Going viral may not be as fun as you think.
In today's world, the quality of the content you produce on social media is dictated by the amount of views or likes you get, especially in the case of TikTok. Because of this, everyone wants to get as many likes or views as possible, whether that be from participating in the latest trend, showing off your dancing skills, or doing something so stupid that everyone talks about it. But what many people don't see is the initial reaction that a typical content creator has when their first photo or video goes viral.
For me, all it took to get a whopping 300,000 views and over 70,000 likes was a "Which "WandaVision" Character Are You?" filter and a bit of inspiration from other content creators that I follow. But what I did not expect was for thousands of views to start flooding in on this video titled "WandaVision: Murder Mystery Edition," which took no more than five short minutes of effort. It did not take long to realize that, for whatever reason, my video was starting to blow up, unlike my other videos in the past.
After seeing where my video was going, I was not entirely sure what to do next. It started with giving my sister updates for every thousand likes and every 10,000 views while we stood in disbelief. But then the comments began flooding in, reading "part two?" or "Do this again but with Black Widow!" and I quickly felt the urge to produce more content to satisfy the people in that comment section and the hundreds of new followers that I had gained. At first, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, purely because I was still enjoying myself. But I quickly wasn't enjoying myself a couple of videos later.
After a couple of weeks, my viewership noticeably decreased, and I felt an overwhelming pressure to remedy this somehow and get back on track. I found myself constantly on TikTok, obsessively checking my views and responding to comments, and those comments became my next problem. While most of the comments were very positive, there were occasional negative comments that popped up, and in the mindset I was in, it was hard just to ignore them. I now needed to appease these people in my comment section so that the negative comments would stop, and the positive comments would come flooding back in. In one case, the comments were so much more negative than positive that I ended up taking the video down and pretending as if it never happened. In the end, it became apparent that what I had not realized about going even semi-viral was that in reaching thousands of people through my content, I also gave them the ability to reach me. Something I was clearly not prepared for at all.
Overall, while at this point I am much more appreciative of how well those few videos did and I now can say "I actually went kinda viral on TikTok a few times," I think it is also important to acknowledge the toll that this experience can take on one's mental health, especially that of teenagers and young adults. I may have gotten past it now, but this still sent me spiraling over 300,000 views, which is still a lot. Meanwhile, teens and young adults are getting millions of views who likely had similar experiences in regards to their mental health. It is incredibly easy to claim that something as simple as views or likes would not matter to you, but it is impossible to tell how thousands of views or likes could affect you until that's exactly what you have.