The TikTok Lottery

Folks, did you know that TikTok is a gambling platform? I had no idea. I’ve obviously never used it myself, so I thought it was one of the social media, like Twitter, Facebook, etc but for kids. Turns out, it’s nothing of the kind. It’s very straightforward gambling.

Apparently, there’s an algorithm that chooses a particular video to beam to the public. Such a video can garner tens of millions of views, making its creator a mega star instantly. It’s like winning the lottery. But the mechanisms of the algorithm are unknown. So people make a lot of completely meaningless videos in hopes that one of them will be chosen by the algorithm. Unlike YouTube, Twitter, etc. where views and likes reflect the quality of your work, TikTok is arbitrary. This reinforces the idea that hard work and effort are useless, that reality is chaotic and unpredictable, and that success is the result of stupid luck.


3 thoughts on “The TikTok Lottery

  1. And so it works exactly like the entertainment business as a whole.

    It’s not about what’s good or great, it’s about what’s being promoted.

    Because it’s cheaper and easier to sit back and wait for “the good stuff” to roll in, that’s what TikTok does, and it costs them a lot less to do it while providing a side channel for an addictive activity that’s layered on another addictive activity.

    Doesn’t matter if you can’t sing.

    These days there’s Autotune, whereas in the past the bands just made do with making the inability to sing part of the cachet, like what The Flying Lizards did.

    Doesn’t matter if you can’t play instruments.

    These days there are a number of sequencers you can use to make music out of samples, and as for arranging and producing, there’s Ableton Live.

    But some of the idea of luck is cultural, however.

    The Japanese word “ganbatte” means a combination of “good luck” and “with effort”, meaning that there’s no such idea as pure luck without doing something for it, even if it meant that the kami happened to look upon your efforts with sympathy and gave you some help.

    That’s why I used it over on your Ukrainian literature blog.

    It’s a symptom of one problem (which is bad machine translation) along with another problem (which is the problem of no exact analogue for a specific word in a language), plus it’s the exact word that’s needed.

    The song choice was similarly deliberate: Yoshinori Sunahara mixes live playing with huge libraries of samples, and so that’s how he gets that “Pan Am” 1970s retro feel out that “Theme From Take Off” song.

    Also the background voice in Japanese reading announcements, presumably from Tokyo Narita back in the 1970s …

    So you’re not going to have luck over there without some effort! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, and as I leave for the day (important context here), I offer another Japanese word (or two) …


    There are several meanings that are highly context-specific, but the one you’re looking for relates to “leaving for the day”. 🙂

    Ganbatte! 🙂


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