On Tiktok and Instagram Reels

Sun May 14 2023

tags: personal public short musings

Last night a friend showed me her Instagram DMs. Too many of her conversations were reels back and forth punctuated by a few words of filler reaction ("lol", "HAHAHAHAHA", "very cool", etc). How could it be otherwise? There are no scintillating rejoinders to a tiktok where someone is pulling funny faces while making a very large portion of food.

It is good to share Internet stuff with one's friends. But these tiktoks are so vacuous that they terminate thought instead of sparking discussion. They are the 2020s version of an MSN nudge or a Facebook poke: they contain the form of a message, but have none of the substance, like biting into a xiaolongbao and getting only air.

A conversation of reels is a poor substitute for an actual one. It's become far too easy to ping-pong Tiktoks back and forth; far too easy to shirk the work of having real conversations with the people you love.