I remember the good ol’ days of sophomore year before TikTok made its way into my nighttime routine. For months I fiercely resisted downloading the app as it grew in popularity, but when lockdown transformed banana bread-making, watercolor painting and Jazzercising into my primary pastimes, I caved.

To celebrate almost a year into this contentious relationship, here is my mini—yes, there is an extended version—TikTok tangent. 

TikTok has been a holy grail platform for small businesses and artists. For entrepreneurs, having a single viral video can create an ample community of supporters to kickstart and promote their businesses.

I can’t begin to list how many times I’ve found a new artist and have been completely blown away by their talent. Next, comes my frantic dash to their Linktree, just to find that TikTok had sold out their entire site, which makes me so happy.

Sad that I couldn’t make another addition to my trinket stash, but happy for the artist. 

What boils my blood is when I go to Target to pick up mascara, just to discover that TikTok sold out the drugstore brand mascara that I have been religiously purchasing for years. And most recently, feta cheese is the new target.

Why can’t we at least channel this enthusiasm into supporting small artists and businesses? Something about the intersection of TikTok and capitalism just doesn’t sit right with me.

On a similar note, TikTok has unquestionably increased my spending and over the past year—in clothing, accessories, décor, food—pretty much anything and everything. The app moved me to impulsively buy a guinea pig last April and now I’m just barely fighting the urge to purchase an amphibian.

Who knew I would be on board to, purchase, mother and feed freeze-dried crickets to a slimy frog named Pierre, but I guess that’s just the influence of TikTok.  

I have also noticed that I, and many others, rely on TikTok for political sources far too often. TikTok was a driving factor of education, awareness and activism for allies of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer, and still continues to be.

Although spending your time scrolling through activism-related content is the ideal way to allocate your social media consumption, should TikTok really be one’s primary educational source? 

With the seriousness of institutionalized racism, oppression and white supremacy in America, I think we should be investing more time self-educating with credible books, articles, documentaries, etc. I feel that so much more can be done than scrolling through TikTok. 

Since downloading, I have also noticed a huge decrease in my attention span. Given that these videos are made by cramming as much content possible into a 60 second or less timeframe, it’s easy to spend what feels like 15 minutes on TikTok to actually be an hour.

Now that I am so accustomed to brief blubs of information, I have found reading, watching shows and even paying attention during Zoom classes to be a newfound challenge.  

Pre-TikTok Natalie was a Great British Bake-off binge watcher, and I miss those days, oh so much. With the exception of the Hulu masterpiece “Normal People” and the recent release of “The Queen’s Gambit,” I haven’t watched an entire series start to finish since this app store purchase last March.

I wish I could say I made a remarkable lifestyle change and swapped my streaming consumption for meditation or journaling, but my only excuse is I can’t sit down and watch a show for much longer than 15 minutes. Instead, I’m spending this time on tarot card reading TikTok.

Yes, TikTok has brought me much joy and laughter during this challenging year, but maybe it’s time. You’ve been a fun edition to the past year of my life, but TikTok, I think this is farewell. 

Natalie Rieth is an arts & entertainment editor. Follow her on Twitter: @natalie_rieth.

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