My Thoughts On Tiktok And Yoyoing

TikTok is also where lip-syncing badly is considered a millennial artform.


TikTok is just like any other social platform. You have loud extremists, adolescent ‘influencers’, people just trying to schill products, and people making content for specific audiences. The trick is just like instagram and Facebook, you find and follow the creators you like (for me mostly comedians, musicians, arts&crafts, and now throwers). The platform itself is just as inundated with idiots and attention-fiends as any other, but you can always make it work for you. I think it seems worse (and I was anti-tiktok for a LONG time) because the initial feed is all least-common-denominator type material. Like weekday programming on local channels. Start liking things you like and the algorithm actually does a pretty good job at catering to you.

It’s like a hammer. You just gotta find a nail you want to whack.


You are being psychologically manipulated no different than how slot machines are designed to do the same. Keep you coming back for more. Sure you think it feels good and offers you something true or real or of value. You’re just high.

YoYo is the same with anything else. The people who actually love to do a thing will carry it forward for that love. Everyone else will carry it forward for the myriad of other reasons people do anything.

An old P.K.D. quote -

“But I consider that the matter of defining what is real — that is a serious topic, even a vital topic. And in there somewhere is the other topic, the definition of the authentic human. Because the bombardment of pseudo- realities begins to produce inauthentic humans very quickly, spurious humans — as fake as the data pressing at them from all sides. My two topics are really one topic; they unite at this point. Fake realities will create fake humans. Or, fake humans will generate fake realities and then sell them to other humans, turning them, eventually, into forgeries of themselves. So we wind up with fake humans inventing fake realities and then peddling them to other fake humans. It is just a very large version of Disneyland. You can have the Pirate Ride or the Lincoln Simulacrum or Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride — you can have all of them, but none is true.”

― Philip K. ■■■■


I love how an overly aggressive, and simplistic content guardian algorithm has redacted the last name of a celebrated science fiction author. Philip K. himself, I think, would not be surprised by this.


I do think that, just as it’s possible to go to Disney Land and experience (the now defunct) Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride without assuming it to be true, it’s possible to experience social media with the same attitude.

I’ve personally shared a lot of yo-yo ideas through various social media, and I’ve had meaningful dialog regarding those ideas which would never have otherwise happened.

I think for that purpose it’s ok, but it’s too easy to recline into the comfy assumption that you somehow enhance your value by polishing the internet token which represents you. In the same way that impressionable kids (and, oh yes, grown ups) idolize and deify the people and players who are desperately crafting their own highly specialized digital likeness. That’s a magnetic black hole - maybe it makes all these platforms inherently twisted and malevolent, or maybe resisting it makes your daily reality feel more authentic in relief.

I’ve never tried to convey a consolidated “message” through Insta/Tik-Tok/FB/YouTube… unless that message “is it’s ok to be old, have a family, be fundamentally non-competitive, and still chase weird ideas through yo-yoing, budo, music, and whatever else”. Of COURSE it’s an illusion - but we pick which illusions we’re going to live in with or without our phone.


You are actually being highly psychologically manipulated whether you notice it or not. It isn’t a choice you get to make unfortunately. It’s been made for you. The goal of these apps is to get one more look/view and one more button push or whatever they want. They’ve developed ways to stimulate your brain/chemicals and they are very good at it and have eye contact and response times measured in milliseconds. They understand burnout and fatigue and all the other human reasons you aren’t on their service enough and how to overcome them for more views. They’ve developed ways to stimulate you so there is no tolerance build up! Like fast food figured out how to do decades ago.

I agree with Richard Feynman, technology is not inherently good or evil. It’s what we do with it. Teen suicide rates have exploded (especially young girls) and much of the data linking to the increase is social media influence. I’m not sure how you would want balance that side with the meaningful dialog part while you are both being manipulated? Maybe you think I meant something else? I understand you can easily have a community while not extorting or manipulating that community in some or multiple ways. Tiktok does not do this. Nor does FB or IG or YT. I know we’ve monetised everything we can so it’s just business as usual for 2021. Problem is all this data has also been weaponized, but of course it had to be, after seeing billions in profits, there was always going to be a fight for it.

Love has its own energy. It communicates itself by itself. If you or a communication technology or device is viewed as being the source of this energy, that is a mistake. If you understand you already have everything you need, then you can share. Otherwise what are you sharing? Your need for attention? Your need for acceptance? To be seen? To not be lonely? To pretend? To escape reality/truth?


I would say I’m sharing (and receiving) ideas. Specifically, new ideas with respect to yo-yo tricks which I hadn’t considered and which I find invigorating to explore.

