Longhorns Invade Tik Tok

Rolando Hernandez

Incoming communication sciences and disorders freshman Katarina Ramos is like any other incoming UT student, but when Ramos isn’t folding T-shirts at her part-time job at Forever 21 or planning her class schedule, she makes 15-second Tik Tok videos.

Tik Tok is a social and video sharing platform similar to Vine. However, Tik Tok users are able to share existing audio files that create trends in the community.

Ramos is just one of over 27 million users in the U.S. who open the video sharing app.

Ramos has accumulated over 21,600 followers and over 600,000 likes under the username @sussvnflower. She’s mostly known for a series of Valentine’s Day videos, in which she documented her confessions of feelings for her now-boyfriend. Although she credits her following to these videos, Ramos said popularity isn’t easy.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Ramos said. “A lot of my followers are young girls, and I don’t want to say anything or do anything to lead them wrong.”

Due to her amount of followers, Ramos can participate in Tik Tok’s Live beta feature. Through the new feature, Tik Tok creators can interact with their audiences through chat messages and games. In return, they receive “gifts” from their followers that can be converted to real-world currency.

“I’ve done a few and have $9 in my account,” Ramos said. “It doesn’t translate to a lot of money, but it’s a great way to interact and spend time with your followers.”

Ramos said many old vine users have made their resurgence to Tik Tok.

Government junior Caleb Newton said Tik Tok is similar to Vine, especially when former Vine stars such as Cole Hersch (@cole.hersch) and Enya Umanzor (@user40850309) are accessible on his feed. However, he said Tik Tok has an amazing impact on people who weren’t well known while Vine was around.

Newton, who started making Tik Toks because it’s “more fun than to just scroll,” said that the app is essentially like a video version of Twitter.

“The craziest part of Tik Tok is how it can make audios blow up,” Newton said. “‘Old Town Road’ gained its popularity through the Tik Tok community.”

Sophomore radio-television-film twins Amanda and Alyssa Edwards, said the community is fun and interesting with so many users making content.

“The people are so creative and genuinely enjoy what they’re doing,” Amanda said. “That alone speaks volumes about the community.”

The Edwards don’t just watch and enjoy content; they create, too. They run separate accounts, @itsalyssayall (Alyssa) and @n0bmaster69 (Amanda), filled with videos of them dancing to various audio tracks in comedic and lighthearted ways.

“We love dancing and expressing our true selves, and it’s a fun bonding activity,” Amanda said. “We love the responses we get, so that inspires us to continue making them.”

The former orientation advisers said making videos started out as a way to get the day started.

“We were both extremely tired from waking up early every day,” Amanda said. “We thought of ways to wake ourselves up besides coffee and, somehow, Tik Tok became an option. We haven’t stopped since.”