South’s TikTok celebrities

Kaia Otwell, Staff Writer

From finding a new sense of style or creating new recipes to learning about the latest pop culture obsessions, TikTok is a great platform to explore all areas of interest, junior Luke Gamber said. In fact, the social media app has given Gamber the opportunity to acquire over 21,000 followers on his personal account.

One of Gamber’s favorite parts about TikTok is the connections he has made with other users. He loves how TikTok connects him with people from all around the world who have similar interests as him, it introduced him to people he otherwise would never have known. The app also inspires him to be creative.

“After scrolling through videos watching fashion trends, photo dumps, comedy and anything else that caught my attention, I decided to post [my first] video,” Gamber said.

Although he initially was very pleased with his popularity on TikTok, as the number of likes on his posts increased, the stranger Gamber felt about the whole situation. He felt himself becoming addicted to social media success in a toxic way, which began to harm his well-being.

“I just wanted more and more likes,” Gamber said. “I realized that if I could not be happy without the validation of some number on a screen then I need to cleanse myself from it.”

Senior Gabby Feygin, who created her TikTok account at the beginning of quarantine, agreed that the app can be dangerously addictive. However, she enjoys the creativity of her account, which had at one time acquired 31,200 followers, and the way TikTok allows herself and others to share their talents and ideas.

“I was scrolling and saw someone post a tutorial on how to make cute Instagram stories, but I really did not like it so I decided to make my own video tutorial,” Feygin explained. “[My first viral video was] showing people how to ombré words on Instagram. I was super excited [when it went viral].”

Along with the addictive aspects, there can be hate that comes with the platform, senior Liz Duncan explained. Her account, which has over 15,000 followers, features videos on treating curly hair, fashion, and comedy, occasionally receives negative comments; however, she copes with the hate by realizing that it isn’t personal.

“They do not know [my] situation, so I know it’s coming from a place of being uninformed and it’s not directly assaulting me or my character,” Duncan said.

Gamber has also dealt with online hate, but he tries not get overwhelmed by how extreme the negativity can be by not taking it too seriously, he explained.

“I do not take anything to heart on the Internet, because it is just that: the Internet,” Gamber said.

Even though he finds some parts to be harmful, Gamber enjoys seeing what new content his online friends have posted, as it keeps him up to date with their lives and brings him joy when he opens the app.

“Whether it is finding a new food to cook, or learning about current events, TikTok is a place for you [to explore and create new things],” Gamber said.