I am 32-years-old and I am obsessed with TikTok. Am I ashamed? Maybe a little. Am I going to stop? Absolutely not.
I was one of the millions of people who decided to join TikTok at the beginning of quarantine. Originally, I did it as a joke to see what cringe-worthy videos were on there, but the algorithm was spot on and it didn’t take much scrolling to get me hooked. I would lay in bed for hours at night and wake my husband up because I was laughing so hard at some stranger.
I have made a few of my own TikToks with the kids, but mostly I am just a consumer. My attention span can be short, and when you’re a mom, sometimes you need bite-sized entertainment because that’s easier to digest when you’re being interrupted constantly. TikToks are usually less than a minute in length, but some creators now can make a video up to three minutes long so you don’t have to commit a long time to enjoy it.
When you join initially, your feed, called the For You Page, will probably be full of the most liked videos on the app, which likely includes teenagers doing awkward dances (that I may or may not have tried to learn) or shirtless guys with abs badly lip syncing to a rap song. Don’t fret, my pet. All you have to do to get rid of those videos is swipe quickly by or hold your thumb on the video and select “Not Interested.” If you see something that does catch your eye, you double tap to ‘like’ the video and it will show you more like that. You can also search videos for whatever topic you want to see more of. The algorithm is scarily specific and sometimes it feels like they know more about you than you do. Which I guess is part of the controversy around the app, but for me it’s been welcome. Like any kind of social media, you can wander off into some pretty adult places, so I don’t think it’s great for kids to use unsupervised.
Honestly, I think I’ve learned more from scrolling TikTok than I did in high school.
There are budgeting accounts, home improvement and DIY accounts, people who teach you how to use and improve your credit score, history lessons, investment advice, recipes, health and wellness experts, and even some sweet older ladies who will teach you old school etiquette or how to get stains out of any fabric.
What I love the most about the app is that there is a place for everyone.
I literally mean everyone. Any oddly specific hobby or interest you may have already has a community out there. If you struggle with your mental or physical health, there are people out there who are experiencing the same issues that can make you feel like you’re not alone and also offer some insight from their own experiences.
The more you interact with that content, the more of it will be shown to you. It has been a great comfort to know that there are people who think and feel the way I do, but also that there are people who look like you! Representation is so important and if you’re in a less socially acceptable body, sometimes the only time you see your body type represented in the media is in a negative light. Not on TikTok. Women are celebrating their bodies in every shape, size, color, and age over there. And while the occasional troll may have something hateful to say in the comments, the vast majority of commenters are hyping each other up. It has been so empowering to watch other women share their insecurities and imperfections in an attempt to embrace them. I remember feeling so much better about myself after coming across a video of a woman laughing and plucking a long hair out of her chin in the car before she went in the store, and the whole comment section was full of other women saying, “I thought it was just me!” Nope. We are never as alone as we feel.