If you’re a regular user of TikTok, you’ll know just how addictive the platform can be. Tapping the TikTok icon, firing up your eerily accurate For You feed, and scrolling through content endlessly becomes a mindless habit, and before you know it, you’re doing it for hours at a time. Scientific studies have even been done on how addictive TikTok can be and the reasons behind that addictive quality, so you know that the community at large is taking TikTok seriously.
So, why exactly is TikTok so addictive? Well, as you’d imagine, there are a number of reasons that the platform enables the kind of helpless scrolling it does, and they have to do with everything from psychology through to the way the app is designed on a fundamental level. If you’ve used TikTok, you might even recognise yourself in some of these reasons! Without further ado, let’s take a look at just 5 of the reasons that TikTok is so addictive.
1. It incorporates the best features of other platforms
One of the biggest reasons that TikTok is so addictive is because it incorporates some of the best features of other social media platforms. For example, if you’ve ever been browsing Facebook and seen a short video posted by a friend, or one shared by someone you know, then you’ve essentially browsed a less immediate and addictive version of the For You feed. TikTok’s filters and sound additions for videos are also somewhat similar to Instagram filters.
TikTok’s incorporation of other social media features isn’t stopping, either. Recently, the app introduced TikTok Now, a feature that sends you a notification at random times of the day and exhorts you to take a video with your front-facing and rear-facing cameras to post to your feed. This is very similar to a French social media app by the name of BeReal, so it’s clear that TikTok is watching what’s going on in the world of social media very closely indeed.
2. The For You feed never ends
If TikTok can be said to have a secret weapon, it’s the For You feed. This feed never stops; you can endlessly scroll content, and depending on what kind of content you’ve already viewed at that point, the For You feed will learn your tastes and show you videos it thinks you will like. This means that, in theory at least, you never need to stop browsing TikTok; you can simply keep scrolling until you find a video you like, and the more videos you watch, the more videos you’ll see that you like (in theory, at least).
Much has been written about TikTok’s For You algorithm and how it works. TikTok has actually released information about the factors its algorithm takes into account when it comes to building a custom For You page, but other social media platforms haven’t quite managed to replicate its success just yet. It may just be a matter of time, though!
3. Creating content is easy
If you want to make a social media platform addictive, then one of the easiest ways to do that is to make the content creation process as easy and straightforward as possible. It’s pretty much impossible to argue that TikTok doesn’t achieve this; all you need to do is tap a single button and you’re creating a video, and adding filters, text, and other effects to the video after the fact are all also incredibly simple processes.
Once you’ve created the content you want to make, then uploading it is as simple as titling it and watching it join the rest of the videos on your feed. You can repeat this process as many times a day as you like, and you’re never impeded in doing so. TikTok makes the path from idea to upload uncluttered and straightforward, and that’s part of the reason it’s managed to carve out such an addictive niche for itself.
4. Likes and comments are inherently addictive
Much has been written regarding how receiving likes and comments on social media is inherently addictive. There’s a pessimistic and an optimistic way to view this. On the one hand, it could be said that receiving likes and comments fulfils a need to be liked and appreciated; we now effectively have a numerical value we can attach to our self-worth, after all. On the other, it could be said that as long as you don’t spend too much time on TikTok, enjoying your peers’ appreciation isn’t a problem.
When you post a video and you see the first comment pop up on that video, it’s hard not to feel appreciated and seen by the TikTok community. Replying to that comment could also be the beginning of an exciting conversation that may even result in gaining a new follower, which is another metric that can quickly become addictive.
5. TikTok is always changing
Another good reason TikTok is addictive is because it’s always changing. No two instances of the app are entirely the same; it’s always adding new features and changing out features that aren’t working based on user feedback. If an update isn’t working for the community, it’ll quickly be shelved or changed so that it’s providing the best possible functionality for TikTok users.
This goes for TikTok hashtags as well. The things to make content around are different every day on TikTok. Need proof? Just fire up TikTok and take a look at what’s trending right now. Then, in exactly twenty-four hours’ time, open up that same search. You’ll see some of the same topics, sure, but we’re also willing to bet a significant number of those topics have changed. TikTok is always keeping things fresh, and so every time you open the app, it feels different.