TikTok has been trying my patience recently. Since television is in the summer doldrums and I blocked myself from YouTube, TikTok has become my main means of daily entertainment. And while I have enjoyed all of the quirky content on my For You Page and the similarities between how I view myself and the type of content that I was shown, over time it has become too much.
Now, when I open the TikTok app it feels like the algorithm has created a caricature of my interests and identity by only showing me content that reflects the most overblown representations of my online persona.
My For You Page is a constant barrage of caffeinated drinks, drag queens, and social injustice. And although I love sipping a cold brew over a performance piece about intersectionality, that’s not the entirety of who I am as a person. These videos do not encapsulate all that I want to see.
Therefore, I have been putting into practice my research and knowledge on social media platforms and recommendation systems in order to curate a better For You Page For Myself. So, for those who are tired of seeing the same old content online, I have included some methods below that you can use to push your algorithm towards not only reflecting who you are but what you want to see.
Understanding the Algorithm
Each social media platform has its own unique system and formula which determines what content to recommend to you. This formula is generally based on a combination of what content you like (on TikTok there are hearts), your social network (followers, friends, etc), what content creators you subscribe to and their demographic data, and the amount of time you spend watching (or re-watching) certain types of content, to name a few things.
Therefore, the algorithm learns from you through how you interact with the content on your feeds. In the case of TikTok there is a For You Page, which includes content that the app is recommending for you, and a Followers Page, which curates all of the content from people that you have followed. The app itself makes decisions about the content that you are shown on both feeds based on the decisions that you have made while using the app.