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How Super-Straight Started a Culture War on TikTok

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How Super-Straight Started a Culture War on <b>TikTok</b> thumbnail

Progress toward transgender acceptance has sparked a debate over dating norms. Social-media culture is polarizing the discussion.

Staff writer at The Atlantic

An illustration of TikTok images in red and blue

Getty / The Atlantic

Back in February, Kyle Royce, a 20-year-old in British Columbia, Canada, created a video that proved far more controversial and influential than he had imagined it would be when he uploaded it to TikTok. He had built up a small following poking gentle fun at “Karen” behavior. Occasionally, he would also do live-streams, during which some participants would ask about his background—he’s a straight, cisgender Christian of mixed Asian and white ancestry—and press him on controversial matters of the day. On multiple occasions, he was asked if he would date a trans woman. He was repeatedly told, upon responding no, that his answer was transphobic.

“I felt like I was getting unfairly labeled,” he told me recently. “I’m not transphobic, I see that as a negative term.” Then, he had an idea. “Lots of sexualities are being created,” he said, alluding to the proliferation of terms such as pansexual, demisexual, sapiosexual, and more. Recasting his own preferences as a sexual identity of its own, he reasoned, would be “like a kind of defense” against accusations of perpetrating harm.

In a video trying out his idea, he said:

Yo, guys, I made a new sexuality now, actually. It’s called “super-straight,” since straight people, or straight men as myself––I get called transphobic because I wouldn’t date a trans woman.

You know, they’re like, “Would you date a trans woman?”

No.

“Why? That’s a female.”

No, that’s not a real woman to me. I want a real woman. “No, you’re just transphobic.” So now, I’m “super-straight”! I only date the opposite gender, women, that are born women. So you can’t say I’m transphobic now, because that’s just my sexuality, you know.

When I asked what his intentions were on a spectrum from 100 percent earnest to 100 percent trolling, he had trouble answering. Nowhere seemed quite right. He was trying to accurately convey his dating preferences and truly felt frustrated by others’ criticism. But he was also trying to make a point by co-opting a norm of LGBTQ activists: that one’s professed sexual or gender identity is unassailable.

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Had the video spread no more widely than Royce’s followers, a low-stress exchange of ideas might have ensued. Instead his video quickly garnered many thousands of likes and shares. Supporters deemed the term super-straight an ingenious gambit forcing dogmatic social-justice advocates to live by the same standards they enforce on others. Royce also drew a lot of critics. Haters argued that super-straight was a cruel parody of all LGBTQ people. The video quickly disappeared from TikTok, perhaps because many users flagged it as violating the app’s rules. It reappeared about a week later, presumably after human content moderators reviewed it. That’s when it went massively viral. My TikTok feed, usually a respite of surfing highlights, recipe ideas, and Generation X nostalgia, was overrun by super-straight. Fans and critics alike commented on and shared videos about the subject—or posted their own. “Let me break this down: trans women are women,” declared the TikTok creator @tblizzy, who currently has more than 425,000 followers. “So if you’re a heterosexual man and you said you wouldn’t date a trans woman because it’s a preference, that’s just transphobia, period.”

The super-straight meme was soon proliferating on Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. The more it spread, the more people encountered it not through the original video, but through derivative content. Someone made a super-straight flag. Encountering the black-and-orange banner and the hashtag #SuperStraight, many internet users presumed they were encountering a random attack on trans people. “Have you seen these colors on a TikTok video? Scroll [away] instantly,” a critic warned in one of many response clips. “These men are known as Super Straights. We have to keep them off the For You page.” (“For You” is  where users see whatever TikTok serves up based on an algorithm that boosts videos that garner interactions.) “Our trans family is being targeted, and we have to keep them safe. Do not comment, like, or watch their content. Pause it and report it.” Many users joined this effort to report fellow creators and censor their accounts in the name of safety. This mobilization in turn deepened many super-straight fans’ conviction that they were the victims of discrimination.

For me, the fight over the term super-straight suggested something else: that social-media culture is disorienting to many people in ways that make hard conversations harder still, and that no faction in Gen Z will win an argument about matters of the heart by tarring the other side as problematic. Few decisions are more personal than the choice of a partner. Questions about an individual’s sexuality need not degenerate into public fights about who is bigoted; an individual heterosexual man’s hesitation to date trans women need not provoke trans-rights supporters or encourage anti-trans trolls. But whenever an asserted identity comes to double as a hashtag, drama is sure to follow.

