TikTok: The pros and cons


Sophie Quisenberry

Tik Tok is a large and vast community of around 500 million users. This can make it difficult to navigate, especially considering the Tik Tok algorithm is constantly changing to fit your own “aesthetic” or interests. There are hundreds of different “sections” of Tik Tok, constantly changing and creating new trends every day. The vast amount of “sections” and trends can cause negativity especially towards body image, mental health and triggering content. Before the pros and cons are mentioned, a basic navigation guide to the different sections should be explained:

Mainstream Tik Tok: “basic,” dancers, the most known section: Charli and Dixie Damelio, Hype House, Sway house, they also have humorous videos.

Sway house: group of friends and content creators similar to hype house (shown on the right)

Dixie (37 million followers) and charli damelio (90 million followers)

Certain bands/movies Tik Tok: especially “one-Direction Tik Tok” or “Harry Potter Tik Tok”

“Cursed images/videos/humor” Tik Tok: abnormal or off-putting videos that don’t make sense and have no context yet still manage to get famous: “@mooptopia”

Mooptopia who has 2.5 million followers for her random and confusing content

Fashion: discusses, presently, fall must haves, best poses for pictures/modelling, can be different based on what your “aesthetic” is, most fast-fashion (forever 21, etc.) is not “trendy” anymore, people like thrifting and supporting local shops.
POV: Point Of View Tik Toks are acting Tik Toks that have a storyline that can sometimes even engage the viewers but putting them in the storyline as well. For example a video captioned “POV: You’re the new kid at a superhuman school.”

The captions share a story beginning with “#pov”

LGBTQ+: this is self explanatory, some Tik Tokkers dedicate their page to making LGBTQ+ people feel safe and have content they can relate to, LGBTQ+ is not a section per say, but depending on what the algorithm reads, LGBTQ+ content varies from user to user.

Not only are there “sections,” but everyone’s algorithm is based on each user’s personal interests, such as art, anime, music, “indie,” grunge, skater, etc. Tik Tok has been helpful in the fact that it has unified gen z’ers all across the world, gen z has been extremely connected through Tik Tok. It all started in 2019 with the “area 51 raid,” though there are examples that were before 2019, Area 51 raid memes were extremely widespread, and recently, to the “gen z tattoo.”

Bree (@getlostloser) famous for making “indie” more mainstream, especially her signature beaded hairstyle, she has now switched to more of a grunge style (right).

But, what happens when possibly triggering content reach possibly triggered viewers? Tik Tok has promoted unrealistic body images and even some trends reflect this body shaming attitude. An example of this is a trend in which people show their side profiles while lip-syncing the lyrics to Avril Lavigne’s song Girlfriend. This can cause people to judge their own side profile negatively or become more self conscious. Younger teens/tweens are especially affected by content that promote anorexia by either posting content specifically about anorexia or by putting out content that puts down people who have different body shapes.

While I do believe that Tik Tok has been helpful because it has made me meet a lot of new friends, learn about new topics, and expand my creativity, it, if used negatively, could have a massive negative impact on thousands of users. Unity is great when it comes to an entire generation but it can also cause a lot of issues especially body and personal expectations in a society which puts down anything that is different than the norm. Though this type of negativity is seen on numerous social media platforms, Tik Tok is one of the most widespread due to how many users are on it.