OPINION: TikTok is overrated


Summer Fitzgerald

An NIU student takes a break from homework to watch some TikTok videos.

By Parker Otto

Out of some sick masochistic tendency, I downloaded TikTok and it’s been a living hell. How could humanity have sunk so low as to spend hours scrolling through videos by millions of attention-desperate millennials? But, as I continued to scroll, I found a great deal of stupidity as well as some unexpected surprises.

Without a guide, going through TikTok is like trekking through a lawless wasteland, full of heartbreaking disappointments. Parodies of popular songs are abundant with millions of musical morons thinking they’re the next Weird Al Yankovic. 

I saw so many strange videos and attention-hungry behavior that would make Hunter Thompson shudder. But at least Thompson had an excuse for seeing the crazy stuff he saw, he was whacked out of his mind on drugs. I’m sober and watching TikTok and, to me, that doesn’t say something good about myself. 

And then there are life hacks. Dear God in Heaven, protect me from life hacks. I don’t need to learn how to put on my socks better with a hair tie, paper clip, ballpoint pen and a Stephen King paperback. 

With the time that is spent watching life hack videos, there are plenty of quality things you could do to improve your life. Nothing monumental, but you could get your grocery list together, or you could get your wardrobe ready for the next day.

Just do anything but watch a TikTok that shows you how to tie your shoes with a wet wipe and a Red Solo cup. Just suck it up and tie your sneakers. If there’s a song from “Spongebob Squarepants” about tying your shoes, it’s not a complicated act. 

And if I see another ridiculous dancing video, I’m going to go insane. They always have to have the most ridiculous captions that either make no sense at all or are trying to be deep and insightful. It’s hard to become the next Toni Morrison when your “brilliant, life-changing quotes” are written above three people dancing to “Cotton Eye Joe.”

I’m sure my parents’ generation and my grandparents did stupid stuff. In fact, I know they did. But at least they had the decency to keep it to themselves. Everyone likes to trash Baby Boomers, but they never documented their stupidity on the levels of Millennials and Generation Z. 

With that said, there are some quality channels on TikTok. People that actually want to enrich the lives of others. I’ve seen some great videos that specialize in making food, life organization, housework and fashion. There was a great video on making honey garlic chicken that I liked and saved to my profile so I can make it one day. 

Some of the humorous videos are also pretty funny. I saw a video where a woman spent $30 on a bagel slicer and then a guy simply sliced a bagel with a knife. Anytime someone shows how a complicated process can be made simple, I am all for it. 

But this quality is buried underneath a mountain of human stupidity that makes me think that global annihilation wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. And the addiction is horrifying. When I looked at how much time I spent on the app on my first day, it was 30 minutes. I didn’t know what happened. One minute I thought to myself, “it’ll just be for a few minutes,” the next minute the sun had gone down. 

The way I view TikTok is similar to YouTube. When YouTube first started, the viral videos were ungodly annoying and the cat videos captivated our minds. But it’s evolved and the YouTuber community has become more sophisticated. There’s still stupid stuff, but it’s not as popular.

TikTok is a relatively new social sensation and a lot of these fads are going to go out of style because “fad” is just one letter away from “fade.” I hope that TikTok evolves and becomes something more enriching. But for now, I’m just going to reduce the amount of time I spend on the app. Otherwise, I’m going to become this motionless lump with blue-light damaged eyes that never gets anything done.