TikTok Doesn’t Have to be Toxic

November 6, 2020

Ola Weber
Ola Weber

4 min read

TikTok has taken our world by storm. And, let’s be honest, we’re not mad about it. It offers you literally whatever you want. Dog TikTok? Sure. Cottage core TikTok? Yes! Comedy TikTok? Bring it on! For every interest, TikTok can expertly curate your feed to hit you with entertaining content. 

However, TikTok has a dark side that people often don’t think about when they’re busy scrolling through adorable puppy videos. While TikTok’s algorithm is exceptionally good at recommending content it knows will catch your attention (using complicated algorithms that I’m sure you don’t want to hear about), that also means that it may be picking up on other parts of our subconscious thinking that we’re not even aware of.

Rather than delve into the depths of the crazy TikTok algorithm, let’s keep this as simple as possible: the longer you interact with a post on TikTok, the more likely you are to see other content similar to that particular post on your For You Page.

So, for example, if I’m liking and interacting with posts all about fashion, you can bet that my FYP will be full of other girls trying on clothes and providing regular outfit inspiration. And while it’s obviously really convenient that you don’t have to work very hard to get content you enjoy, it can also easily spiral out of control and lead to a toxic relationship with the app. And that’s what I want to help you avoid. 

For all its entertainment value, we need to be aware of the traps that TikTok’s devious algorithm sets for us.

Take me for example. As someone who has suffered from and knows people with eating disorders, I’ve had to learn the hard way that a lot of the content on TikTok can be triggering. I might see someone with my “ideal” body type posting about what she eats in a day, and end up subconsciously interacting with it because I’m curious, only to find that she eats an unhealthily low amount of calories. But TikTok — omniscient being that it is — notices that I engaged with the post for some time, and starts feeding me more similar content. Without realizing it, my FYP is getting inundated with posts that trigger my subconscious back to the days when I had such an unhealthy relationship with food. There are “what I eat in a day” videos that show someone eating an immense amount of food, triggering many people to ask “why can’t my metabolism work that fast” or “that’s not fair why can’t I eat like that and look like her”. Comment sections will be filled with “I’m not eating for the rest of the day” or “I would kill myself for that metabolism”. Although these comments might seem trivial, constantly seeing them fill your feed is far from healthy. 

For all its entertainment value, we need to be aware of the traps that TikTok’s devious algorithm sets for us. Even better, we can set some counter-traps of our own to curate our pages to foster a more supportive and encouraging mindset. So here it is — your beginner’s guide to creating a healthy for you page that will make you feel welcomed and safe on an app that has a lot of good stuff to offer!

01 @imnotbunny

@imnotbunny is your go-to girl.

She is hilarious and her confidence radiates right through the screen. In a video someone asked her “how do you have so much confidence” and she matter-of-factly responded with “Simple…my worth isn’t based solely on my physical appearance”.

Bunny posts multiple times a day, so including her in your feed is sure to make an impact — and a positive one — on your FYP. And honestly, her content just never disappoints. In addition to her TikTok, be sure to follow her on instagram @bunny.bispo for more awesome body positivity inspo!

02 @mikkzazon

Where do I start with @mikkzazon?

Chances are you already know who she is. With nearly 1 million followers on TikTok, Mik spreads self love and body positivity. But she doesn’t limit herself to just one platform — you can find her amazing vibes on Instagram and YouTube as well.

In addition to her messages of body positivity, she’s also open about her struggles suffering with acne and her journey to having healthy skin. She’s quick to call out unhealthy trends on social media and to warn her followers about the dangers of diet culture. But, most of all, she just wants you to feel welcomed and beautiful!! Make sure to follow her on TikTok, and if you’re looking for her on Instagram you can find her at @mikzazon

03 @siennamae

Now, if you’re already pretty active on TikTok, then I know you know @siennamae!

In the past month, Sienna has gained around 7.3 million followers as a result of her “squirrel” videos. But Sienna also inadvertently kickstarted the movement of women showcasing their real, normal bodies while dancing on TikTok. Her first video showcasing her whole stomach — without hiding her lower abs behind high-waisted leggings — absolutely blew up TikTok! 

Her positive content will be sure to put a smile on your face and, hey, you might just want to hop on to one of her trends and post a video!

04 @lizzo

Do I even need to give you reasons to follow @lizzo?

Well, if I do, here are just a few: She’s absolutely hilarious, and even has a blast interacting with her fans on social media! Lizzo’s content has everything — her singing, working out, telling jokes, and just having some good ol’ fun.

As if that wasn’t enough, Lizzo also uses the TikTok platform to show off her incredible cooking skills and, if you stay around long enough, you might just be lucky enough to get the recipe! Make sure to follow Lizzo on ALL social media platforms because she’s sure to brighten your day. Oh, and listen to her music too 🙂

05 @brittanilancaster

Last but not least — you MUST check out @brittanilancaster! 

She’s an incredible influencer on TikTok who uses that influence to open up about recovering from two eating disorders. Her motto is “balance is key” and that’s what you’re sure to get in her content. She creates those well-known “what I eat in a day” videos, but hers are a necessary counterbalance to the similar videos you see that promote unhealthy eating habits. She also gives tips and tricks to find a healthy balance to the way we exercise which not a lot of people address.

Check @brittanilancaster out, you won’t be disappointed! 

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