The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum


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Students Go Viral

Three seniors develop new niches through popular social media platform
Betsy Fries
Seniors Tyler May, Lorna Kruesel, and Clara Lee Molina (left to right) pictured in popular videos and their profile pages

It’s no surprise that TikTok has been consuming the lives of students, while simultaneously devouring their attention span. For every user the experience on the app is different. For three Blake seniors their experiences vary. None of these students are actually “TikTok famous.” They don’t consider themselves famous and by TikTok’s standards they are not, but when asked they don’t know what they are to be considered. Additionally, there seems to be a difference between “TikTok famous” and “going viral.” Being famous entails a creator who constantly produces content that receives major views and likes. While going viral is a more of a one-hit wonder video blow-up. 

Lorna Kruesel ’21 @enlightenmint69 (Betsy Fries)

Lorna Kruesel ‘21 downloaded the app during November 2019 and posted mainly private videos. In fear of unwanted attention from classmates, she stayed private until March 2020. In June, Kruesel worked at Starbucks and her coworker at the time had over 2 million followers, which is considered to be TikTok famous. They made a video together on her coworkers account which led to Kruesel gaining over 800 followers. 

It was not until late September when Kruesel posted an outfits video showcasing a different outfit for each day of the week that gained quite a bit of views and likes. After that she posted random videos, but posted another outfits video, which also received a lot of attention. However, her most viral post was an outfits video, which received 600k views and 290k likes. 

In addition to fashion content, she posted music compilations, beauty, and random nature montages. With a peak of 11.8k followers, the startling mass following and attention was quite overwhelming for Kruesel to handle. She dealt with the typical effects of going viral that one would expect to receive on a social media platform, but comments and questions about her body got to be too much. 

She states, “A small handful of comments did not sit right with me at all and I compared myself way too much with people. I think that the worst part is that I don’t even know this person and they’re making me feel awful.” Every time she would open the app she would be bombarded with notifications and comments leading to excessive screen time. She states, “TikTok consumed way too much of time and it got in the way of doing homework.” She soon deleted the app for mental health reasons, and is happy with her decision. 

Tyler May ’21 @tdizzletiktok (Betsy Fries)

On the contrary, Tyler May ‘21 tries to post once a day. His most viral video is a funny, relatable conversation, duetting (a video response) with a toddler. He states, “One day in between classes I made the duet with the baby and it got 3 million views,” but he wouldn’t “qualify it as being famous.” He believes that TikTok is a place where anyone can post whatever they want and he doesn’t stick to a particular category when it comes to content. He also states that “the algorithm is so weird. I joined the creator fund because free money, but now my views are steadily dropping. I’m actually losing followers everyday because [TikTok] doesn’t put my videos on the for you page anymore.” 

The creator fund is where users can get paid based on many factors, the biggest one being views. May doesn’t know if wants to continue staying on it to receive his check and leave or stay on it and hope that he gets more views. The most frustrating part was when he got two of his videos deleted for no reason. He sent an appeal to one of them and it got put back on his page, but by the time that happened the views and like had stopped. The other one violated TikTok’s policies. Even though his views are dropping, he still thinks it’s fun. He states, “Even if people don’t watch my videos, I still like making them.” 

Clara Lee Molina ’21 @clara_leemolina (Betsy Fries)

The most recent TikToker to go viral, Clara Lee Molina ‘21 posted her very first TikTok embroidering jeans. With only having had the app for a couple of days, she decided to download it in light of the new year. She states, “I did that project over winter break because I’m not a very artistic person and so I just wanted to find my own artistic art form.” 

She had already planned on making a time lapse and filming her process, so why not just post it to TikTok? The app was a way for her to showcase her creative outlet. She states, “I’m happy and I plan on making more embroidering videos, it was very fun for me.” 

While the algorithm and content are still in question, she expresses, “It’s one of those things where you don’t know if it’s going to do well and so the only thing you can do is try your hardest.” However, she holds some strong beliefs on the types of creators who go viral. She expresses, “the thing about being a straight white boy on this app is that guys who are hot and do the bare minimum get all of the attention.” While she’s not wrong, there are over a billion users on the app there has got to be more to it. 

She’s gotten comments asking her if she sells anything, but due to the logistics and her wanting to do other things she’s not going to sell any embroidered clothing. With all that being said TikTok is not like many other social media platforms, “there’s something for everyone.” 

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About the Contributor
Betsy Fries
Betsy Fries, Contributing Writer
Hey there, I'm Betsy. My pronouns are she/her. My toxic personality trait is that I like my iced coffee more than I like my friends. Sorry not sorry. I'm a Senior, and I am currently a Contributing Writer. My freshman year I started as a staff photographer and I wrote a couple articles. I loved seeing the end result of the final paper and wanted to contribute more to the process. Sophomore year I edited Features and was the Photography Editor. Last year I was the Creative Director and Photography Editor. I also edited Food Features for a short amount of time. Last semester I was the Creative Director. I like to take photos and stuff...

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