OPINION: TikTok fame needs to be taken with a grain of salt

Julia Elbert  

jelbert@uccs.edu 

     The world has been taken by storm with the social media platform TikTok. Many people have caved within the past year, due to quarantine or lack of entertainment, and downloaded the app.  

     The world has turned upside down, and people are getting famous for dancing strictly with their arms or for reading tarot cards. The world of TikTok is so large that fame can mean a lot of things.  

     In recent news, the Hype House, a house in Los Angeles where teenagers live to create content, has been greenlit for a Netflix reality show. I am saying that this fame needs to be taken with a grain of salt because, while they all have over 10 million followers each, so do a lot of other creators on TikTok.  

     Since the platform is big and creates feeds that are personalized for each individual’s account, it is hard to determine who is famous and who is not. The creators who are getting their own show are seen as “popular” because they reach the rich, white and, seemingly, the masses. However, there are also popular artists, people of color, LGBTQ+ people and many more; so how is TikTok determining this? 

     This question can be answered simply. These are the people that Hollywood wants society to see: the clean cut, wealthy teens that are capable of “creating” content. Or should I say, stealing content from the other groups? 

     I am not saying that every group needs a show, because that would be impossible, but I am saying that this group of people does not need any more representation because they are already being represented in the media constantly. There needs to be something new and fresh. Content creators are multiplying by the millions; all we must do is give them a chance to be seen and interact with the rest of the world.  

     Since the idea of TikTok itself is so wide and open, the content that is being produced is interesting and personalized.  

     The idea of fame itself needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because it really is only for the select group of people that Hollywood has deemed fit for the spotlight. TikTok fame is not something that we should be focusing on. Instead, we should be focusing on whether creators from all sides of the platform are being paid equally and respectfully. It does not matter if they are “perfect” for the cameras of Netflix.  

     I personally think that the idea of fame needs to be reevaluated and viewed through a different lens, because there are so many great content creators out there with real talents that deserve a shot at something that could change their lives. The world does not need more Addison Raes or Bryce Halls; we need artists and dancers that create and speak authentically and don’t steal from others. Period.