If you started dating in the 1990s, as I did, odds are you’ve never been asked, “Would you date a trans person?” To their credit, Millennials and Gen Zers have far surpassed their elders in welcoming trans people into the American cultural mainstream. Because of that progress, younger people will grapple with sensitive questions many of their elders never contemplated in the era before widespread trans visibility, when a cisgender person might never knowingly encounter a trans person in daily life.

Late-20th-century film and television did occasionally feature trans characters. And the hostility of many Hollywood portrayals is one reason why some trans-rights supporters remain hypervigilant to perceived slights, particularly when they concern straight men encountering trans women. In the Netflix documentary Disclosure, a chronicle of Hollywood portrayals of trans people over the decades, the actress and writer Jen Richards, who is transgender, reflects on movie scenes where a character in a romantic entanglement with a straight man is revealed to be a trans woman with a penis. In both the 1992 drama The Crying Game and the 1994 comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective—which spoofs The Crying Game’s climactic scene—a straight man retches in disgust. In some other films, the men erupt in violence. Without film representations of trans people, Richards reflected, “I might not have ever internalized that sense of being monstrous, of having fears around disclosure, of seeing myself as something abhorrent, and as a punch line and as a joke. I might be able to go on a date with a man without having the image of men vomiting.”

She continued:

When you start watching trans clips back to back, you see how often all the people around the trans character feel betrayed or lied to. But frankly, I kind of hate the idea of disclosure. And the sense that it presupposes that there is something to disclose. It reinforces their assumption that there is a secret that is hidden and that I have a responsibility to tell others. And that presupposes that the other person might have some kind of issue or problem with what’s to be disclosed, and that their feelings matter more than mine.

Hollywood has seldom portrayed the issue of disclosure from a trans person’s perspective. But such a conversation did happen in 2016 on the show Horace and Pete. In one scene, Horace, a heterosexual man, meets Rhonda, a woman. They have mutually enjoyable sex. At breakfast the next morning, they get to know each other. Horace notes that he has two adult children who are the same age but not twins—an anomaly that prompts him to reluctantly admit that years earlier he had an affair with the sister of his then-pregnant wife. When it’s Rhonda’s turn to talk about herself, she makes a comment raising the possibility that she was “born a woman in a male body.” Horace cannot tell if she is kidding. That makes him uncomfortable as he questions her:

Horace: You would have to tell somebody a thing like that.

Rhonda: Well, but you didn’t ask me before we had sex. You just told me about your big, special penis and invited me upstairs.

Horace: But you don’t have to ask people which one are you before you get started. A person has the right to assume certain things.

Rhonda: Did I have a right to assume that you aren’t a sexual deviant who did the unthinkable with his special penis? In some cultures what you did in your family is considered a crime punishable by death. So did you have an obligation to tell me what kind of man I was getting intimate with instead of springing it on me like the morning paper over some eggs?

Until very recently, very few people would have shamed a man like Horace for wanting to know if a prospective sex partner was trans or for feeling that he wouldn’t want to have sex with a trans woman for inarticulable reasons. “A 2018 study showed that only 1.8 percent of straight women and 3.3 percent of straight men would date a transgender person,” The Advocate reported in 2019. “A small minority of cisgender lesbians (29 percent) and gays (11.5 percent) would be willing. Bisexual/queer/nonbinary participants (these were all combined into one group) were most open to having a trans partner, but even among them, just a slim majority (52 percent) were open to dating a transgender person.”

Whenever people are mismatched in their desires, the outcome can be difficult for all involved. Trans people face particular challenges: Knowing that much of your preferred dating pool disqualifies you before meeting you must be deeply frustrating. For some trans people, the subject is additionally freighted with fear that by seeking sex, they might risk violence. I empathize with people on the other side of this divide, too. Most have dating preferences that don’t necessarily imply a negative view of people who fall outside them––I’d be averse to dating an 18-year-old or a 60-year-old, yet I neither hate nor fear either age cohort––and that they might not be able to change even if they wanted to. Claims that only bigots would decline to date a trans person strike some commentators as a form of coercion. “It’s obviously completely valid to exclude trans people from your dating pool if you’re not attracted to them, and anyone who says otherwise is honestly kind of rapey,” argues the YouTuber Blaire White, who is trans. Nevertheless, among young people on social media, the perspectives that Jen Richards and the Rhonda character expressed are now common enough that some cis and trans people harshly criticize trans-exclusionary daters.

