Have We Reached the End of TikTok’s Infinite Scroll

Golden logo at TikTok

How much time do I spend on TikTok? I can tell you which chiropractor is demonstrating their technique without even seeing their face. I know which fashion content creator is partial to Rei Kawakubo, and who has a preposterous Carol Christian Poell collection. I know which New York City microinfluencers go on vacation together, and which creators are building a modest following joking about the music of a small scene of rappers who make Playboi Carti sound like Kendrick Lamar.


Through endless hours of scrolling — an hour a day, at least, for several years now — I’ve been accumulating hyperniche expertise predicated on my interests, conscious and subconscious. The result has been a gathering of online characters that, at this point, shape my cultural consumption far more than any celebrity or news source.


This is what TikTok intends to do, tapping into pure id, drilling down on what you know and what you might want to know in hopes that you never leave the app’s forever scroll. Of all the social media platforms, it holds the greatest promise of kismet. It’s the one that has seemed most in tune with individual taste and most capable of shaping emerging monoculture.


The Rise of TikTok

The TikTok creator known as “Tunnel Girl” has been documenting her attempt to build an emergency shelter under her home. She is not the only person with an off-the-books tunnel project.


A nine-month cruise is TikTok’s favorite new “reality show,” as social media users, gripped by the potential for drama on Royal Caribbean’s world cruise, have turned the ship’s unwitting passengers into “cast members” overnight.


Hair-loss influencers on TikTok say they are destigmatizing a common insecurity. Critics say they are cashing in on a vulnerable audience.


Very few politicians, including the top candidates for president, are on TikTok. Even so, some pundits are calling 2024 the “TikTok election” because of the ballooning power and influence of the video app on political discourse.


The popular video app Omegle was beloved for producing spontaneous exchanges that became TikTok’s bread and butter. Many content creators are now mourning its demise.

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