One Reason TikTok Is The Most Popular Social Media App Of The … – Forbes
Tyumen, Russia – January 21, 2020: TikTok and Facebook application on screen Apple iPhone XR
It’s all about the algorithm.
For those who study the social media space and have spent time trying to figure out how to get traction for your content, you know the algorithm that determines what users see is incredibly important. Facebook and Instagram both dominate in this space and have for years. When you see content that is appealing to you, you’re more likely to keep coming back.
That’s why, when TikTok was recently named the top social media app of 2022 so far this quarter, I took note. There must be some reason why everyone loves it.
Fortunately, there’s an answer to this question.
It all starts with the algorithm, and at the heart of the content engine that makes TikTok more appealing is the fact that the app knows what you like. When you spend extra time watching how-to videos related to plumbing, then you will start seeing more videos like that. If you prefer to watch funny short clips with trending songs, TikTok pays attention.
It feeds the beast, and the beast is you. Say what you will about this being rather nefarious or downright devious, but TikTok has figured out how to create a perpetual interest machine, always feeding content you like which makes you want to scroll more, which in turn feeds you more content you like. Imagine another company being able to do something like that. An ice cream shop knows which flavors you like, then mixes and matches to make an even more appealing flavor, which makes you want to buy even more ice cream.
In my case, I’m more drawn to anything about cars, since I’ve been reviewing them for more than a decade. I love seeing any videos that showcase a new model, and I’m a sucker for longer videos that explain some of the technology available.
There’s never been a category of technology that can feed itself like this before. What we like becomes what we love over time. It feels like the app knows us, learns about us, feeds us what we crave, and yet hinges on the fact that you will never reach the end. You will constantly keep craving more, which in turn means the app becomes even better at feeding those cravings.
In my ice cream example, it means all we will ever eat is ice cream.
I’m not exactly against this, by the way. I admire the ingenuity of a product that can create such an allure for the user, and then improve over time the more you use the product. There’s never been any product that feeds this “just one more” mentality. You might think it is chocolate chip cookies or chips and salsa, but that product doesn’t actually become more alluring over time.
TikTok has won the social media war this year so far because it has hooked the most users. I have some issues with social media companies in that regard, however. They don’t seem to know how to stop alluring users. I’d prefer if they interrupted the feed and suggested the user take a break. (I recently wrote a book about how to control 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, we can’t stop ourselves, which then creates companies like Apple and Google.
TikTok is downright mesmerizing, and it’s all about that algorithm constantly adjusting the feed as you watch certain types of videos. I’m guessing TikTok will become even more alluring throughout the year, especially if they keep feeding me more and more car videos.