The longer social-media shamers condemn preferences that the overwhelming majority of people share, the more inevitable the pushback. For many, Royce’s meme was defensible precisely because it was couched as a plea for inclusion. “The fact that people are upset about this new sexuality being created is a little hypocritical coming from the folks who created abrosexual, demisexual, gerontosexual, gynosexual, intrasexual, kalosexual, multisexual, pomosexual, sapiosexual, and literally hundreds more,” White said on YouTube. “Even though super-straight is a joke, the irony is that it’s a lot more valid than a lot of those I just listed. Actually, all of them. Y’all are releasing new sexualities more than I release new videos, like it’s your full-time job. But you freak out when someone else does it?”

As super-straight spread and mutated, Royce watched the debate with alarm. He was still associated with the meme he created, but it had acquired its own momentum. Digital bullies began going through his Instagram posts, harassing his friends, and targeting his mother’s business with negative reviews, causing her to fear for her safety and beg him to delete his social media. He also felt a responsibility to urge others to use his creation for good, not evil. “Don’t use super-straight to spread hate,” he said in a follow-up video. “The super-straight motto is: ‘You do you; love and respect everybody else.’”

Of course, matters were beyond his control. A TikTok user who saw the original video might come away with a radically different understanding of it than, say, folks on Reddit. “The super-straight video started to spread on social media, eventually hitting the /pol board of 4chan, known for being a home to far-right trolls, and growing from there,” Insider reported. “The board members discussed creating and sharing memes about being super straight to ‘drive a wedge’ within LGBTQ communities and ‘use the left’s tactics against themselves’ … The posts also directly linked the abbreviation for super straight to the Nazi SS.”

On TikTok many creators who associated themselves with the label were people of color. Some gay and lesbian people began declaring themselves “super-gay” and “super-lesbian”—meaning that they too felt attracted only to people who are cisgender. Visual memes soon emerged. In some, failing to recognize self-professed “super-gays” or “super-straights” was an intolerant act.

Learn the difference. pic.twitter.com/PnsS9TCyct

— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) March 7, 2021

In a video aimed at a super-straight TikToker, the YouTuber Eden Estrada retorted, “Your entire sexuality is based off of trans women, and yet I bet not a single one has ever paid attention to you. Look, I can literally care less what any ugly random turd in the middle of America is attracted to. But I do think that it’s really sus when these insecure little shrimps resort to making up a whole sexuality to bring down an entire community who has literally done nothing to them.”

Another negative response was more brusque:

#superstraight i proudly say that i am a superphobic pic.twitter.com/xdXUcne5tt

— eevee is crying /pos — ※ (@bentokoii) March 6, 2021

Super-straight adherents celebrated antagonistic reactions like that because, in their telling, they exposed progressives as hypocritically threatening violence to others on the basis of their sexual orientation. At its most dysfunctional, the meme war descended into a kind of mutually assured destruction: Many people invoking super-straight sounded like assholes. Many people denouncing it sounded like hypocrites. And the incentives were perverse: In a culture war, assholery or hypocrisy against the other side can raise your status with allies.

Internet discourse does not have to be that way. A better approach begins by recognizing that the worst of what we see is not representative. Super-straight went viral in February, but it has since become the social-media equivalent of a multi-variant pandemic. No matter how far you go down the rabbit hole of YouTube compilations of super-straight TikTok videos and memes, you’ll remain unable to generalize about it accurately. If someone assures you that super-straight is “just” the expression of a new sexual orientation, or “just” transphobic bigots—and especially if they tell you it’s “just” Nazis, or that its critics are “just” hypocritical and intolerant social-justice warriors—don’t let them mislead you. All of this is too expansive, fragmented, and varied for anyone to fully grasp or neatly characterize.

When its layers overwhelmed me, I turned to the video essayist Natalie Wynn, whose YouTube channel, ContraPoints, excels at getting fans to grapple with the complexity of fraught subjects. Wynn is transgender. In a recent phone interview about the super-straight debate, I asked her how the public conversation about dating and trans people might proceed more constructively.

She expressed frustration both with people who aggressively volunteer that they don’t want to date trans people and with people who aggressively ask others if they would date a trans person––and cautioned that the latter group is not representative of trans people. “If my only impression of what trans people were came from Twitter,” she joked, “I would be a transphobe.” And what’s more, she said, cis allies are often the ones who are pushing the matter.

