Sometimes I get really depressed about all the ways TikTok is flattening culture, how it bombards its users with one completely random trend or subculture that becomes a nationwide talking point for roughly three days and never matters again.

It’s depressing to me because the joy of TikTok is supposed to be about getting lost in the thick of it, and yet so many of us find ourselves in the same places, even as we assume that the videos we see are somehow a reflection of our own hyper-individual tastes. It’s depressing because if you spend enough time on TikTok, you’ll start to notice how many of the creators start to adopt each other’s cadences and editing conventions, and how an entire platform of weird and totally dissimilar content can end up labeled as “TikTok humor.”