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Why You are So Addicted to TikTok

Fatima M Khan 18 38

Via Medium

Why You are So Addicted to TikTok

TikTok, the latest social media app that has everyone, particularly Gen Z — hooked. TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos on any topic…

TikTok, the latest social media app that has everyone, particularly Gen Z — hooked. TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos on any topic. Going back to early days of the Pandemic, TikTok users grew in number as dance trends spurged and soon enough TikTok overtook all other social medias. Unlike Instagram and other competitors, TikTok came in with a refreshing tone and brand: Casual and for all. No picture perfect expectations like that of instagram, and giving everyone an equal chance to share their craft with how the algorithm is set up.

TikTok has many features worth discussing when it comes to creating a sensational platform that has reached 1 Billion in monthly Users with its partner platform Douyin (the Chinese version).

Before talking about how the Usability, Accessibility and Dark Patterns play such a big role in the Immensely Successful App,

Let’s look at some stats (provided by this source):

  • TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times.
  • It is the most downloaded App on the Apple App store and Google Play.
  • Tiktok users spend an average 52 mins per day on the app.
  • Available in 155 countries and in 75 languages.
  • Average number of videos watched daily is 1 million.
  • Within 18 months, the number of US adult users grew 5.5 times.

Usability

The UX design makes it so that it is very intuitive to whoever is using it. The “explore page” is curated to your tastes and likes and previously saved videos. As you swipe up new videos keep coming, with easy features to like, share, comment or tag someone. Following someone is one click away on their icon displayed on the side of the screen, and a small tick mark confirms your action. Sounds are easily discoverable with their extensive library that allows you to upload your own sounds, save sounds from others or view all videos made by a certain sound. Countless filters and video editing tools make it quick and easy for anyone to put together a 6 sec video, a couple hashtags, and you aren’t far from your first 1k views.

Accessibility

I believe the success has been largely due to the fact that it caters to everyone across different countries, cultures, and languages allowing no limitations in that regard, making it so highly accessible for everyone to enjoy — which is why they do. One of the leading countries in Users is India, proof that the accessibility is superb. Although nearly half of users are between the ages of 10–29, every day the number of users outside that demographic seems to be growing because tiktok welcomes vast interests and the people are encouraged to make content on what they are interested about irrespective of age. Which is why a growing home maker mothers, senior gardeners, and professionals in the work force, are joining and creating content. And if not, there is always humor that everyone is interested to see. the Usability and easy features allow for accessibility of all people.

Interaction design is also accessible with large icons that can be easily pressed, and other interactions that come intuitively, such as swiping up to go to the next video in the carrousel, or click anywhere on the screen to pause a video and undo any accidental actions.

Dark Patterns

One of the darkest patterns of tiktok is also what makes it so fun to use. The homepage makes it so that its so easy to watch more video by simply swiping up, and another and then another, keeping a user for hours without even realizing even if they want to go with the constant loop of “just one more”. One can easily lose track of time, especially since after the pandemic hit and everyone was quarantined.

Tiktok also promotes certain sounds and once you like a video with a certain audio, the algorithm repeatedly shows you all other videos with the sound which quickly creates viral trends.

Since the algorithm is so precise it can really show you exactly what’s of your interest and make you sink deeper and deeper into a hole. In which case all content you will be consuming will fit the narrative that you support making you that much more limited in your knowledge of what else is outside of it. In some ways we believe that social media sites like instagram and tiktok give us access to limitless knowledge, when in reality, all they do is provide more information on a certain thought or opinion (yours) and reinforce it.

Tiktok particularly did this with the new age spirituality which has been highly popular and influenced many young people. They do not have much censorship or fact checking or a moderator. The new age spiritual beliefs, although an encouraging and thought provoking topic for young people, become more of a cult than anything, with the average teenager becoming credible enough to talk about spiritual and witchcraft and the other realms simply because they could post.

Tiktok allows users to be themselves, with no moderator present to set guidelines or fact check for wrong information or potential misinformation. Tiktok makes its users feel comfortable and safe to express whatever it is they wish to, giving them an open easy to use and fun platform to do so. Even if you’re a 17 year old who identifies as a “witch” and posts content involving candles and scribe writing as “Spells”.

This is a dark pattern in hiding.

In conclusion, Tiktok has risen rapidly in the past few years, and once studied for what it is, one cannot be surprised on why it is just so appealing.