As I look around for inspiration for youtube or blog content, it was hard to not notice the impact that Tiktok has had on the world this past year.
It has become a worldwide phenomenon and for good reason. During these difficult few years, you not only need to utilise technology for human interaction, but you need to also use it to validate yourself in ways you usually would out of lockdown.
We aren’t meeting friends in restaurants anymore or showing off dance moves through the night. As human beings, we have to find ways to be seen, noticed, and test boundaries for ourselves.
TikTok has become a great, public way to do that.
Naturally, I joined, scrolled through, and even found other mental health professionals and even aficionados talking on different topics and often offering advice.
As with any professional in their industry, I had to react and so filmed a YouTube video on my findings.
My Tiktok journey didn’t stop there though – I kept the app and still scroll through from time to time. You hear the term ‘It’s addictive’ thrown around so casually nowadays, but it’s clear why in this instance.
Years (and years) ago at the beginning of Therapy in London, I started a blog, Philip on Tech, because I had always found our relation to tech interesting, and so important to understand.
All online activity is designed to be addictive, retain retention and keep you wanting more.
Now, this is for the better for any business owner who wants their product found or wants an audience to come back for more content. What has it done to us as a society and at what cost?
Tiktok allows only 15 or 60-second videos, which means the content is quick, to the point and every time you like a video on your For You Page, you’re letting the algorithm know to adapt to you and thus making your “FYP” more of the things you like.
It’s clever, but it also means that time is irrelevant when you are scrolling through clip after clip after clip.
It can even get to the point where if a video doesn’t capture you in the first five seconds, you’ll scroll past it. Your attention span becomes shorter, but with that, you process more information faster – have you noticed how fast Tiktokers talk? As a thirty-something with a couple of degrees under my belt, I still find it difficult to process a lot of what they say at first.
What you can take from this isn’t that we will eventually lose any scrap of attention span we have left. It’s that you can make yourself aware of it and do something about it.
Taking action is my favourite thing to talk about at the moment, but it is true and it’s something that does need reminding!
Here’s what you can do to help yourself in a world of Tiktok, rent-free (did we use it right?):
Understand what you are getting from it.
What has happened, or not happened, at that moment when you decide to open TikTok? Is something boring to you or are you trying to put off something? Mentally assess why you want to use up that time at that moment on TikTok?
Notice when you zone out.
When you are scrolling, what captures your attention and what do you lose interest in quickly? This is important to notice as you start to pay attention to your likes and dislikes. Also, the side of Tiktok you’re on is a huge help in offering insight.
If you are following a lot of mums on Tiktok, you may find that you are looking for more fellow parent outreach, or if you are watching a lot of craft content, what can you do to get more involved for yourself?
And yes, take action!
If you find that Tiktok is just making you feel like real life things aren’t getting done, or it makes you wish for more watching others do funny, exciting things, take what you have learnt about yourself from the last few steps and simply do what you love.
Tiktok is one of many developments in the tech industry that is utilising our natural reactions and instincts. This can be either harmful or helpful, but only dependent on how aware you are of your usage.
I even spent three days without my phone (pre lockdown) to find out how I would feel and act when out and disconnected.
If you would like to know more about addiction signs or what you can do about addiction, take a look at our guide.