Will TikTok kill cinema?, by Ignacio Orovio

Fran is 15 years old and watches two series at the same time. One on a platform and the other on the mobile, which she holds in one hand or which she leaves on the sofa. A single movie bores him. Few things happen. She promises that she follows both without problem. Accustomed to the frenetic pace of social networks, the cinema seems slow to him. He also happens with sports, which he loves. He follows them on television while he chats with friends or watches a series or videos on TikTok or Instagram.

DocsBarcelona at the Aribau cinema

A cinema in Barcelona

In some forums, the experts are already raising their alarm: the networks, and especially TikTok, will end the cinema. First, because they devour leisure time and second, because they shape our comprehension mechanisms and habituate them to ever faster and more frequent stimuli. They are designed, he explained to the magazine Forbes the sociologist Julie Albright, under the psychological parameters of random reinforcement. They are the same ones used by slot machines, in which you alternately lose and win (always more the former than the latter) and it is the hope of winning that makes them addictive.

Some series are adapting to this reality and in their scripts they insert –for example, in a sentence of a protagonist– specific summaries of what has been happening. In this way, they prevent the viewer who has become hooked on that mobile phone on the sofa from losing the thread of the plot and continuing in the film, that is, on the platform.

Networks like TikTok are designed for random reinforcement, just like slots

The threat is enormous. TikTok was born in 2016 and already has about 700 million active users. They connect an average of 95 minutes a day, and about 26 hours a month, and will have finally used it for about 2.3 full years of their lives, according to some estimates. With these data in hand – and without taking into account the crisis in movie theaters – some experts are pessimistic regarding the future of this art. Will it be more and more residual? Is it cinema if you have to insert stimuli every 15 seconds to retain the viewer’s attention?

Although if I did like Fran they would be half.

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Source: Portada by www.lavanguardia.com.

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