TikTok brings raw, unedited humor we really need

Brandon Flanery 

bflanery@uccs.edu 

Sept. 10, 2020

     For those of you who utilize all flavors of social media (AKA, about 99% of you), you’re aware of the new Instagram feature called “Reels,” and anyone who is remotely aware of all the gossip will know that this is yet another ploy by Instagram (AKA Facebook) to steal the experience of another app (AKA TikTok) and make it their own. 

     So, beyond the question of which app we should use out of intellectual integrity (*cough* TikTok), let’s ask the more important question: which one is better, Reels or TikTok? 

     First and foremost, let me start by saying I adopted Instagram’s Stories feature in a heartbeat and bailed on Snapchat (yes, I was not integrous here; I get it, I’m a hypocrite). The idea that Snapchat was built to hide images has always disturbed me. Let’s be honest, it was built for dick pics. When I was given the opportunity to consolidate my silly stories with my deep, introspective, artistic posts on Instagram, I made the leap. 

     So why am I not jumping to Instagram this time to replace TikTok and not have to scramble through the many apps I use? 

     Ummm… because TikTok is better. 

A smart phone with an image of the app TikTok on the screen.
Stock photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

     Let me start by saying that when TikTok first came out, it was called Music.ly, and the only people I knew who used it were the creepy kids I worked with at a sex-offender halfway house. Not a good selling point. 

     But when a pandemic hit the world, I was stressed with surviving school and needed something to make me laugh and get those happy chemicals flowing through my body. I adopted TikTok, and I’m so glad I did. 

     Hours pass as I consume hundreds of videos. But why is the content so much better on TikTok than Reels? Why is the app superior to what Instagram is attempting to create? I’m so glad you asked. I’ve compiled a list (*licks finger and dramatically unfurls a long metaphorical scroll*). 

  1. Whatever data TikTok is mining, it is learning my humor better than I know myself. So far, I’ve learned I love drinking moms who make fun of their children, gay men who throw shade at straight men, and dark humor that has culminated in John Wayne Gacy going to his basement for a “snack” (yes, I know I have issues; I’m in counseling).  
  1. The ability to use other people’s content to fuel your own is on a whole new level with TikTok. TikTok lets you duet with someone and take their audio file to make your own video. The result is a two-billion-mind brainstorm, where content may start with a kid talking about being a potato, but now it has been transformed into something far more beautiful about childhood trauma (again, I’m in therapy). 
  1. Unlike Facebook, where old people repost uninformed content, or Instagram, where people curate their lives to look perfect, TikTok owns the human element. People sing and dance and create from their humanity. It’s not nearly as polished and put together as other platforms, which sounds like it would make the experience trash. But it doesn’t. In a world where we all feel like we’re barely catching a break, we all need a bit more humanity, and a lot less perfection. When I spend 20 minutes (or two hours, no judgment) on TikTok, I feel less stressed, rather than more. That’s not the case with the perfect fake lives I see on Instagram. 
  1. By simply using the app, you get to stick it to President Trump and the U.S. government.  

     So, what am I saying? If it’s not clear, ditch Reels and download TikTok. It is, by far, superior. And if this 30-year-old can use the app and enjoy it, you millennials and Gen Zers most definitely can. Happy scrolling!