TikTok Addiction and Influence

“Scrolling … scrolling … gone. (Hours gone, that is.) Standout social media app TikTok has gotten pretty good at keeping its users on its platform, and indulgers are having a hard time kicking the habit, as has been widely reported. TikTok’s main feed called the ‘For You’ page provides short videos that are circulated based on each user’s specific interactions with the app and its content. ‘The real secret sauce is the algorithm,’ Open Influence CEO and social media expert Eric Dahan told Fox News. ‘It’s layering in a really solid content recommendation algorithm and the content format is really bite-sized,’ he added. ‘And so, the algorithm can quickly learn.’ Fox News Digital sat down with author Celeste Headlee recently at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She explained that, in her view, TikTok is ‘designed to be addictive.’ The author said that the social media app actually ‘tricks your brain’ by ‘shooting in dopamine. It’s called the addiction hormone for a very good reason. It’s the exact same hormone that’s triggered by pulling a slot machine,’ she added. Dahan said that TikTok’s short-form video format specifically aligns with the interests of Gen Z [born 1997 to 2012, the first smartphone generation]–the primary user age group–such as mobile video creation and staying up-to-date on the latest trends. ‘That makes it a lot more engaging than just really good content recommendation,’ he said. ‘That’s why it’s addictive.’ Dahan mentioned that, compared to other social media apps, TikTok’s format is skewed against social connection, since users can scroll for hours and hours and never interact with a single person. Instead, the app seemingly ‘reads your brain,’ Dahan described–based on personal thoughts and interests. While the app has the intention of entertaining, TikTok is most often used to leverage brands. Dahan mapped out the powerful scale of how TikTok moves markets and consumer interest, as more people hop on the trend of ‘TikTok made me buy it.’ ‘It’s becoming, increasingly, a key platform for engaging consumers,’ he said. ‘TikTok has a massive amount of influence.’ TikTok continues to drive other media sectors such as music–as today’s top-streamed songs are commonly used and discovered first as TikTok sounds. It also has been known for driving the news cycle, since the app is a growing news source for many.”

“TikTok addiction,” Fox News, Oct. 4, 2022

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