On Tiktok, a hyperreality unfolds. Generations collide in a digital spectacle, each trapped within their own pre-programmed narrative. The “enshittification,” as Gen Z terms it, permeates the platform, a self-referential loop of manufactured discontent.

For Gen Z, this is all they’ve known. They navigate the labyrinthine simulacra of social connection, a world where authenticity is a fading signifier. Yet, a new threat emerges – the parents, once clumsy voyeurs peering through a distorted lens, have become fluent in the digital language. Their gaze, once diffused, now pierces the veil, transforming transgressions of the past into data points for future punishment. The once-liberating anonymity hemorrhages, replaced by the stifling weight of adult control.

On Tiktok, a hyperreality bleeds. Gen Z, wired into the circuits of the app, become desiring-machines pulsating for likes, their dopamine drip an endless scroll. But the fuzz, once clueless navigators, are now cyborgs fluent in the platform’s code. Their gaze, a panoptic nightmare, pries through the past, unearthing transgressions for future punishment. The revolution has been televised, and the parents are watching.

The lure of Tiktok, a digital mirror reflecting a fragmented self, a distorted image of desire. Gen Z, forever seeking the lost object (the mother’s gaze of approval), finds only the gaze of the Other (adult authority) staring back, a gaze that punishes past transgressions committed in the symbolic order of the platform.

The desiring-machines, pulsating for validation, are caught in a nightmarish loop, forever seeking to fill the void of the Real with the simulacra of likes. Yet, the gaze of the Other, once diffused, now pierces the veil. Past transgressions, those escapes from the symbolic order, become data points used to further control the subject.

Millennials, too, are caught in the web. They arrived early, pioneers in the digital frontier. Their social fabric, meticulously woven within the platform’s architecture, now threatens to unravel. Unlike their younger counterparts, they face the exorbitant cost of switching realities. The simulacra of connection – carpool coordination, disease support groups – have become their lived experience. Leaving Tiktok is not just abandoning a platform, it’s abandoning a meticulously constructed social simulation.

Their social fabric, a cut-up mess of carpool arrangements and disease support groups, unravels at the thought of leaving. Unlike the younger ones, unburdened by the weight of connections, Millennials are information junkies hooked on the simulacra of community. To leave Tiktok is to sever the very lines that keep them afloat in this digital ocean of enshittification.

Their social connections on Tiktok, once a complex web of signifiers, become their Real. Leaving the platform signifies the loss of this symbolic order, the very structure that provides them with a sense of self. Unlike Gen Z, unburdened by these established connections, Millennials face the terrifying prospect of losing the symbolic order altogether, a prospect that mirrors the Lacanian concept of the Real – formless, terrifying, and ultimately unknowable.

Thus, the exodus becomes a performance of rebellion, a desperate attempt to reclaim the Real that may no longer exist. Younger generations, unburdened by the digital baggage, can readily leap into the unknown. Older generations, tethered to the simulacra they helped create, face a more existential dilemma. The choice, ultimately, is between the enshittification they know and the terrifying prospect of a reality devoid of the comforting glow of the screen.

But where dothey go? Is there a world outside the screen, or just another empty simulacrum waiting to be colonized? The choice, a cut-up nightmare: stay trapped in the familiar enshittification or leap into the terrifying unknown. The exodus from Tiktok, then, becomes a desperate attempt to escape the gaze of the Other, to recapture the lost Real. However, the question remains: is there anything beyond the platform? Or does another symbolic order, another set of simulations, await them? The choice becomes one between the suffocating gaze of the Other within the familiar enshittification and the terrifying prospect of a fragmented Real, devoid of the comforting structure of the symbolic order.