Parametric TikTok

This is a quick ramble about Parametric TikTok — a pattern shaped by the recommendation algorithm where creators make viral formats and bombard them w/ variation, not unlike processes seen w/ GANs and style transfer.

My favorite instance of this is Little Durag1, who created a viral dance set to Metro Station2 (lol) and proceeded to feed it input sourced from comments.

“Dance at 10% with 100% emotion.” “0% dance, 0% emotion, 100% far away.” “100% dance and 100% sadness.” “10% emotion, 100% dance.” “100% right arm, 10% left arm.”

What’s interesting is the feedback loop between how parametric the whole thing is and the TikTok algorithm — itself a parametrically weighted system.

The “killer feature” on TikTok is the algorithm — the sauce determining what appears in For You, the primary surface. It’s noticeably better than anything similar, like Instagram Discover.

Apps are mediums of their own. What is appropriate for one platform may feel out of place on another. The context shapes the content.

Parametric TikTok is truly native to the platform.

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2020 fire season on the west coast has been… rough.

Looking at the map of active fires in September is physically painful. Last year I walked the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Many miles I passed through have burnt. Zooming in on hotspots trigger visceral memories. Feels like I’m back there, but can picture it burning around me.

It’s strange how looking at such simplified representation, like a map, can transport you back to a moment so clearly. Activates the mind in a different way when you move through environment at a pace native to your biology for long durations.

Unlocks deep evolutionary memory palace type shit.

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The social dilemma… feels good man.

It’s been a big month for films about the internet (lol) with the release of both Feels Good Man, the story of Pepe the Frog, and The Social Dilemma, an overview of ethical shortcomings in social media platforms.

These are two very different films, and I wouldn’t have connected them if not for the happenstantial timing. But, there is some overlap between them. First some impressions of each individually. Spoiler alert.

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Accidental Virtuosity

Feeling this heavily as I get sucked deeper into the The Great Doomer Vortex of 2020.