I’m learning that Tik Tok is NOT the medium for this. If I were to try to argue any benefit to it from a yo-yo perspective it would only be (as others have said) to expose potential players to a pursuit they might find meaningful. But I don’t even find it all that valuable in that respect. It just becomes a dopamine-flooded visual echo-chamber, and I’m pretty sure most people who might be inclined to try yo-yoing through it either A) find it easier and more pleasurable to just keep scrolling, or B) only pick up the yo-yo in effort to emulate what they perceive as the outward success of Angelo, Gentry, or whoever else does the cool bind and has a ton of likes. There’s little foundation there and doesn’t feel sustainable at all.

Over the last few years (or decade?) most of the yo-yo tricks I’ve shared and taken in have been over Instagram. There’s a give and take, and I’m able to have a lot of “trick conversations” over the platform which have influenced the way I play. I don’t know that I take more joy or pleasure from yo-yoing because of using it, but it’s kept the journey feeling fresh, and it’s given me a quick window into many close friends’ lives (and attitudes toward play) which I do find rewarding. That said, I DON’T use that platform to “go looking” for yo-yo content, and I recognize that someone who is using the “Explore” function is sifting through thousands of accounts which feed the most exhilarating and/or titillating material, which makes it no better than Tik Tok.

I don’t view any platform as the source of any particular energy (like Feynman). Maybe my mistake is an assumption that people will simply observe and evaluate their own use of this technology and try to recognize how and whether they feel they are being “influenced”. I don’t disagree with your perspective on how damaging social media is for young people forming foundational ideas of who they are and where/whether they fit into the world. I try to consider my use of these platforms pretty objectively, and I don’t think my content contributes negatively to the landscape.

Whether there CAN be any positive content within a net-negative matrix is a whole other thing. My last point with respect to picking and choosing illusions was meant to express that social media aren’t the only negative matrices people rely on. Everything we consume bolsters illusions which corroborate or inflate our sense of self. In a world where every yo-yo trick posted has a value of attached likes/views, is it possible for a developing player/person to “just share”?

In the early 00’s these same conversations were held about how and whether online forums really helped or hindered yo-yoing because they encouraged players to focus more on building/maintaining online identity than playing for its own sake. Same thing could be argued for competition. The big difference is that those things aren’t endemic to technologies which exploit by design.

*oof. Sorry for the tome.


This seems like a good place to drop my chat with Angelo Aguirre about TikTok and yo-yoing. He’s gained about 300k new followers since this video came out… which I’m sure was probably just because of how good this video was :wink:


I haven’t read through this thread much but in my worthless opinion I feel that the exposure is cool but the tricks can be boring and redundant . Angelo is pretty nuts with it but other than that i personally have little interest .


Nah what you said about the tricks on there is very true


Ah. We’re talking about separate things. :wink:

Many people only want to become skillful at something for the attention. Now that attention has been so well monetized to anyone who can gain followers and subscribers even more so. It has nothing to do with them loving the skill and performance of it. They just want something for it, not for the love of it. Therefore they are being inauthentic human beings. They are not following their own heart/passion/love. Many have said they are afraid because they don’t think they have ‘it’ or ‘enough’ of it already and ‘need’ this talent or popularity to be happy or at peace. That’s all a lie. Did you lay the things down that are making you suffer? If so, you are free, you are at peace. The rest really is a dog and pony show so the merits of such are inconsequential, history has proven that. It will be what it always has been. A mix of everything there can be, we will make sure of that. Stuff and Technology cannot offer happiness or peace but we’ve sold anything and everything for thousands of years saying so. You can tell a lie thousands of times but it never becomes true.

Like a famous pianist said, (don’t remember who), “I don’t particularly like the piano I just like the way my fingers feel going over the keys” or close to that. That’s the important part to me. That love will not waste time trying to gain followers or attention. If it happens fine, if not fine. You will be doing something you love, there is nothing else needed in that state, it is complete. Like has been said, ‘Less instead of more, what could be simpler’.

“and still, the greatest sadness, is fake happiness.” -unkn


On TikTok you don’t pick what to watch — the videos are served to you in an endless stream.

Each user’s feed is unique, and labelled “For You”.

What you see is picked by the algorithm — a set of computerised instructions that, in theory, work out what you want, and give you more of it.

As soon as you sign up, TikTok starts collecting data about your location, gender and age and, more contentiously, your facial data.

The more you “like” videos, follow an account, or watch a TikTok video until it ends, the more the algorithm learns about your interests.

“What really sets TikTok apart … is just how accurate and how up-to-the-minute this For You page recommender system seems to be,” QUT researcher Dr Bondy Kaye says.

“It is very hard to break that cycle, and it’s by design that you never really get to the end of the content.”

The more it keeps you scrolling, the more ads you see. That’s what’s catapulted TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to a value of more than $250 billion.

Article: TikTok Moderators Were Told To Not Promote Posts From Users Who Are Ugly, Poor, Overweight, Or Disabled

These algorithms have been shown to do much more curating and promotion of content. The goals of which are not disclosed. Not to mention they are designed to addict you to the service as mentioned.