Column: Sofia Bermejo experiences TikTok Phenomenon

When TikTok first became popular, I told myself and everyone around me that I would never download it. Just a few months later, COVID-19 arrived. Suddenly I was home again, taken away from my friends, and it seemed like time was passing in slow motion.

Needless to say, I gave in to Rave, TikTok’s addicting app, and tried to connect with friends and keep myself occupied during the isolating pandemic.

The first video I posted that went viral was one on my typewriter. I offered to write and mail letters to people during the pandemic. It must have resonated with the people because I’ve written hundreds of letters. It felt good to know that in such an isolating time I was making people feel a little less alone.

A few posts later, I got more unexpected attention. It was overwhelming at first, but soon afterwards I found that I was only getting support from those who liked my content.

I’ve heard the TikTok community was shallow, but I haven’t experienced this site yet.

After I got the hang of it, I got an internship at a company called Chegg. My role there is to create educational content for their TikTok account. Since it is aimed at people my age, I know exactly what appeals to them. It gave me a whole new perspective on the power of social media and the impact of a YouTuber’s videos.

As I’ve become more comfortable and shameless about posting, my passion for influencing others has grown. TikTok’s algorithm is strategic in their “for you page” videos, and when I realized that, I also noticed that everyone in the app is an individual with interests and the power to make changes.

My involvement with TikTok inspired me to work with a filmmaker and make a short film about violence against women. I chose to work with Futures Without Violence in the hope that people could contribute or support the topic or at least learn more. In the future, I plan to work with more YouTubers to create content that moves or inspires others. The amount of support and thanks I’ve received from people both online and in person has made me feel more focused and valued for myself like I’ve never felt before.

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