Myspace, Xanga, Tumblr, Facebook, AIM, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, - if you name a popular social media platform, I’ve probably at least dabbled in it. I’ll never forget my first foray into Myspace, where I spent two hours combing through public accounts until I found one that had the exact song I wanted to steal to put onto my own profile - “No Rain” by Blind Melon. I was mesmerized by the endless amount of template choices, and the high I got when I coded my page just so perfectly. One time I incorporated the most incredible Hollister background into my motif. I was so proud of my page that I even showed my mom, who I tried to hid all of my online activity from. And don’t get me started on AIM - the sound of the creaking door opening as your crush’s screen names appears still gives me chills.
Images from doyoulovethe2000s
All this to say, I’ve spent a large majority of my life online and experimenting with almost every new social media platform.
And of all of the platforms I’ve ever used, TikTok is where I’ve had the most enjoyable, validating, and comforting experiences.
I don’t come to TikTok for the WAP dance challenges (although I had an incredible time learning it this summer with friends). I come for annaxsitar, who is documenting her grieving a breakup in a beautiful and honest way. It’s where we can all commiserate that Levitating by Dua Lipa does indeed have drugs in it. This is where I go to find solace in water droplet content. It’s where I discovered #midsizedfashion (creator marycjskinner is a great follow for this), and where I found women who look like me fully embracing their body. Here you’ll find former show kids thriving, sharing their extremely specific experiences that I also relate to. I really could wax poetic about the platform.
People are funny! People are creative! I LOVE TIKTOK!
Let’s dive a little bit deeper, specifically comparing the Instagram user experience to TikTok. With Instagram, I’m compelled to follow acquaintances who I might not follow on other platforms and therefor view their perfectly curated life. I too curate my life on Instagram, and feel more pressured there to show the “highlights,” which in my experience, is not how I feel on TikTok. There, I enjoy sharing different - perhaps more “mundane” - parts of my life, that I still find entertaining. I also feel that I can better curate who I follow and what content I consume on TikTok (how often do you ask someone for their TikTok handle as opposed to their Insta?).
When I finally close out of the app after a long scrolling session (yes, it is addicting), I’m left feeling good about my body, my mental health, my life experiences. Who knew this was possible on social media?! This feeling is not because I am comparing myself to the creators in the videos I’ve watched, but rather relishing that we have so many similarities and that in fact, I am not so alone.
I’m sure if I was in middle school using TikTok and seeing girls in my class record dances together, which I wasn’t invited to partake in, would wreck me. But I can only speak to my experience and perspective as a 29-year-old who grew up in the age of social media.
TikTok has me clinging onto whatever youth it is I have left. And I’m here for it.
If you’re on TikTok, hit me with that follow