Unlike Instagram, the hugely popular social media platform TikTok makes it easy for creators to gain random followers through its “For You Page,” which allows new videos the potential to be seen by anyone who has the app. As a result, total unknowns may gain thousands of followers on TikTok in a few hours from one quick video. The classic TikTok success story is Connecticut teen Charli D’Amelio, whose performances of the app’s dance challenges have earned her more than 78 million followers — and the endorsements that come with that kind of clout.
The standard number that’s considered the threshold for influencer status on any platform is 10,000. By that metric, Theo Funk (@theofunk), Dos Pueblos class of 2020, is an influencer nine times over — and he did it without dancing. On August 14, Funk had 96.4 thousand followers on Tik Tok for his stream of funny, diary-like videos and lip-syncs. Funk explains his strategy of gaining attention as “almost always starting with the sound.” (“Sounds” are what TikTok calls the short music and audio clips the app licenses so that users can treat them as memes.) “I will save sounds I think are cool or funny and then base the TikTok on that” Funk says. He never preplans his content; it’s all just ideas that occur at the moment he picks up his phone and records. And the hashtags? He adds them, but admits, “I honestly don’t think they matter.”
Funk describes his first post to go viral as “a video of me saying I’d bleach my hair if the video did well,” adding that “uh, my mom wouldn’t let me bleach my hair so basically I am a horrible person who lied … sorry.” Funk’s hair bleach “lie” currently has 1.1 million views and comments like “noo it’s so beautiful don’t touch it” from @michellewozniak, a TikToker with 2.3 million followers. How many more people will follow Funk by the end of the summer? Who knows — maybe he should offer to shave his head next. It’s not like he has to go through with it.
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