"When you gaze into TikTok, TikTok gazes into you," wrote Eugene Wei, a tech blogger, in 2020, explaining the almost clairvoyant nature of TikTok. What the algorithm sees as it gazes into the writer, a neophyte user, is anyone's guess: a random feed delivers tips on how to design a ball gown, someone barking at a dog, Rod Stewart with a hankie on his head, and (phew!) Maya Angelou reciting Phenomenal Woman.
This writer is quite clear, however, about what he sees in TikTok. It is not just the busty seductiveness of many of the clips that he cannot help noticing. It is the serious money changing hands. And the unmistakable thrill of creative destruction.