26 million ‘likes’ for this 82-year-old TikTok star | Life
DALLAS – Steve Austin, who often explains what an app is to his neighbors in his senior housing community, has built a strong social network for himself by sharing silly antics and wearing hats. An old man Steve at TikTok, @omsteve, the 82-year-old retired businessman and bachelor from Richland Hills has 1.4 million followers and more than 26 million likes on his self-produced short videos.
Perhaps no one is more surprised by his success than he is. His foray into social media celebrity not only connected him with fans around the world, but also helped him make the most of a year of quarantine.
You have been with TikTok since the end of 2019. How did you start
I had a channel on YouTube for 12 years. I started making an app called Vine and got a small following there. Then my nephew said to me, “Uncle Steve, you need to check TikTok.” I started cooking with Steve where I just made a ham sandwich or bowl of cereal on TikTok. It started. I got followers and it grew every day. I was amazed at how quickly it grew. Now I do a lot of different things. I started doing “Dancing with Steve”. I do a magic trick on Saturdays. I just screw it up. I really can’t do a magic trick.
Most of my success was last year. I think people were in quarantine and had a lot of time and were on the internet a lot.
What is TikTok for readers who don’t know?
I keep getting this question from the elderly in the complex where I live. I take out my phone and show them, “There’s this thing called apps,” and I show them what an app is. TikTok allows you to create 60 second videos with special effects such as: B. Make me look like three people. You can play around with it to enhance your videos. I try to stay up to date on all of this. You can speed up the video so it looks like you are moving very fast, but not. Because I can not!
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
Often times I don’t know what I’m going to do until I do. I put my phone on the tripod and put a hat on my head and just do it. Most of the time it’s just spontaneous.
I think I’m a ham at heart. My sister says I’ve always been silly.
Why do you think you are so popular?
I think I come across as a normal guy having a good time. I’ve been told I seem honest and trustworthy. Plus, everything I do is G-rated. I don’t do any off-color stuff. It’s just not me.
A lot of my fans are young people. They tell me to be their grandpa. Or I remind her of her grandpa. Some of their parents are also watching. I get a large cross-section of ages.
I am 82 years old. I live alone in a senior housing complex. All of my neighbors are old. I don’t go out much. I’ve delivered all of my groceries. I try to stay safe I think we should all be doing this. I encourage that with my fans in the videos. I say, “Put on your mask when you go out. Stay safe. “I try to be positive. The response I get shows me that my fans like that.
I have a mailbox and receive cards and mail from fans. Fans write to me from Brazil, Ireland, India. Yesterday I received three presents for Christmas that just arrived. Fans send me hats, which is a lot of fun and I appreciate it.
What about the hats?
I always wear a hat in my videos. I like the way it looks. It just became my trademark. I now have over 100 hats in different colors, sizes and shapes.
How do you choose your music?
TikTok has music that you can choose from and use your own. I don’t even know the artists. The names mean nothing to me. I just choose music that has a good beat.
How often do you post in general?
I try to post two to four times a day. That way, you’ll stay out there for the public.
Their popularity has led to some appearances elsewhere. Tell us about it.
I get calls almost every day from someone asking me to do things. After my numbers went up, I was on the Kelly Clarkson Show and the Rachael Ray Cooking Show. I was interviewed on Australian television. The World Health Organization called me from Switzerland. They wanted to do a non-smoking promotional thing and wanted me to be a part of it. It’s amazing to me the power of the internet.
Do you have a background in the performance?
After retiring from the family business, I worked at the box office of the Dallas Summer Musicals for almost 20 years.
I did some talent shows when I was a kid and in high school. The State Fair of Texas had the Pepsi Stage talent shows. I came in second for a year doing a record pantomime. Now it’s called lip-syncing. By the time I started doing TikTok, I had forgotten all about it!
I’m named after my grandfather who was an entertainer in Dallas. My mother said I was just like him. He passed Barnyard Steve and pretended to be an animal imitator on a children’s radio show. He had a following in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I loved my grandpa. When I was young I followed him like a puppy. I think he was an inspiration to me. Or is it maybe because of my genes?
(Austin posted photos and stories about his grandfather on Pinterest: http://wdt.me/steve80)
Do you make money with it?
As far as I know, TikTok pays you based on how many people watch your videos. Last month I got a check for $ 247, the highest ever. I live on a steady income, which is really nice.
In one video, I mentioned that my back was injured and I needed a new mattress. A week later I received an email from a mattress company saying that my fans had written to them. If I did a promotional video, they would send me a mattress. What they have done. So I got a free mattress.
It’s incredible that I became a celebrity at the age of 82. Doing TikTok gives me a purpose because I’m alone. When I play for my fans, I can get up in the morning and do something. Sometimes I go back and watch some of my videos. It even kills me!