The Whole Comments Thing, Again

Somehow this seems like a fitting topic for this Independence Day 🙂

So the previous post was about comments on the internet. And I have written many times over the years about the folly of my original “learned” opinion about such things back in the day.

If you want to take a look at recent content of mine that’s received a few rough comments, check out episode 5 of Our Expat Journey on my YouTube channel. You’ll notice I did answer one of them because I detected respect. I think the reply represented misunderstanding. I then chose to drop it.

As far as I can tell, there is no downside to ignoring comments on most social media platforms. I have joined and tested most of them over the years because some of these platforms can be used by journalists, so I need to know them at least as well as my students. My testings and knowings should not be mistaken for mastery. And I have rarely given platforms much deep thought except the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Many I have subsequently ignored. SnapChat, for example.

But TicTok? Hmmmmm… this one is interesting. This one is evil.

I’m not talking about the question of what use the Chinese government makes of this app. The data privacy horse left the barn a long time ago. I’m talking about finally understanding something about TikTok that, well, 99 percent of you have known for a long time. It’s just so damned obvious. And evil.

[Note: I’m using “evil” in a non-spiritual sense. I mean to indicate TikTok, intended or not, exploits us. I know I packed much into that statement. Maybe I’ll go into detail sometime.]

OK, here’s my “the dumbass finally gets it” revelation: TikTok is all about feeding the trolls.

As far as I can tell, it doesn’t matter what kind of content you post (although there’s a range of typical stuff that gets attention). The way to achieve greater attention from the audience and the algorithm is to feed the trolls. You’re specifically and intentionally rewarded for this. The big three don’t operate this way. Ignoring trolls costs you little. Feeding them gains you little.

TicTok is all about attracting and feeding trolls.

So, yeah, you’re asking yourself just “how stupid is this guy?”

Well, I’ll tell you how stupid: I actually used TikTok for a bit. My username is @docfilmdirector. I was trying to do documentary film reviews. Yes, I know. What a snore! And you can guess the results.


If I were interested in TikTok success, the formula is rather easy: Do whatever, but make sure you understand and deliver clickbait. Then feed all the trolls. Also, according to a student of mine who has a successful channel: post every day, a few times if possible.

You know… kinda like the early days of blogging 🙂

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