Wynn does believe that “being totally closed-minded to dating a trans person often comes from a place of ignorance about trans people.” In her telling, people who believe that they’d never want to date a trans person should consider the possibility that they could change their mind––especially if they grew up in an environment where negative stereotypes about trans people abounded and attractive portrayals of trans people or relationships with them were nonexistent.

“To come out as trans, which I didn’t do until I was in my mid-to-late 20s, I had to overcome an upbringing of misinformation, stereotyping, and self-loathing,” she said. Might such negativity mislead cis people, too? “Often, when a person finds themselves attracted for the first time to a trans person, that comes as a shock to them,” she argued, as their intellectual preconceptions turn out to be at odds with how they feel. They want what they didn’t think they’d ever want. “That’s how this happens. Often people are surprised. They think they are not attracted to trans people, but then there’s a trans person they’re attracted to. That’s how attraction works. It’s not this ideological thing.” She also noted that “who you date is a really personal thing. And no one is ever going to respond well to being told that it’s bigoted to date who they want to date or to not date who they don’t want to date.” Berating other people “is never going to elicit any reaction other than causing them to get more locked down in their view.”

Notice how her approach points away from drawing sweeping conclusions based on meme analysis and back toward questions about how best to understand how fellow humans think and feel. Others can challenge or contest her viewpoints and understanding by invoking their own experiences or insights. But everyone would benefit from forswearing tactical stigma and shaming, laying down their memes, calling truce in the culture wars, and talking out their differences like friends.

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The “Better Than Revenge” TikTok Trend, Explained

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Coming at us all the way from the depths of your 2010 CD collection is Taylor Swift’s song “Better Than Revenge,” which is currently spinning in the background of the new Better Than Revenge TikTok videos. It’s all part of some juicy, juicy social media drama, so if you’re in the mood, strap in.

As you probably know, Swift’s iconic lyrics go, “The story starts when it was hot and it was summer. And, I had it all. I had him right there where I wanted him. She came along, got him alone, and let’s hear the applause. She took him faster than you could say sabotage.”

Just like the song, the trend focuses on backstabbing and women who steal each other’s boyfriends. You typically see a montage of a happy couple in the videos, hugging, kissing, and smiling. And then, right as the lyric about sabotage drops, that’s when it becomes clear their story doesn’t end well.

At that point, the montage switches to photos of the poster’s now-ex with another woman. (Or it shows evidence that she was, in some way, involved in the breakup.) One of these videos sparked a Twitter debate between TikTokers Mads Lewis, Nessa Barrett, and Jaden Hossler after Lewis posted her own version.

According to Seventeen, the video showed images of Lewis’s relationship with Hossler before Barrett allegedly “took him faster than you can say sabotage.” She later deleted the video, calling it “immature,” but it had already made its way into the forever-files of the internet.

TikToker Indiana Massara shared a “Revenge” video as well, but hers is a little more ambiguous. The caption reads, “The way I could end them all with this challenge,” but she doesn’t say much else or explain who the “them” might be.

Massara’s fans have speculated that she’s alluding to her rumored ex-boyfriend Blake Gray and his new girlfriend Amelie Zilber. Did Zilber take Gray faster than you can say sabotage? The world may never know.

The trend gets shadier and shadier the deeper you go into the hashtag. And all it takes is one look at the comments section to see how many people love it, with some saying they’re all about “Messy TikTok.”

Again, as Lewis noted, it’s not the most mature way to call attention to an ex. In this instance, the confusion between her and Barrett — which went deeper than this particular TikTok video, according to Seventeen — appears to have caused Barrett and her boyfriend, Josh Richards, to go their separate ways.

But what else do you expect from lyrics that pit women against each other? “Better Than Revenge” is allegedly about actress Camille Belle, who dated Swift’s ex Joe Jonas in 2008. At the time, Swift was called out for slut-shaming due to the lyrics, “She’s not a saint, and she’s not what you think […] She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.”

Years later, in 2014, Swift did admit she’d gone overboard. She told The Guardian, “I was 18 when I wrote that. That’s the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend. Then you grow up and realize no one can take someone from you if they don’t want to leave.”

It’s precisely why you might want to stick to other versions of the trend, which feature dogs and babies “stealing” people away. Because if a puppy wants to stab you in the back and take your partner, they totally can — and they will.

