Fifteen Seconds of Fame

Many have heard about the popular “fifteen minutes of fame” trope.  Inspired by the words of Andy Warhol, this phrase represents the concept of transient and shallow fame — hence the 15 minutes.  While Andy Warhol may have talked about this over 50 years ago, his vision has begun to fulfill itself — first with the internet, then Youtube, then social media like Twitter and Instagram.  However, there is one social media platform that has been gathering weight and making normal kids into stars since it’s conception — if you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s an app called TikTok.

Tiktok is essentially a continuation of the now-defunct app, an app where one could post videos of themselves lip dubbing to various music tracks.  Like its parent app, Tiktok is a platform where people post short videos of themselves dubbing music. However, people are also able to edit videos in various ways, post videos about any subject, scroll through personalized feeds, and comment their thoughts on other people’s posts, among other things.  These videos are very short (around 15 seconds), and because of this one can see (or make) a ton of them within the span of an hour or two.

Although Tiktok was founded in the fall of 2017, it’s exploded, with 800 million users as of 2018 and even more today.  Tiktok has also been responsible for many internet trends, such as the “Hit or Miss” meme, the “Maybe I’ll be Tracer” trend, or the countless Youtube videos documenting weird and wacky Tiktok clips.  Because of this, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of kids at THS that have the app and use it frequently.

One such person would be Abby Bahlau, a senior at THS.  “I use it more than [other] social media,” Bahlau said, admitting that she spends at least an hour each day on Tiktok.  Bahlau uses Tiktok to look at various other videos that users post on the site, and makes videos herself “when I’m bored.”  

However, this isn’t very unusual.  Over half of all people surveyed when making this article said that they used Tiktok on a daily basis. Since people with the app use it so much, the question arises:  why Tiktok? 

“It’s a really fun app and some of the videos are really funny,” said a junior who uses the app.  Another user, a freshman, said that she likes everything about the app “except for the e-girls.” Bahlau poignantly summarized the appeal of Tiktok as well:  “It’s so funny!” 

Unfortunately, this devotion to Tiktok doesn’t seem to be very significant, at least in the lives of the students.  With responses to a question about the significance of Tiktok in personal life ranging from “It’s just a phase” to “nah, not really,” it seems the general consensus is that Tiktok isn’t necessarily essential to the life or character of its users.  However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy it.

While most of the students with Tiktok aren’t stars yet, there are some exceptions.  Meet Hunter Hoefker, a senior who has become ‘Tiktok famous.’ Hoefker originally downloaded Tiktok “to see if I could get 100 followers in a week.”  He got 100 in a day. Since then, his account (@edgyhunter) has only grown — at the time of writing this article, he has over 67,000 followers on the app.  

When asked about the secret to his success, Hoefker raised an interesting point: “I try to be unique and also follow trends, but put my own little twist on them.  I make sure that the content is quality and consistent.”

This highlights an interesting trend in Tiktoks: in order to be famous, one has to blend creativity and trendiness with originality and follower mentality.  However, this isn’t all that has to be done. Hoefker explains the process for making videos: “On average, a video takes me 15 minutes to come up with a good idea, and after I come up with my idea it takes 10-15 minutes to film it, and it takes around the same amount of time to edit it.” Sounds like a lot for a 15 second video.

Tiktok has been blowing up around the high school, and for good reason.  From watching funny dog videos to making your own content, this app has transformed how people can express themselves through media while also fulfilling Andy Warhol’s prediction all those years ago.  Even if you don’t have the app yet, all hope is not lost — there’s still time to ride this trend, and have fun with it. Who knows, maybe you will be the next Hunter Hoefker! However, we do know this — Tiktok is here to stay, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down at THS.


TikTok Legend Hunter Hoefker.