Scrolling … scrolling … gone. (Hours gone, that is.)
Standout social media app TikTok has gotten pretty good at keeping its users on its platform, and indulgers are having a hard time kicking the habit, as has been widely reported.
Open Influence CEO and social media expert Eric Dahan said in an interview with Fox News Digital that it’s no surprise TikTok’s personally curated algorithm has its users hooked.
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TikTok’s main feed called the “For You” page provides short videos that are circulated based on each user’s specific interactions with the app and its content.
The results prove, he said, that the feed really is made “for you.”
“The real secret sauce is the algorithm,” the influencer marketing company executive said.
“It’s layering in a really solid content recommendation algorithm and the content format is really bite-sized,” he added.
“And so, the algorithm can quickly learn — and the user can pan through it.”
Longtime radio host Celeste Headlee, author of the book “Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving,” had her own interesting comments to share on the topic.
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Fox News Digital sat down with her recently at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She explained that, in her view, TikTok is “designed to be addictive.”
The author, who’s done research on the topic of avoiding burnout and achieving true rest, said that the social media app actually “tricks your brain” by “shooting in dopamine.”
“It’s called the addiction hormone for a very good reason,” she said.
“It’s the exact same hormone that’s triggered by pulling a slot machine,” she added.
Headlee encouraged those who may be looking to pull back on their TikTok use to remember that the effort will be about “literally breaking an addiction.”
“It’s going to take a little time. It’s going to take effort,” said Headlee, who is based in D.C.
“And you’re going to have to be strategic about it.”
Dahan said that TikTok’s short-form video format specifically aligns with the interests of Gen Z — the primary user age group — such as mobile video creation and staying up-to-date on the latest trends.
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“That makes it a lot more engaging than just really good content recommendation,” he said.
“That’s why it’s addictive.”
Fox News Digital reached out to TikTok for comment.
Dahan mentioned that, compared to other social media apps, TikTok’s format is skewed against social connection, since users can scroll for hours and hours and never interact with a single person.
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“TikTok is really a content app,” he said. “It’s not this reciprocal platform where you’re interacting back and forth” with others.
Instead, the app seemingly “reads your brain,” Dahan described — based on personal thoughts and interests.
“It’s got the right balance, kind of narrowing in on what you’re interested in while sort of showing you what you may be interested in,” he said.
While the app has the intention of entertaining, TikTok is most often used to leverage brands.
Dahan mapped out the powerful scale of how TikTok moves markets and consumer interest, as more people hop on the trend of “TikTok made me buy it.”
“TikTok is selling out products that do well on the platform,” he said. “The virality that’s possible on TikTok — it’s uncapped.”
“With Instagram, you’re sort of capped at your audience, while on TikTok, it’s really common where you create a great piece of content and you’ll reach an audience that’s multiple, multiple, multiple times larger than your follower base.”
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The influencing executive revealed that TikTok has become a “sizable portion” of Open Influence’s own business.
“It’s becoming, increasingly, a key platform for engaging consumers,” he said. “TikTok has a massive amount of influence.”
TikTok continues to drive other media sectors such as music — as today’s top-streamed songs are commonly used and discovered first as TikTok sounds.
It also has been known for driving the news cycle, since the app is a growing news source for many.
“You can get news of different political views, or from different thought leaders depending on your interest,” Dahan said.
“So, it does tend to be a way of stories being broken to consumers through creators and with the lens of those creators’ perspective.”
“It is really interesting to kind of see its effect on the news cycle,” he added.
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