness, meant to reveal an inner kindness but clearly conducted only for the purpose of garnering views…thereby becoming even more depressing as they are using the unfortunate homeless to showcase how kind and caring and generous they are.

When I first started out on the app I thought hey this is fantastic:

the algorithm has figured out my sweet spot…feeds me feel-good stories, other over 40’s dancing, talented singers, even career and mindset experts.”

No more. It has lost those things that I enjoyed and feeds me only the exact same content no matter how much I swipe it away.

Here is where a lack of content control is a killer of the addiction!

. . .

Too much of the same

Now if I want to see the Britains Got Talent or The Voice auditions that blew people away, I can watch the snippets on TikTok, but that has become the only reason to come back to it.

Yes, I still believe it has changed the way we are intaking entertainment and there are lots of things to be learned from and implemented in other media channels.

“TikTok will change the way your social media works — even if you’re avoiding it.” — New York Times

However, though it still commands the largest number of viewers the viewing has lost some of its panache for me. I believed that the curated behaviour would enhance my viewing experience but instead, it has funnelled me into a gulley from which it does not allow me to surface again.

. . .

The same pros still exist, in that there is a never-ending stream of content. But where it registered that I want to see snippets of movies and tv shows shared as users' own content, creates a lack of connection I first felt when I started using the app.

The same way that Netflix and YouTube keep me watching by playing the “next video” automatically, TikTok can keep me scrolling by feeding a never-ending stream of content, but now I have to want to see the stuff they feed me which narrows down the time on the app.

That’s not such a bad thing. I still like living in the “real world”.

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