Keeping it TikTok Real

March, 2020

We live in a time when endless data floats in the ocean of the internet and oversharing surfaces everything − and we mean everything − people do. When there’s no hiding our true colors, being Character Real is driven by clarity of purpose, honesty of character, and calling out fakery.

Some teens are referring to TikTok as free therapy because the app provides a platform for being and owning their true, sometimes weird selves. Like divulging a secret to a confidant, people are broadcasting their confessional-style #autotunestory, amassing over 2.4MM views to date.Their stories make light of embarrassing situations such as going to extreme lengths for local media attention or falling short of looking cool in front of a crush. Masking the awkwardness in playful autotune makes the stories entertaining and relatable despite the often cringeworthy undertones.

Playfully “keeping it real” is also evident in the #afterthefunction challenge. At some 1.2B views so far, this one is about people sharing their truest desires after suffering social chores like going to work or meeting new people (*eyeroll*). The thing you crave most after a polished night out at the club? Honestly, some greasy fast food.

Users are getting real when coping with fears as well. As a reaction to the Trump impeachment trial and possibility of “President Pence,” #pencesummercamp spread across TikTok where users sardonically imagined a reality in which LGBTQ+ teens were sent to conversion therapy camp. With half a million views, posts expressed ways the alternate reality would benefit them like same sex bunks that inadvertently surround them with desirable peers.

Brands can keep it real too. A fast-casual brand can create a hashtag challenge that showcases the real reasons you enter their stores while offering a single day discount, prompting a flurry of creative ideas and increased foot traffic.

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