How my account went viral on TikTok and why I hated it
As embarrassing as it may be to admit, I spent my teenage years being a devoted fangirl of internet personalities. Not only did I save money in the hope of buying merchandise from these influencers and meet and greet tickets, but I also secretly wished for this famous internet lifestyle. The idea of being adored for just posting on social media seemed like a dream to me. So it’s no surprise that becoming famous was my number one goal when I downloaded TikTok.
I quickly realized that it would be difficult to achieve the fame of TikTok. I’m not funny at all, can’t dance for my life, and I don’t meet TikTok’s high standards of beauty. What seemed like a blessing at that point (and would soon lead to my downfall) was the speed at which trends were moving on the social media platform. In fact, a new aesthetic would dominate the “For You” page on TikTok every few months. I immediately found my place when the indie aesthetic became popular last summer.
My first video which got over a few hundred likes embodied the indie nature of summer 2020. It was a very saturated video of me dancing to “Renee” de Sales without caring about the world in front of my photo wall and l poster by Conan Gray. which rested above my single bed. I woke up to comments praising me for the “pristine vibes,” and that’s when I knew I had to keep making videos that epitomized that indie aesthetic.
Over the next few weeks, my plan to become a famous independent TikToker worked. The few hundred likes on my videos gradually turned into a few thousand likes. Before I knew it, I had already amassed 10,000 subscribers. The validation and attention I received for posting videos of myself dancing and lip-syncing with a light filter struck me as surreal. However, all good things come to an end.
My growing disgust with my popularity on TikTok came when one of my videos surpassed one million views. I should have known that I was bound to get some negative feedback when so many people were perceiving me, but I was certainly oblivious and not ready for it. Hateful comments from anonymous profiles glowed brighter than positives when scrolling through my notifications. I decided to take a break after a viral TikTok impacted my self-esteem.
I came back to the app after a few weeks, thinking I could start publishing my freelance TikToks again with no worries. After my viral video caused slight damage to my sanity, I had received thousands of additional followers, leading me to believe that I would receive the same attention I had received before. However, my return coincided with the end of the indie phase on TikTok. The For You page no longer wanted my saturated and happy videos and the algorithm didn’t want anything to do with promoting my content anymore.
When I think back to my fleeting moments of glory on TikTok, it’s not a moment I want to relive. I’ve learned that internet fame and going viral isn’t rewarding, and that the happiness that comes from anonymous validation is temporary. Social media can build you up, but it can also tear you down. I no longer dream of going viral again and no longer aspire to be the next big influencer.
Contact Zara Koroma at [email protected].