Tag Archives: social media

How I went VIRAL on TikTok

By Michael Neufeld

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3½ minute read]

A little while back, I went viral on TikTok. At the time of writing this (October 2020), I have thirty-one thousand followers and over half a million likes collectively on my posts. While this isn’t necessarily equivalent to the amount of recognition creators, influencers, and the like have gotten on TikTok, but it’s certainly more recognition than I ever expected to see on the app.

A screenshot of Michael’s viral Tiktok video where he plays the Star Wars theme in a parking garage-almost a quarter million likes!

Since quarantine started, I have been creating short, seven-second to one-minute long videos and posting them on TikTok. Most of them involve me playing trombone in some sort of creative way, whether that is playing along to a popular song, “duetting” someone else’s popular video, or just finding different shenanigans to engage in with my primary instrument. I found a variety of topics on the app, such as musical humor, anime discussion, or other interests of mine, and used those to creatively approach the way I made content. Soon, I found a community of people with similar interests. I connected with jazz musicians across America, who studied at reputable music schools that I knew of. They were all on TikTok for the same reason as me: we had nothing better to do in quarantine.

Over the first few months of COVID-19 lockdown, I had a few successful videos. At first, the bland videos would average around 500 views, while the more popular ones would score a few thousand. The response wasn’t massive, but it was entertaining for me to see which videos gained more of a response than others. I then started a consistent posting schedule which set me up to gain traction. I started one video off by saying “Alright here’s Day 1 of me Rick Rolling your feed until I go viral,” and proceeded to play Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” For those of you unfamiliar with “Rick Rolling,” it is a prank that was popular around ten years ago, where one person would send a YouTube link to someone else, saying it was a link to something interesting. For example, one might have sent the link over a text accompanied by an explanation, “Hey, check out this video I worked hard on making!” The twist comes when the recipient opens the link and is sent to the music video for Rick Astley’s hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. After I played day one, I played a harmony to the first track and synced it up, so it sounded like I was playing a duet with myself. The audio at the beginning sounded, “Alright here’s Day 2 of me Rick Rolling your feed until I go viral.” This harmonization process went on for a little over a month, and each video netted me more and more views. I broke 500 followers, which at the time felt like a big achievement.

Michael’s early attempts to go viral

I kept making videos and nothing of note happened for a couple months, aside from a couple hits that broke thirty thousand views. Then I got an idea: “I need to practice, but I don’t have a practice room available because of COVID restrictions. Because I make too much noise in my apartment, I need to go to a parking structure to get some privacy and not disturb anyone. Maybe I’ll film myself in that resonant, echoey space and see what happens on TikTok.” Within the first five videos of me playing in a high-reverb parking garage, I jumped fifteen thousand followers over the course of two days. The culprit was a video of me playing the force theme from Star Wars (or “Binary Sunset” by it’s official name). That video currently is close to hitting one million views, with almost a quarter million likes.

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Quarantine Watch: The Social Network

[4 minute read]

Run-time: 2h1m

By Natalie Grace Sipula

While on my phone the other day, I accidentally scrolled to the menu that records my daily screen time. To put it lightly, I was shocked by the amount of time I have been spending on my phone lately. I think most of us can relate to an increase in screen time occurring in our daily lives since quarantine began. Technology and social media have connected us in ways that were never thought to be possible, and they allow us to stay contributing members of society even from home. It makes me wonder how we would have reacted to quarantine 15 or 20 years ago, but then, one doesn’t miss something which is unknown to them. That transition to global interconnectedness through technology is truly unique to this generation, and social media has played a large role in that transition. If you are looking for a film to watch at home that explores this very topic, look no further than The Social Network.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Academy award nominated film The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and many others, directed by David Fincher, traces the development of Facebook from its humble beginnings: Mark Zuckerberg’s college dorm room at Harvard. The film employs a variety of timelines to chronicle the story of Facebook’s creation, the personal lives of its founders, and the ensuing intellectual property lawsuits that plagued Zuckerberg’s young career. It is fast-paced, exciting, and rife with witty banter.

The first time I watched this movie I was struck by the impressive dialogue and pacing. The director shot this film in a way that moves almost as fast as the connections millions of people make on Facebook every day. The dialogue is rapid, the interpersonal relationships between the characters are complex, and the story weaves between the business and personal narratives of its subjects, which are as intense and messy as anyone would expect from college students finding themselves at the forefront of a multi-million dollar idea. Prior to watching, I expected the movie to be more similar to a biopic of Mark Zuckerberg’s life, but it focused on the narrative of his life objectively from multiple perspectives, leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions about the series of events. This, along with the variety of short scenes taking place in different locations in a non time-sequential order, truly makes you feel like you are piecing together Zuckerberg’s story from pieces of information found in various places on the Internet. It surely leaves a strong impression on the viewer along with questions about the influence media has on our lives.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash
Continue reading Quarantine Watch: The Social Network