Students find community and influence in TikTok

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Jackie Liu

Senior Jackie Liu posts her “mother” painting on TikTok.

Emilia Tutun and Livvy Yun, Sports Editor and Staff Writer

As TikTok has grown popular among Weston students, several have gained a significant following. Students like senior Jackie Liu, junior Sawyer Mayhugh, and junior Raneem Abuhasan have achieved remarkable attraction in the TikTok community for their unique content styles. 

Abuhasan recalled the first time her video went viral on the app.

 “I was dancing to an Afrobeat song (a type of African music). I loved that I went viral on TikTok doing something that I truly enjoy,” Abuhasan said. “Afrobeats is one of my favorite genres of music and when my video gained attention, people from different parts of the world and different ethnicities followed me!”

Similar to Abuhasan’s unexpected rise to fame on TikTok, Mayhugh described his experience with becoming viral and how it has influenced his current content.

“The first time I went viral was in the summer of 2019. Although my video going viral was surprising, it was still a really cool feeling seeing all the activity on that one video,” Mayhugh said. “[Since then] the majority of my videos revolve around my height. My videos give the viewers a sense of what a day to day life is of a 6’10, 16 year old, kid. [Overall], the TikTok community means a lot to me.”

Similar to Mayhugh, Liu’s TikTok account serves as a way to advance and give insight to her career as an artist. 

“People from all over the world are seeing my art and it feels so surreal. I’ve sold prints of my art to people in Germany and to Indonesia because of TikTok.” 

While Liu’s TikTok account has promoted her artwork, Mayhugh has used his platform to potentially further his career as a basketball player. 

“TikTok is the reason I was able to get myself out there and more known. It has even helped with my basketball career,” Mayhugh said. 

While TikTok has helped Mayhugh and Liu pursue their personal goals and further their unique careers, it has also allowed them to connect with diverse groups of people outside of WHS. 

“I’ve just received so many kind messages and not just about my art, but [also] people open up to me about breakups, or their struggles with mental health, or even strangers who have told me that they were able to connect to my art,” Liu said. “On top of that, I have also made a bunch of friends who are fellow TikTok artists, [and] have gotten to virtually meet people from across the world.” 

Additionally, the students expressed how they each use their unique platforms to influence and help others.

“I’m trying to use my platform for good, whether I am fundraising or bringing awareness,” Liu explained. “In the future, I’m going to try to incorporate more activism in my work.”

Furthermore, Abuhasan explained her meaningful contribution to the app.

“There aren’t many girls who look like me posting the same content as I do, so it is something different and unique,” Abuhasan said.

Despite connecting with different audiences, all three Tik-Tokers stated that they agree the community means a lot to them. Liu spoke on her feelings towards the community.

“I’ve made a bunch of friends who are fellow TikTok artists, and this has given me a platform that I never would have expected,” Liu expressed. “I’m really grateful for it.”