BY KAREN SUROS
Uploading anything to the wide world of the internet comes with unspoken anticipation in the form of the questions, “Could it possibly go viral? If it went viral, would the rest of my content follow? Could I be famous?”
Uploading videos to TikTok is no different. In fact, several individuals create content with the intent of going viral. In case anyone has been living under a rock, TikTok is an app where users create and share videos between one and sixty seconds long. On TikTok, the virality of certain creators and their content is often referred to as the “hype.”
The elusive “TikTok hype” is sought after by a great many of the app’s 800 million users. It is arguably thanks to this hype that teen dancer-turned-influencer Charli D’Amelio has a drink named after her at Dunkin’ Donuts. Additionally, it has allowed her experience several career-defining opportunities, like performing beside Bebe Rexha at a Jonas Brothers concert and appearing on “The Tonight Show.” There is even a Washington Post article on her rise to stardom.
Before TikTok, D’Amelio was an ordinary girl with a talent for dancing. Her success story inspires other users, giving them hope that they too might have a similar experience should they continue posting consistently. Oftentimes, consistent posts pay off and as more people interact with content, creators get excited.
“When you post a video and you start seeing the likes go up it makes you want to post more.”Senior Isabella Diaz
“When you post a video and you start seeing the likes go up it makes you want to post more,” senior Isabella Diaz said. “It’s like a drug—once you get it, you want to do it more.”
While becoming famous in this manner can seem very appealing, it comes at a price. For every positive comment or interaction, there is an equal if not overwhelming amount of negativity.
Even when there is more good than bad being said, obstructive comments tend to shine through. Cynical comments are especially harmful when they come unexpectedly, as is the case with these comments on TikTok. Individuals will post a video for fun, not expecting it to blow up, and return to find all sorts of mean remarks. Several people have actually elected to take a break from the app as a result.
“Every once in a while, people comment something rude,” Diaz said. “I tend to delete the comment because while it doesn’t seem like one comment will affect you, that one negative comment affects me more than getting several positive comments does.”
“Every once in a while, people comment something rude.”Senior Isabella Diaz
With great clout comes great responsibility. Should a creator start gathering fame, rest assured that details about their past and present will surface. It is not unusual for an influencer to be exposed for all sorts of awful things, and though a lot of time it is for something they should have never been doing in the first place, other times audiences overreact and do not allow opportunities for forgiveness. That being said, as with every other platform, it is important to be careful posting on TikTok.
“‘Cancel culture’ on TikTok is really big,” Diaz said. “From the slightest mistakes, you can get cancelled. It’s hard to tell what might be offensive, so you have to be careful what you put out there. People pay attention to every single detail, and they will judge you for anything.”
Beyond the possibility of being cancelled, posting a video could mean bullies in the comment section. From behind a screen, individuals find a shocking amount of confidence and will put down anybody for anything.
Essentially, “TikTok hype” creates several great opportunities, but it also creates opportunities for negativity and bullying. Nonetheless, the app gets more popular by the minute; total TikTok downloads amount to over 1.5 billion, making it the seventh-most downloaded app of the decade. Individuals would be wise to continue doing whatever pleases them on the platform, while remembering to think before posting.
Photo courtesy of The New York Times