Makes Me Happy, Social Distancing Diaries

On TikTok

So I’ve been using TikTok for over a year now. I know this because Facebook just showed me the post from this time last year where I first talked about using TikTok. It was actually the impetus for me dumping all of my old blog posts into draft mode because that post, crossposted on instagram, was the cause of one of the first moments where my kid’s had to break it to me that they find my content online EMBARRASSING. I posted a photo of a messy bun and said, “Thank you TikTok for teaching me how to do a great high bun!” And it turned out? 40-something Moms talking about TikTok was EMBARRASSING. Like, I had to take that photo down from instagram they were so mortified. And then I made my instagram private.

(It’s back to public now, my kids are both becoming more okay with my online presence.)

ANYWAY. My point? I’ve been using TikTok for awhile but it has become my serious lifeline during the pandemic. There’s something about the algorithm that is SO GENIUS. I mean, you have to spend a couple of hours telling it what you like by “hearting” videos but eventually the algorithm learns you and there is 180 degree difference between my For You page and my kid’s.

And unlike YouTube, it doesn’t just see what you like and offer you more extreme stuff in the same vein (YouTube’s algorithm will see you’re searching videos about how to run a 5K and will recommend videos about how to run a marathon) – it takes educated guesses AND THEY ARE OFTEN SPOT ON.

In the beginning my FYP was dogs and artists because that’s what I sought out. But then TikTok showed me a video from @thisisrheed, this hilarious plant guy and WHAT MADE TIKTOK think I would like a plant person? I don’t even like plants. Like…I have no indoor plants or anything but I LOVE THAT GUY’S CONTENT. And then TikTok showed me roller skaters. Did I know I liked roller skating? NO! BUT I DO! What about a guy who gives himself great talks about social anxiety and insecurities? YES! Give me more of @fauxtivational_speaker! And foraging? Did I know I needed walks in the woods explaining edible plants? NO. BUT I DO AND NOW I LOVE @alexisnikole!

Donnie doesn’t even do ANY social media and yet, if he hears me looking at TikTok he comes over and watches with me because he’ll deny it – but he loves it. Granted, I do follow a bunch of BLM people now so some of my content is political, but it’s the GOOD kind. And it’s broken up with TikToks from Zoos and daughters taking care of their Moms with dementia. I mean, it’s just a wide open world every time I open it and yet – somehow – it’s all stuff I enjoy. I don’t even “follow” that many people, most people don’t, because your For You Page gets so perfectly curated you don’t need to.

It’s just been giving me the escape I needed during the pandemic – it makes me laugh, cry, think and be inspired and I know there’s fear of the Chinese gathering our data but I’ve given up on any illusion of privacy and right now? I need TikTok’s algorithm to keep giving me content that gives me joy more than I need my privacy right now.

1 thought on “On TikTok”

  1. So…stupid question. How do I even get started? You make this sound awesome but I have zero clue what to do. You download the app? And then…? do you look things up and heart what you like, or does it give you suggestions to start with?

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