TikTokers show their moves

Teresa Arisawa

Since its launch in late 2018, the video sharing app TikTok has taken over the internet. It has recently become especially popular with high school students due to its relatable comedic content and fun dances. Many Lynbrook students have TikTok accounts, and watch TikToks during their free time or make them with their friends when they are bored. TikTok has fueled the spread of many viral memes, songs and dances. Some notable recent trends that have taken off due to TikTok are different variations of a dance move called the “woah” and the stereotype of “VSCO girls.” The platform, to no surprise has found its way to Lynbrook, launching three students to internet fame.

Anya Sikri, sophomore Photo by features section

Sophomore Anya Sikri, like most users, originally downloaded TikTok for her own enjoyment, without thinking about the possibility of being anything more than a viewer.

“It definitely started out as a joke,” Sikri said. “Eventually, as I was going through the TikToks, I came up with my own ideas, and then I just started making them. I didn’t think it would really go anywhere — I usually just kept them private or shared them with my friends. But when I posted them [publicly], it started to become more fun.” 

This past summer, Sikri made several TikToks, ranging from painting videos to short sketches. 

“For me, it doesn’t take that long to make a video,” said Sikri. “Probably takes a few minutes, it just depends on how far-fetched the idea is. Most of mine are just comedy videos, so I just have to film from different angles, pause the video, then film again.” 

One of Sikri’s videos, jokingly depicting the rise of Asians in the Bay Area, got on the For You page, and was later featured on the popular local Instagram page, @siliconvalleyprobs. 

As the repost gained traction, it attracted more attention and followers to Sikri’s TikTok account. While it was exciting to have others see her videos, Sikri’s sudden growth posed concerns with her father, who was worried about her privacy. 

“After my TikTok was posted on @siliconvalleyprobs, a lot more people came to my page and started looking at my TikToks, which is pretty cool,” Sikri said. “But I totally understand his issue of privacy, so I’m just making less TikToks now.”

However, the attention is not always positive. Like many other small creators on TikTok, Sikri has had to deal with bigger accounts stealing her content. One of  Sikri’s videos was copied verbatim shortly after she posted it. The copied video ended up getting more than triple the amount of views that the original did. What followed was an influx of comments from uneducated users accusing Sikri of stealing content.

“So, it [the publicity] can be a good and bad thing,” Sikri said. “Most of TikTok is people doing different variations of an audio, and they have different takes on it. But they’re really easy for people to copy, because they can make the same video, but just change one part of it. So you can’t really claim it’s copied.”

Because many creators reuse audio from other TikToks, the line between inspiration and imitation is not always clear.

“I think there’s definitely a lot of bigger creators copying little creators, because they have more followers, so it’s easier for them to get more likes and views,” Sikri said. “But this is always going to happen, and it is TikTok, so I don’t care too much about it.”  

Nowadays, with the rapid pace and unpredictability of internet trends, Sikri thinks that TikTok will probably meet its end sooner than people might expect. Just like its predecessor, Musical.ly, Sikri thinks that TikTok will follow in suit and die down soon. 

Through her time on the app, Sikri has seen the positives and negatives of an open platform and has learned a lot about what it is like to have her content seen by the masses. She is enjoying her time on the app, as ephemeral as it may be.  

Natalie Taylor, junior Photo by features section

Junior Natalie Taylor, like many, made her TikTok account out of summer boredom. However, unlike many, Taylor’s growth after starting to post videos was almost immediate. 

“I hit 1,000 followers in about one week, after that, I got a video that got 36,000 views and then it just escalated from there,” Taylor said. “When I had a few videos that got a good amount of likes, and I went from 800 followers to about 2,600 in about a month.” 

With such rapid growth, it became clear how big of an impact TikTok could have on Taylor. 

“I didn’t really notice that my videos were getting a lot of likes at first, because I wasn’t on the app that much,” Taylor said. “And once I did, I don’t know if you would call it an addiction, but I was always on it.” 

Currently, Taylor’s content mostly consists of her doing dances and TikTok trends by herself, or with her friends and family. Taylor has also been making a new “scary” series which has been growing more popular, where she films videos from a simulated point of view of someone while their home is suspiciously getting broken into. Depending on the type of subject of her video, the production can vary.

“I have the scary series right now, and those take me about 15 minutes to make, but other videos only take me about five minutes, to redo and get it right,” Taylor said. 

