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Pursuing Fifteen Second Fame

by Bryan Casey


Some say it’s the new Vine. Others believe that it’s more popular and will last longer in this age of social connection. You know what I’m talking about. Tik Tok. That app that you regret downloading because of the cringy high school dance videos yet, you still continue to search for that perfect video to share with your friends.

You can’t deny that, sadly unlike Vine, TikTok is here to stay. Especially in this time of social distancing. So, get your blue light glasses on, and prepare for hours of scrolling through Corona Virus Memes, “Rat Dance” compilations, Donald Trump face-morphs, and so many more videos you didn't know existed.

As a staff writer here at Mud Magazine, I decided to explore this new trend in an attempt to understand why it is so popular. And how do I become Tik Tok famous?

My first step was downloading Tik Tok and beginning to scroll through my “for you" page. This is where I encountered the high schoolers. High school was a cringy time in my life, and I am sure it wasn’t all that blissful for you either. I thought those pimply, awkward four years were far behind me, but I guess not. And it was worse than before.

Did my classmates used to dance like that? Did I used to dance like that? What happened to the Bad Luck Brian and Rare Pepe memes we thought were absolutely creative and hysterical?

As I continued to scroll, I noticed a trend begin. Most of the users were recreating the same dance. Wow, another high schooler doing the Renegade, haven’t seen that before. What’s so creative or important about that? However, as I continued to scroll, I realized why people were sharing these videos.

On my journey through Tik Tok I encountered a variety of different trends. You have dances. Good dancing, bad dancing, awkward dancing, overly confident dancing. If you consider it a dance, it will be on this app. Cute pet videos (of course), kids who look like they work at Zumiez recommending “vibe-y music", couples trying to convince themselves their relationship is perfect because they have a “goals” video, memorable scenes from television (like Mr. Lahey drunkenly falling down the stairs in Trailer Park Boys), and meme videos. Anywhere from Big Chungus to that one frog who's just chillin on the bench.

I decided to recreate some of these videos with my friends.

My attempt at a vlog.

We started with dances, which I was personally not too fond of. My friend is a dancer, so she helped me attempt some of the popular dances like “Renegade,” “Say So,” and “The Box." There are also in-depth tutorials on YouTube explaining how to do these dances. At parties I like to dance, and I like to think that I’m halfway decent at it. But these dances were hard. It would have taken an actual dance instructor to teach me how to do these.

I posted what I believed to be a decent rendition of the famous, “Renegade," but I only got six likes.

How am I supposed to get Tik Tok famous with only six likes?

It was fun to try to replicate the dance and pick up some moves along the way, but I was not about to dedicate hours of my time perfecting them.

Next, I created a pet video, which more people seemed to like. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good puppy video from time to time? My family has a yellow lab, Lucy, and my cousin has the sister of Lucy, Charley. And when they get together, they love to play. I recorded the two dogs playing, added some music and filters, and watched the views come in.

This video gave me a bit more confidence that I was getting better at Tik Tok. And was hopefully on the road to fame.

My favorite use of Tik Tok, by far, was that it allowed me to make a collage from my study abroad experience. I studied in Ireland, and took a lot of videos. These videos ranged from scenic views, to late night journeys home with friends. Through Tik Tok I was able to break down most of videos I took into one video and add a popular song for background music. This video really enhanced my journey, because I was able to show my friends a variety of different things I did within the span of fifteen seconds. Also, the video made my trip seem almost like a movie, and that I was a character within my own personal documentary. I felt like Gordon Ramsey from Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted, accept with a lot less cursing and no Beef Wellington.

At the end of my trial with Tik Tok I realized how much time high schoolers actually have on their hands. I mean, shouldn’t they be studying for the SAT, or stealing alcohol from their parents? I know that's what I used to dedicate my time to in high school instead of watching another Charli D'Amelio Tik Tok compilation.

Yet, it can’t be denied that Tik Tok is incredibly entertaining. I mean where else are you going to see people playing with mini pigs or forgotten Drake & Josh scenes.

Also, I noticed that every time I went on Tik Tok I spent more and more time scrolling through the app. It is addicting, in my opinion more so than Instagram and Twitter, and I had trouble coming back to reality and continuing with my day. I believe that this is because the videos are so quick and easy to watch that I kept telling myself, just one more video and that one video turned into another hour passing by.

But that's okay, I mean we are all in quarantine anyway. So, what else are we supposed to do? Maybe I will finally try to perfect the “Renegade”.


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