TikTok: Why do social networks make people addicted?

The digital environment in which we live, especially social networks, has completely changed the way we interact. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp are platforms where users communicate not only with their friends and family, but also with brands and public organizations. This creates an ecosystem that is now part of the community.

In this context and in recent years, the Chinese company ByteDance in September 2016 launched the social network TikTok for the non-Chinese market. Its goal is to create and share short videos. Little by little, TikTok has established itself as one of the most used apps in the world, especially among the youth. In fact, it became the most downloaded app in the world in 2020. In the US, it has managed to overtake Instagram in terms of popularity among Generation Z. This data shows the rapid growth of the app industry.The platforms that provide viewing and creativity from short videos.

The popularity of these tools makes them phenomenal for study; One of the most popular approaches to social media, both in academia and in the professional world, is the membership approach. It is about how to manage the interaction of users in the digital world, and motivate them to spend more and more time on the platform.

Three reasons to crack for TikTok

Previous research has shown that three variables directly affect the number of hours a user spends on these platforms. This means the degree of his association with them.

Users seek to share content and also feel validated. Hs You / Flickr, CC BY-ND

The first variable that was studied is the presence of constant motivation. It is the one who leads the user to continue to use the platform and is an extension of the demand on the social network. This persistent motivation is directly related to satisfaction when using social networks. Additionally resulting from receiving positive comments, likes or other rewards in this environment.

The second motivation for using social media is the desire to share experiences. When we use social media, we are not just looking to consume content. We also want to create it. Because through this act of sharing, we generate a sense of belonging to the community, by making our contributions. If collaboration is encouraged within the community, users develop greater participation. and increase the use of the platform.

Finally, in the case of platforms that provide the possibility of creating video content, the ability to produce high-quality videos is also taken into account. We see that as users feel that they have a real ability to create quality content in video format, they tend to make more consistent use of the social network.

Generational differences

There are many variables that influence our tendency to become addicted to certain apps.  Shinji Rice / Unsplash
There are many variables that influence our tendency to become addicted to certain apps. Shinji Rice / Unsplash

Given the above and the fact that those who spend the most time on these networks are generations Y (Millennials) and Z, we conducted research to analyze whether and to what extent these variables influence their use of TikTok. A total of 1,419 Millennials and 882 Millennials (born in 1995 and 2011) participated.

After our study, we found that while everyone claims that all three variables directly influence platform membership, the weight of each variable varies with generation. On the other hand, millennials show a strong correlation between the level of engagement and the ability to share behaviors or make videos. On the other hand, Gen Z indicates a stronger relationship. With the possibility of systematically receiving incentives to use it more.

Create high-quality videos, share them, and feel supported by the TikTok community…

Looking at the case of TikTok, it should be noted that the impact of the community’s perceived ability to create these videos is beyond doubt. If users feel they have the ability to create great content on TikTok, because others check it out, they will be more committed to the platform.

So it can be concluded that the sharing of behaviors, the possibility of creating videos, and the constant renewal of motivations directly affect the commitment to TikTok of these two generations.

It has been proven that the variable most affecting the stickiness generated by this type of video platform is the ability to share content. Users’ willingness to do so, as well as to have other experiences or receive feedback, leads to more consistent use of TikTok. These results underscore the purely social nature of this type of platform.

It is necessary to understand what directly affects the feeling of social network users. Not only to develop more effective advertising, marketing and communication strategies, but also to mitigate and address negative effects – such as addiction – that can result from their use.

About the authors:
Patricia Duran Alamo.
Professor of the Department of Electronic Commerce and Research at Mercados Un La UAH, University of Alcala.
Pablo Gutierrez Rodriguez. Professor of Marketing at the University of Lyon.
Pedro Cuesta Valeno. Professor of Marketing at the University of Alcala.

This article has been republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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