A Deep Dive into the world of TikTok & social media influencers

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Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and now, TikTok.  The app formerly named “Musical.ly” has skyrocketed into one of the most popular forms of social media among teenagers and beyond in today’s world.  

We all know the first four, but for those that are unfamiliar, the new social media platform allows its 500 million active users to create 15-60 second videos doing whatever they want, most popular being dances, but could also include comedy sketches, recipes, memes, etc.  

When opening the app, two different screens appear.  One titled “following”(where the people you follow’s videos show up) which is much like your main “feed” on Instagram, and one titled “for you”, which could be compared to Instagram’s explore page.  The “for you” page is the birthplace of 15-year old Charli D’Amelio, who has amassed over 40 million followers on the app over the course of just 6 months, and several other TikTok “stars”. The app ensures users that every video posted will appear on someone’s “for you” page at least once and will show up more and more depending on how many likes/views/comments it gets.  This is how D’Amelio’s fan base grew so fast, and she now averages around 15-20 million views and around 2 million likes per video.

Gaining 40 million followers in 6 months seems like an insane amount of people, 3 million more than the entire population of Canada, to give context.  To me, this brought up the question “Are social media stars really celebrities?” 

Through my deep dive project, I’m going to be exploring the fascinating way that TikTok and other social media stars make their money.  How they appeal to viewers, branding, sponsorships, meet-ups&events, all of it. I hope to expand my knowledge and possibly answer the question, “Are they really famous?”