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How to make a TikTok Duet (on Instagram, too)

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How to make a <b>TikTok</b> Duet (on Instagram, too) thumbnail
instagram-tiktok-logo-phone-5451

Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re on TikTok — or have seen TikTok videos reposted elsewhere — you’ve likely seen a Duet. Sometimes TikTok creators film videos specifically designed for other users on the app to add to. They can range from dances to singing songs or lip-syncing songs to viral challenges to blind reacts and more. 

Along with features like Stitch, TikTok Duets are another way for creators to interact with each other and for new TikTok-ers to get their foot in the “influencer door.” 

Read more: How to use TikTok: Make videos, go live, gain followers and maybe get famous

How to duet a video on TikTok

1. Download the TikTok app and make an account if you haven’t already.

2. Open the app and find a video you want to duet with. Sometimes creators will make videos specifically for someone to duet with. You might stumble across one in your main For You or Following feeds, but you can also search hashtags like #Duet, #DuetChallenge or #DuetWithMe. The video doesn’t have to be originally filmed to duet, though. 

3. Optional tip: Once you find a video, depending on what it is, you might want to “rehearse” a few times before recording. Don’t worry though, it’s not a one-take-only situation. 

4. After you find a video, tap the three-dot More icon in the bottom right of the video. 

5. Choose Duet (if Duet isn’t available, that means the creator turned it off in their own settings).

6. Start recording. 

7. When you’ve finished, add any special effects or edits and tap the checkmark. You can also add a few more effects after tapping the checkmark.

8. Tap Next after you’ve edited the video.

9. Before you publish, you can adjust your settings — allow or disallow comments, decide who can view the video and if others can duet or stitch with your video and add a description and additional hashtags.

10. Tap Post (or you can save to drafts for more editing).

Now you’re one step closer to TikTok fame (or at least a fun post for your own friends and followers). 

img-8019

Unless a creator adjusts it in settings, you can make a duet with their TikTok.


César Salza/CNET

Don’t use TikTok? Try Instagram’s Remix feature for duets

If you don’t have a TikTok account, social media app Instagram has its own take on the short video tool called Instagram Reels (here’s how to use Reels), as well as a new Duet-style feature called Remix. With the latest version of the app, you’ll be able to find Reels between Search and Instagram Shopping tabs at the bottom of the screen. 

reels-jpeg

A look at Instagram Reels layout. 


Shelby Brown/CNET

Here’s how to Remix an Instagram Reel

1. Open the Instagram app. Download and make an account if you haven’t already.

2. Open the Reels tab and find a Reel you want to remix. 

3. Tap the three-dot More icon on your chosen Reel.

4. If Remix is available for you, choose the option Remix This Reel. 

5. From there, the interface works the same as making a Reel — the Reel you’re remixing will just be in the shot. Start filming and you can add music, edits and stickers. 

6. Tap next to watch and finalize any edits. Like TikTok, you can record and edit as much as you want. 

7. Tap next again, write in a caption, tag people and choose to add it as a Reel or to your Instagram Stories.

8. Tap Share or Save Draft.

For more TikTok tips and Instagram instructions, check out our tips on how to use TikTok and what might happen if Instagram for kids becomes a reality.

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TikTok Trends: How to Leverage Trending Content for Business : Social Media Examiner

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<b>TikTok</b> Trends: How to Leverage Trending Content for Business : Social Media Examiner thumbnail

Do you want more exposure on TikTok? Wondering how to tap into trending TikTok content?

In this article, you’ll discover three ways to identify trending TikTok content and learn how to leverage trends to promote your business on TikTok.

TikTok Trends: How to Leverage Trending Content for Business featuring insights from Wave Wyld on the Social Media Marketing Podcast.
This article was co-created by Wave Wyld and Michael Stelzner. For more about Wave, scroll to Other Notes From This Episode at the end of this article.

Why Businesses Should Consider TikTok

The number-one reason anyone gets on TikTok is for the organic reach. No other platform offers that amount of visibility, which is particularly attractive to businesses.

The possibility of virality is exciting and can be life-changing. You’re probably familiar with the hugely popular video of TikTok user Doggface on his skateboard, chilling to Fleetwood Mac. He took a swig of cranberry juice, looked at the camera, lip-synced the lyrics, and went viral. TikTok loves real, authentic moments like that.

