I Felt Like A Fool Joining TikTok -- Then I Was Shamed By A Teenager
After seeing some very funny clips on Instagram and wondering what all the fuss was about, last week I signed up for social media app of the moment, TikTok.
I could see the appeal straight away, lots of hilarious cat and dog-based comedy as well as plenty of dancing and lip syncing to catchy tunes. A complete time waster, but the people getting millions of hits are genuinely funny, clever or gorgeous so it makes for compelling, if not pointless viewing.
To be honest I felt a bit of a d**k making my first video, but I can’t lie it was a distracting few minutes of fun in an otherwise chore-filled day. I didn’t think that much more about it and carried on fixing up dinner and putting the kids to bed.
Later that night, I noticed I had a few TikTok notifications. I had one from a friend and a few random likes but I also had a burn from a teenage girl who commented that ‘boomers were taking over TikTok’.
Ouch. Firstly, it’s depressing to be called a boomer at 40 when I’m clearly on the cusp of Gen X and Y.
Secondly, I felt like a fool for daring to enter this predominately youthful hang-out because in spite of what my nine-year-old son thinks, I vividly remember being a young teenager and I would have felt the same way.
Old people on TikTok or Snapchat is a bit like your mum turning up at a great party. It’s embarrassing, a bit weird and young people need a space all of their own.
Even though it was only one comment and it wasn’t even personal, I changed my account settings to private (for now) and I will keep my embarrassing mum-clips to myself.
After taking a bit more time to explore, I can see that the only ‘old’ people who are visible on TikTok are about 28 (super ancient) and they are also hot or funny.
The only other group of old people are the mums and dads being pranked by their kids. In fact, there seems to be a whole category dedicated to pranking unsuspecting mums and dads and while some clips are hilarious, others seem a bit mean.
I thought perhaps it was time to stop looking at TikTok, so I went back to my more familiar and comfortable surrounds of Facebook.
Scrolling through the depressing news article shares, tips on parenting and family snaps from people I haven’t seen in 20 years, I suddenly realised why young people don’t bother with Facebook.
There was a lot of complaining about the weather and the state of the world and when you get old, that’s fair enough because life it busy and often hard and we have plenty to complain about. Also -- I do love an occasional political rant myself.
But social media is supposed to be social and fun and silly, and this is exactly what TikTok reminded me about.
I have no desire to make a complete fool of myself; I’m not comedic, I’m not a good dancer, I certainly can’t sing but I love the premise of TikTok. It’s so creative with its green screen backgrounds, filters, music and effects and goodness knows us ‘old people’ need to have a bit of escapist fun sometimes.
Perhaps just like Instagram, us oldies will quietly sneak on to TikTok while the youth are still in bed and before they know it, the cool sexy young people party is filled with a bunch of hapless, embarrassing parents having a good time.
Or maybe we won’t, because we have jobs to do and kids to raise but just occasionally I might take a moment to take a look at what the young people are up to because they can certainly remind us oldies how to have a giggle.
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