Brian Boxer Wachler, prominent ophthalmologist and TikTok influencer, said the platform took over his life and resulted in a rift in his family life — and required formal intervention.
In his new book Influenced: The impact of social media on our perceptionwhich was published late October by Penguin Random House (an excerpt from which was Posted Insider), Wachler said what started out as something his kids suggested turned into something that took up his life.
“The desire for dopamine for more followers gnawed at me to hit the accelerator like a race car driver,” the essay reads. “My daughters had innocently made a TikTok Frankenstein.”
Indeed, Wachler is a popular influencer, with 3.4 million followers on TikTok, and an eye surgeon by trade, who works in Beverly Hills, California. He posts videos on a wide variety of topics from the so-called Navy Seal sleep hack technique to download menstrual cramps to eye problems.
According to a press release from 2021had he become a “go-to person for calling out what’s fake and what’s true when it comes to viral health topics” on the platform.
Wachler’s TikTok addiction started innocently enough, according to the snippet. His twin daughters said it would be nice if he came on the platform after the pandemic closed his clinic. Wachler said he wanted to prove he was a “cool dad.”
So he created an account and then applied it with mathematical precision, figuring out the ideal ratio of likes, views, and shares on each video, until he finally created a “follower efficiency ratio,” including how many followers a certain clip. it.
He spent two to three hours a day making videos, going to the platform’s live feature and answering questions and responding to user comments — and ignoring his family.
“Being an influencer has the potential to be addictive and destructive. Mine is a cautionary tale,” Wachler wrote in the excerpt.
“So what if my kids resented TikTok taking up all my mindshare and me ignoring them — I had way bigger fish to fry,” he wrote, achieving his goal of gaining a million followers.
Eventually, Wachler’s family staged an intervention, which Wachler ignored, he wrote, until he went on a viral rut with his video views (thus struggling to get the same dopamine hits).
Wachler wrote that his story follows the trajectory of an addict. Still posting to the platform, he says he approaches it from an “entirely different perspective, one that was grounded and sane.”
@brianboxerwachlermd #duet with @mdmotivator it’s important to stay grounded on social media and keep a healthy perspective. sometimes people can be influenced in unhealthy ways and have challenges including neglecting relationships with family and friends, school, work etc. My new book INFLUENCED addresses these effects and how to live a balanced life with social media. The book also provides tips for those who want to be an influencer on how to do so in a healthy and responsible way #social media ♬ original sound – Zachery Dereniowski
TikTok, in a more informal sense, has a highly addictive, personalized algorithm, per popular science. A group of attorneys general is to research the impact the platform has on young people — just over two-thirds of the 13 to 17 age group say they have used TikTok, per Pew research center.
Separately, the platform faces regulatory challenges for reported robberies in a deal with President Biden’s administration on how the Chinese platform could operate in the US
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.