@420doggface208Morning vibe ##420souljahz ##ec ##feelinggood ##h2o ##cloud9 ##happyhippie ##worldpeace ##king ##peaceup ##merch ##tacos ##waterislife ##high ##morning ##710 ##cloud9♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

As a business on TikTok, though, you don’t need to go viral or have hundreds of thousands of followers to be successful. You just need the right followers. As with marketing on Instagram, you don’t need 10K followers and the Swipe-Up feature to make money. You just need to attract your ideal followers. The same applies to TikTok.

Let’s be honest, the algorithms on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter aren’t designed to give you exposure. You’re lucky to have a small percentage of your followers ever see the content you post and the shelf life of content on these platforms is mere hours. But on TikTok, it’s totally different.

TikTok has publicly stated that your content has a shelf life of 90 days. You can have videos on the For You page (the main feed on TikTok) that are months old and still get comments, engagement, and followers from them.

The latest stats show that TikTok has approximately 80 million U.S. users. In the past year due to the pandemic, the platform’s demographics have shifted, so if you’re wondering if your target audience is on TikTok, they are. While the largest demographic age group is still 10 to 20 years, all ages are on the app.

You’ll also find a wide variety of communities on TikTok, ranging from moms, cosplayers, video gamers, and anime lovers to health and fitness, finance, book, and gardening-centric groups. Every community is there.

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How Leveraging TikTok Trends Can Help You Get More Exposure

TikTok is an app built on trends. As a business, leveraging trends allows you to show your personality, take advantage of the fun and entertaining side of the app, and get more exposure.

A trend is a common theme or music that’s in a video that people will repeat and generally put their own spin on. Trends are popular and fun, and it’s okay to do your own version of them. It’s not considered copying someone’s content like it would be on another platform.

TikTok isn’t just about showcasing your products or services, packaging videos, and showing the behind-the-scenes of your business. You need to relax a bit to connect with your audience. Having fun with TikTok trends shows people you don’t take yourself too seriously, which is a hallmark of the culture.

The best trends for businesses are the ones you can work into your niche. For example, one recent TikTok trend is the lean back trend. To create a video around this trend, you face the camera, look up, reach out your hand toward the camera, and lip-sync the lyrics. In the text, you say something about a situation or a problem.

Then cut to a side view of you leaning back, similar to a limbo style of movement. In the text, you reveal a punchline of how you overcame that problem or share something that didn’t let you get down. Any business—fitness, wellness, skincare, content creators, influencers, artists, and more—can incorporate a trend like this into their niche.

The TikTok algorithm doesn’t really curate trends. Instead, it shows users a mix of popular and less-popular videos in their feed that are curated to the type of content they engage with. So if you keep your trend video within your niche and put your own spin on it, you can get the right kind of eyeballs.

If you create a video based on a trend and people haven’t seen that trend before, they’ll watch it. And watch time is an important factor for your video performance. People need to watch your videos all the way to the end.

Trends are the fastest way for you to get more exposure on the platform but you’ll need to jump on those trends early if your goal is growth. Here’s how to find trends on TikTok and create a video based on a trend.

#1: Look for TikTok Trends Around Current Events

The first type of trend on TikTok is hot topics. These are trends based on popular current events. The day after the Super Bowl, there was a flood of posts of people reenacting the performance by the artist The Weeknd. When there was inclement weather in Texas this winter, many videos about that went viral.

To incorporate a hot topic into your TikTok marketing, you need to tie it to your brand, mission, or values. For example, on Inauguration Day, there were a lot of posts about celebrating the historic moment of the first female and person of color vice president. So if your business is about empowering women or has a target audience of women, you could easily take that hot topic and share some commentary on it.

#2: Check the Discover Page for TikTok Trends

Another type of TikTok trend is what you see on the Discover page. These are the curated trends that TikTok updates daily. They include trending hashtags, sounds, effects, and branded trends that businesses pay to have featured. For each of those trends, you can see how many videos have been made using that trend.

To access the Discover page, tap on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen.

Bear in mind that once a trend hits the Discover page, it’s already so popular and saturated that it probably won’t last longer than 3-4 more days. People are generally starting to get tired of watching videos based on the trends you see on this page, especially if they know what the punchline is or how the video’s going to end.

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While the trends on the Discover page don’t have a lot of staying power, they’re a great way to show your followers your personality, have a little fun, and participate in the culture of the app.