Some of Taylor’s other recently posted videos include her helping her younger brother through his recovery after dental surgery and of her and her mom dancing together. 

“Yeah, they do enjoy being in videos,” Taylor said. “My parents are pretty supportive of it, they don’t think I’m famous or anything, but they do enjoy watching.” 

For some popular creators, such as Kevin Perry (@kevboyperry) and Anthony Reeves (@luvanthony), TikTok is becoming a job, opening up business opportunities such as tours and brand deals for those with large followings to make money. 

“I have gotten messages on instagram, of companies that want to sponsor me, small brand deals, and things like that,” Taylor said. “One time during the summer, I was doing a livestream, and someone sent me a gift. When someone sends you ‘gifts’, TikTok actually gives you real money. So I made some money that way.” 

Another benefit that TikTok can give people is exposure. Songs such as “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and “Mia Khalifa” by iLOVEFRiDAY are just some examples of how TikTok can turn a song from unknown to popular overnight. 

“I’ve had smaller songwriters direct message me and say, ‘Hey, I have a new song coming out, will you make a video with it?,’ and then I’ll make a video with it, and they’ll post it on their page too,” Taylor said. 

Though the internet is not always the brightest place, Taylor’s experience thus far has been quite positive. 

“I mean, I’m benefiting from TikTok, but some people might not be, because there are a lot of people in the comments that say mean stuff if they don’t like what you’re posting,” Taylor said. “But if they do [like your content], then it’s all positive comments.”

 Taylor is planning on continuing making videos for the foreseeable future. With rapid growth and exciting opportunities, the future is looking bright for Taylor. 

Amanda Zhu, senior Photo by features section

Senior Amanda Zhu created her TikTok account during the summer after seeing TikToks reposted on other platforms.

“I saw a bunch of TikToks, and I thought they were really funny, so I decided to make my own and see where it went,” said Zhu. 

At the time, painting the back pockets of jeans was popular, so as an artist, Zhu was inspired to follow the trend and make a video. 

“I posted it, and I got like two views,” said Zhu. 

However, after posting a few more videos, a TikTok of her and her friend Kayleigh painting together at the park began to get popular. 

“I find it really funny,” Zhu said. “The fact that it had like 55,000 likes—   I was like, okay, cool!” 

Now, Zhu’s TikTok content ranges from doing daily drawing prompts, to painting clothes, to joining duet chains, to making skits. The process of making TikToks can vary for every different video.

“It really depends on what I’m making,” Zhu said. “If it’s just drawing, then I can do it on the app. But if it’s with my own audio, I use iMovie, and it takes a little bit more time, like 30-ish minutes.” 

One of her most popular videos, with over a million views, was a duet chain consisting of her and another boy acting as bystanders to a girl who is dancing in the middle of a crowded hallway. The video received a great deal of attention, even catching the eye of the dancing girl, AJ (@ahnysia), who posted the original video. 

The huge popularity of her simple video makes it seem that anything can get on the ‘For You Page’, and asks the question, what does it take to make a “viral” TikTok? 

 “It really depends, I know that a lot of people make really funny videos, are really talented, or just extremely pretty,” Zhu said. “I feel like those are the top three ways that you can make a viral video. Or, it’s just simple and stupid, like my TikTok.” 

Recently, Zhu had one of her TikToks reposted on an instagram meme page, the very thing that inspired her to make TikToks in the first place. 

“Some people did follow me on social media, because a meme page reposted one of my TikToks,” Zhu said. “I have made a lot of new internet friends off of it, and I do talk to them on the regular, so it’s really cool just meeting people that are outside of the school area.”

Along with being a way to make new friends, Zhu thinks that TikTok can be a fun way to spend the time.

“And if you’re super stressed, it’s kind of like that stress reliever,” said Zhu. “Of course, we’re in college aps season, so it’s kind of that things that detracts from all the stress that’s happening.” 

As for the future of her own TikToks and the app itself, she isn’t too sure. 

“I don’t know if it’s a fad; and if it is, cool! Why not? I’m just making videos for the heck of it. It’s not about the fame, or anything. I just really like making TikToks, and it’s fun.”

Zhu has experienced many benefits from having a presence on the internet, and the relationships and experiences gained through TikTok will always remain with her.