Tyumen, Russia – January 21, 2020: TikTok and Facebook app on screen Apple iPhone XR
It’s all about the algorithm.
For those of you who study the social media space and spend time figuring out how to get traction for your content, you know the algorithms that determine what users see are incredibly important. . Both Facebook and Instagram dominate this space and have been for years. When you see content that attracts you, you are more likely to come back.
So, when TikTok was recently named the top social media app of 2022 so far this quarter, I took a look at it. There must be some reason why everyone loves it.
Fortunately, there is an answer to this question.
It all starts with the algorithm, and at the heart of the content engine is what makes TikTok more appealing, is that the app knows what you like. When you spend extra time watching plumbing how-to videos, you’ll see more videos like this one. If you love watching funny short clips with trending songs, then TikTok takes care of it.
It feeds the animal, and the animal is you. Say what you will about it being nefarious or downright devious, but TikTok has figured out how to make a lasting interest machine, always feeding your choice of content that makes you want to scroll more, which in turn feeds you more content that you love. Imagine any other company capable of doing something like this. An ice cream shop knows which flavor you like, then mixes and matches to create a more appealing flavor, making you want to buy even more ice cream.
In my case, I’m more attracted to cars than anything I’ve been reviewing them for over a decade. I love watching any video that showcases a new model, and I’m a sucker for long videos that explain some of the available technology.
Never before has there been a category of technology that can feed itself like this. What we like is what we love over time. It seems that the app knows us, learns about us, feeds us what we want, and yet hinges on the fact that you will never reach the end. You’ll be constantly craving more, which means the app gets even better at feeding those cravings.
In my ice cream example, this means that everything we eat is ice cream.
Well, I am not against it at all. I admire the simplicity of a product that can create such an attraction for the user, and then improves over time the more you use the product. There has never been a product that nurtures this “just one more” mentality. You might think it’s chocolate chip cookies or chips and salsa, but that product doesn’t actually get more appealing over time.
Tiktok has won the battle of social media so far this year as it has caught the maximum number of users. However, I do have some issues with social media companies in that regard. They don’t know how to stop attractive users. I would prefer if they interrupt the feed and suggest users take a break. (I recently wrote a book about controlling bad social media habits using a daily routine.) As is often the case with the best and smartest technology, we become so obsessed with it. Well, we can’t stop ourselves, which then makes companies like Apple and Google.
TikTok is downright mesmerizing, and it’s all about the algorithm that constantly adjusts the feed as you watch certain types of videos. I think TikTok will get even more attractive throughout the year, especially if they keep feeding me more and more car videos.