Why it feels so dull after browsing TikTok? My reflection on online content

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From the debut of short video in the past to today in 2021, the business model like Tik Tok and Kuaishou created explosive growth for companies like Byte Dance, while new fields such as livestream marketing are getting more and more popular.


Behind the business boom, few have reflected on what mechanisms make users so addicted to short stimuli like short video. As an opponent of short video content, I want to speak out .

Maybe you didn’t realize you were in a world dominated by algorithms

As Chinese citizen spends an average of 8 hours a day on their phone, everyone thinks they’re consciously browsing online, with the purpose of entertaining themselves, but is that really the case?

Every time you open up the Tik Tok, the recommendation feed is the same as yesterday, this drives you to slide on until you stay on a video long enough for the machine learning to recognize your new interests. Repeat, in this sliding endless hole, the machine knows how more about how to keep you on the app, expose you with more content, on and on. This is the mechanism of short video software such as Tik Tok, such a company will only care how much time users spend on the software and the ads revenue, rather than the user’s original idea of the software - obtaining high-quality content.

Who’s doing high-quality content? What’s the difference between video streaming and traditional network media?

Unlike traditional content, short video content has several characteristics, making it a time-consuming black hole.

Short videos are as stimulating as drugs

The loud music in the dance video, the flickering picture, the dazing transition, , secreting lots of dopamine, lure you to see more subconsciously. Why do most people prefer to read Toutiao’s “Clickbait” “Shocking!” rather than RSS feed browsing; Spending more time sliding Tik Tok, Kuaishou other than sitting down to watch a movie for two hours? Direct stimuli arise at the moment the software is turned on, rather than the “gradual” content of traditional media.


What is the difference between this direct stimulation, addiction and uselessness and drugs?

If you say you’re just relaxing your tired day in this way, I’m afraid that’s what an addict is all about.

Intentionally- Did I choose what t see on my phone? Or did my cell phone choose what I should see?

As above, the answer is simple - that most people have been kidnapped by algorithms. Within two seconds, the “premium” video selected by the algorithm will rub your interests to keep you watching. Many times the audience has not considered and judged whether a short film is worth watching. The biggest platforms of short videos - Tik Tok, Kuaishou, Haokan and Xigua - have over **2 billion launches a day **

What is the benefit of short video?

According to the report by Ershicimi, the top categories of short video content are:

  • Self-depreciation entertainment
  • Love at first sight
  • Warm healing heart
  • Cool technology
  • Emotional resonance

The core of these contents by sacrificing themselves to entertain the public, dialects and dresses to make a fuss, strong visual impact to attract attention, “chicken soup” content to kidnap the audience. From the creator’s point of view, the highly visual content leads to a variety of imitations and meaningless following suit. More and more viewers are sinking into short video platforms like Tik Tok, and audiences lacking critical thinking are slowly being destroyed in algorithm.

Some of the creators, in order to attract the audience, triggered such bad events as “bath door” and “dancing in front of the bus”. Not only does it risk one’s privacy and life, but it also has a very negative impact on society. For naive audiences, such bad events only reinforce the motivation of creators to produce similar content, and more exposure to the platform.

According to the study of Jishu, sinking users (i.e. low-educated users) are the main target of short video platform. In the sinking market, the number of people with college degrees and below continues to grow, while the more educated ones become disdainful about the low quality content.


Taking advantage of the near-zero start-up cost of the media era, self-media content spread unprecedently on the network. As an audience and creator, I want people in the information era to think critically about self-media content.

Thanks for reading! Author: @Cheng Ji © All rights reserved. Published on Digiphile.