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TikTok is addictive AF

TikTok has gotten a bad rap and I would say I was part of the crew that gave it a bad rap. I thought it was for 14 year old girls to do dances on and I was worried that if I downloaded it, the CCP would start listening into my conversations. After downloading it and reading more into it, I think TikTok has the potential to become the most viral social media app ever. First, here are some stats:

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Why, from a psychological perspctive, I think TikTok might become the most popular, viral app ever.

Preface: I do not have a psychology degree nor did I even take a psychology course. All of this is based on my reading.

For better or worse, TT is built to use your own psychology to get you to go to the app + stay into the app.

Reason 1: Unexpectedness

  • Unlike Instagram where you follow people and you know exactly who's posts you are going to see on your Feed when you log in, with TikTok, you don't exactly know what you're going to see when you log in.
  • This takes advantage of the proclivity for humans to remember things that are unexpected and not usual. So TikTok will be more "sticky" in humans' brains.
  • More importantly, this seems like a classic example of Fixed vs. Variable reward schedules. When you're not sure when you're going to get a reward OR what that reward is going to be, you are much more likely to "pull the lever" incessantly. In this case, pulling the lever is going into TikTok bc you're not sure what you'll see.
  • With TT, you never know what you're going to get when you go into the app so that actually encourages you to go into the app and see what's in it.

Reason: Everyone is already a TikTok-er

  • Unlike Insta where most people and companies are very selective about what they post β€” most want to appear as polished and present themselves in the best possible light β€” TikTok is all about authenticity.
  • Whereas I picture a company doing a photoshoot for a new product to be posted on Instagram, TikTok is more about filming stuff on your phone. And everyone has a phone, so it makes it way lower barriers for entry.
  • Combining this point and unexpectedness, with TikTok, you never know which post is going to go viral. So TT is all about posting as many posts as you can (some influencers on TT do 4 a day) in hopes that over the course of a week, 3 out of the 28 will go viral. So there's a much bigger push to post content, even if it isn't perfect or filter added.
  • This posting more creates more unexpectedness which reinforces going into the app more.

Reason: 3: TikTok is more about joy

  • FB and IG are a bit depressing. Because most people present themselves in a positive light and humans naturally compare themselves, a lot of people find FB and IG depressing.
  • TikTok's main thing is being about joyful, fun experiences. It seems like a place more people will want to hangout.

Reason 4: Clips are short

  • Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter and TikTok knows this. So it doesn't make 2:30 min videos (which I personally think are short) possible. Everyone is looking for that quick dopamine hit and TikTok supplies it.
  • Quick dopamine hits.

Reason 5: Multiple senses

  • TikTok gets multiple senses going
    • Visual
    • Auditory β€”> music
    • Physical β€”> the dancing and mirror neurons
  • Music is a big part of TT culture.
  • This is good for TT because getting multiple senses involved makes a person's experience with the medium stronger.

Written: September 21, 2020

Additional Resources:

Why Instagram might win?

  • Insta is all about professional, perfection β€”> so it actually creates a need that something is wrong with you AND you need their product in order to fill that gap