‘It keeps me calm’: Fresno State Tik Tok creators express themselves

This illustration picture taken on May 27, 2020 in Paris shows the logo of the social network application Tik Tok on the screen of a phone. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Funny videos and trendy dances are something that the masses have clamored for, and the social media app Tik Tok is the undisputed king in the viral realm since its debut in 2016.

The app has over 800 million users, and Fresno State students are among them.

Asia Nunez, a sophomore agriculture education major, said Tik Tok is “a place where people can express themselves.”  

Nunez, who hopes to become a high school teacher and FFA (Future Farmers of America) adviser said, “It [Tik Tok] gets bigger and I was like, dude, like, no, don’t feel embarrassed about having the app on your phone. Just be yourself.”

With Tik Tok being known for its more comedic side and being a place to find niche communities to share a laugh or find others with familiar tastes it was a place for Derek Brown, a junior communications major, to stand out and find a platform. 

With classes online Tik Tok has provided Brown a sense of reprieve. 

“It keeps me calm,” he said. “It keeps me level headed. The reason why is because I feel like everyone needs an outlet, to have a creative process and thinking outside the box.” 

Brown wrote a speech about the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd in May of this year. Through his speech, he was able to reach a viewer who was facing similar problems regarding his race and found comfort in his words and through Brown’s content. 

“Sometimes you feel like your content or what you’re making doesn’t affect or impact anybody, but it does,” Brown said.

School during virtual learning has proved to be more difficult than originally anticipated for some students. One of those students is KellyAnn Whited, a sophomore mathematics major.

Distance learning for a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) major has proved demanding. Multiple assignments and lectures drove Whited to devise a unique plan. Needing extra help she formed study groups with other STEM majors through Tik Tok. 

“We’ll help each other with calculus and other things,” Whited said.

Whited’s career goal is to go into teaching or to go into law school, which she says she is getting information from on Tik Tok.

A page called “Everyday Law” is a Tik Tok page she follows. “It helps me learn more about law than I thought I knew,” Whited said.

With so many niche communities the education side of social media has found a home on Tik Tok through bite size informational videos on how to solve math problems and Bill Nye The Science Guy providing fun science experiments for children at home.

As more and more creators become successful and gain a following on Tik Tok, in hopes of keeping them on their app, Tik Tok has put out a creators fund where content makers on the app can apply for financial compensation for their content being posted on Tik Tok. This year Whited joined the fund. 

“It’s actually bought a book for me so far,” she said. “So, that’s good.”

Correction: Oct. 20, 2020
An earlier version of this article misspelled one of the names of the students. She is KellyAnn Whited, not Kelly Ann Whitehead.

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