I have grappled with the decision of whether or not to download TikTok for some time. While I’ve managed to hold out until now — getting my fix from links shared by friends and sidelong glances at my roommates phone as she scrolls through the video sharing app — it has not been easy. As the lone survivor of the TikTok apocalypse among my friends, I am often left a bit bewildered when they all collapse into fits of laughter over quotes, that to me, hold no context.
That is of course, until the collective “it’s from a TikTok” is pointed pitifully in my direction. To the bitter disappointment of those around me, I cannot renegade, roll with the punches and only recently found out who Charli D’Amelio was. I have had to keep up with the gnawing thought that my failure to download TikTok is evidence that I’m getting old — each missed woah in the renegade dance like another gray hair sprouting on my 19-year-old head.
So, in the face of so much emotional trauma, you may ask why I do not simply download TikTok and move on with my life. The practical and more obvious reason is that I do not want, as many of my counterparts have, to surrender hours of my day to an app that I need to waste in other ways. Secondly, and more importantly, my social media loyalties lie elsewhere: with Twitter. Now, I could simply have both a Twitter and a TikTok, but this seems to concede some entertainment void.
Downloading TikTok is an implicit indication that Twitter is failing to meet my need for viral memes and public shaming and I simply refuse to admit this. Twitter is the best social media available, and the nuance of entertainment it provides is so profound that I am willing to endure social shaming for my TikTok illiteracy.
The first point of comparison between Twitter and TikTok that will help render the superiority of the former apparent is the ease with which users go viral. There is a trend on TikTok in which content creators film videos of random actions and dub an audio clip over it that reads “Things on TikTok go viral for the dumbest reasons.Look that was just a thousand views.”
The duplication of this soundbite has enabled videos such as someone ironing a $20 bill or dunking their head underwater to end up on users #foryoupage. Twitter, on the other hand, has no fast fix to fame. While there are Twitter trends such as those on TikTok, these usually provide content creators with a format of a joke, not the joke itself.
Tweets that garner thousands of likes or retweets must be genuinely comical or insightful or adapt a Twitter trend in a nuanced way. Viral tweets are always laugh out loud funny or painfully relatable in a way that forces you to share them instantly with friends.
Another thing that sets Twitter apart from other social media platforms is its ability to hide news in entertainment, like your mom buying the orange juice that is half blended vegetables.
While much of Twitter is mindless quips about the struggles of being a teenager or absurd anecdotes regarding tweeters’ love lives, the platform can also help keep users informed.Twitter users include every 2020 Democratic candidate, our president (unfortunately), Greta Thunberg and Nancy Pelosi, among others.I can assure you not a single one of these people is mirroring Charli D’Amelio on TikTok. So while users are carelessly scrolling through Twitter in the Starbucks line, they can also accidently participate in our democracy, learn what candidates believe and adjust their support accordingly.
If you need any more convincing, just think about this: why do people tweet TikToks but no one TikToks tweets?