Seconds of Fame


Recently, I was hanging out with a group of friends, struggling to find something fun for us to do. After weighing several options, none of us could agree on a way to spend our time together. With one last effort to cure our boredom, my friend shouted: “let’s make a TikTok!” With little knowledge of this new social media app, I shook my head and began searching for something else for us to do. 

Over the next couple of weeks, I noticed more and more people talking about TikTok. Whether I was at a restaurant and someone next to me was making a TikTok or at home watching a YouTube video with an ad promoting it, I felt as if the universe was just begging me to download this app.

So I asked myself this question: What exactly is TikTok and why are so many people, especially adolescents, obsessed with it?

I figured the only way I could get an answer to this question would be to download the app, so I finally gave in and downloaded TikTok.

As much as I wish I could say I’m kidding, I spent close to two hours just laying on my bed, swiping from video to video on the app. I couldn’t help it. I loved the wide range of videos. TikTok has everything from comedy to dance and even educational videos.

After binge-watching videos, I realized that I had answered a part of my question. One reason people are so obsessed with this app is that they want to become “TikTok famous,” a wide-spread goal among many users on the app. 

To learn more about this, I turned to a few of Rolling Meadows High School’s very own that are known to be TikTok famous. Racking up around 12,000 followers, junior Patrycja Winnicki says she joined TikTok at the beginning of summer for fun and made funny videos with her friends.

“My favorite thing about TikTok is that so many people can be creative with the videos they upload,” said Winnicki. “There are videos revolving around lots of topics including dances, makeup, educational videos and more.”

The vast majority of the videos made and posted on TikTok are said to be “trends.” A trend on this app is created when someone takes a certain “sound”, or song and makes a video with their original idea. From there, users will take the idea and make it their own while using the same sound and eventually, so many users repeat this process that one idea is seen all over TikTok.

Junior Anthony Anagnostopoulos gained the majority of his almost 9,000 followers due to a trend about Illinois. Like Winnicki, Anagnostopoulos started making TikToks with his friends for fun during his breaks at work.

“It’s always pretty cool to see a hundred thousand likes or more on a video,” 

Anagnostopoulos said when discussing his viral videos. 

Anagnostopoulos says that the time and effort it takes for him to make a TikTok ranges from around 30 seconds to 15 minutes, depending on the idea he has for the video.

In the couple of weeks I spent on TikTok, I noticed that this platform allows users to get creative and explore more of a fun side of social media. People can show a different side of themselves, one you wouldn’t necessarily show on other social media platforms.

“I feel as if TikTok is more of a creative platform than a place where you show off your social quo,” said Winnicki. “Unlike Instagram where people look at how much you post, people on TikTok often post multiple videos a day.”

Sophomore Carter Ferguson also feels as if TikTok is a more open platform for people to have fun with. Ferguson, who has gained close to 7,500 followers since joining in June, enjoys using the app to make people laugh.

“My favorite thing about TikTok is when you think something isn’t a good idea and then it gets a lot of likes,” said Ferguson.

After a good three weeks of studying and learning about TikTok, I came up with a list of the three most significant takeaways from the app.

First, like in any situation, you can’t take someone’s idea without giving the original owner credit. Whether it is a comedic idea or dance choreography, the original owner must be credited or people seem to go crazy. One of the main reasons a video goes viral is because it receives recognition for stealing someone’s idea. Comments like “she can’t come up with any original content” or “he can’t even credit the original owner” are posted below the video. So, I concluded that people take this app pretty seriously, which is understandable if you come up with your own idea and people claim it as their own.

Secondly, it’s so easy to get caught up in the so-called “TikTok addiction.” The “For You Page,” or the feed of TikTok, is a never-ending cycle of videos. You could be swiping away and not even realize an hour or two have gone by. Additionally, the For You Page’s algorithm is intended to show you videos that the app knows the user will find appealing. It is often based on previous videos you have liked, so the content you are seeing is usually related to your own interests. If I’m being honest, I opened TikTok several times while writing this article, so it’s easy to say it can become a distraction, and as much as I hate to admit it, an addiction.

Third and final, and as I stated before, most people on the app just want to become TikTok famous. Ask anyone and they will tell you they started making TikToks as a joke. However, the more time you spend on the app, the more you want to become viral like all the videos you watch.

To conclude this story on TikTok, I asked Winnicki to share some advice on how to become TikTok famous for all you Mustangs out there who are waiting for your TikTok spotlight.

“I would say to post videos that you enjoy because you want your profile to reflect you,” said Winnicki. “If you notice some of your videos getting more likes, then try to create more in that realm.”