#3: Spot Up-and-Coming TikTok Trends

The third type of TikTok trend is up-and-coming trends. They might have only a few thousand videos based on them but have the potential to be really popular. As you might imagine, these trends are a little trickier to find but have the biggest potential for growth.

One of the challenges with trends on TikTok is that they don’t last long. They used to last about 7-10 days but now it’s more like 3-5 days before people get tired of seeing them on their For You page and just scroll past them. So you want to jump on these trends early before they hit the Discover page and become too saturated.

How do you spot an early trend?

Here’s the secret. Everyone’s For You page is curated based on the type of content they watch and engage with. So if you engage mainly with small business TikTok, your feed will reflect that. To spot early trends, you need to see a wider variety of content than just your niche.

The solution is to create a second empty TikTok account where you don’t engage with anything, follow anyone, or post anything. Just use it to scroll on the For You page. You’ll see different music, dances, and content creators that you wouldn’t see on your main account.

Scroll quickly through the feed and look for any repeating patterns with music, actions, or text in the video. If you hear a sound you haven’t heard before or see someone lip-syncing something that seems to have a theme, tap on the sound at the bottom of the video. This takes you to a page that lists the number of videos using that sound. You can see the original date and other videos using that sound ranked by popularity.

When Wave is looking for trends, she’ll use the data on this page to determine whether something might become popular. She’s looking for something that’s less than a week old and has been used in a decent amount of videos.

If the original date of the video is more than a week or two ago, that’s too old. If the sound has been used in 100,000+ videos, it’s probably past its sell-by date. But if it has 2,000 or 3,000 videos, it has the potential to get more popular in the next day or so.

If Wave sees a sound with potential, she’ll take a screenshot of the page and start tracking it. Sometimes, a certain sound will grow overnight by 3,000 videos, which tells her that people are liking it and it has the potential to go bigger.

Once you find a trend that could work for your account, the next step is to create your own TikTok video for that trend.

#4: Create a Video Based on a TikTok Trend

To get the best results from a trend video, you need to make it fit into your niche and brand and put your own stamp on it.

Don’t create trends where you just copy something, like a dance or lip sync to an audio because those trends rarely hit the Discover page. Nobody wants to watch you copy something, especially if they’ve seen it numerous times and know how it ends. You have to make it unique to you to find success.

For instance, one recent trend was called “everything you ever want,” which used a song from the movie The Greatest Showman. You’d lip-sync the lyrics but in the text, you’d share something you personally struggled with and overcame and leave it on an inspirational note. That was a perfect trend to make your own because you shared your story.

Another recent trend was the “I’m Bad” TikTok challenge with the Michael Jackson song “I’m Bad.” You’d do a bit of a dance, and then freeze the video and transition to a black and white photo of you doing the typical Michael Jackson move where you stand on your toes. Rather than simply mimicking the dance, you want to make it something unique to you.

How long it will take to create a trend video depends on what’s involved in the trend. If it’s a point-of-view joke, you might be able to do it in 5 minutes. But other trends require more time.

Let’s say you want to create a video based on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air trend. To participate in this trend, you need to show a day in your life in 14 seconds, which is the length of the sound (the theme song). If you have lots of photos on hand that you could stitch together, it probably wouldn’t take long to create a video. But if you need to collect more video and photos, it might take you a day to make it.

Keep in mind that there’s no rule that says that you can only do a trend once. If your first video doesn’t perform as well as you’d hoped, try another version of it. Brainstorm other ideas and make multiple versions. Some people do a trend 10 times and maybe one will hit and go viral.

Generally, the reasons that trend videos flop is if you jump on the trend too late, don’t put your own spin on it, or don’t do it well. Some trends require clean transitions, or if they require the using an effect, you have to be good at using that effect.

If your trend video doesn’t work, should you delete it? Absolutely not. Wave doesn’t recommend deleting videos because there are rumors that the algorithm doesn’t like it when you delete your videos. It’s like telling TikTok that you don’t believe in your content. So if that’s true, you don’t want to risk getting an unhealthy account status from deleting videos.

As a final thought, remember that you don’t have to do every trend that shows up on the Discover page. Just choose trends that you have ideas for, can align with your brand, and are fun. Trends should only make up about 10% of your content. The rest of your TikTok content should be offering value and building trust and authority.

Wave Wyld is a TikTok expert who’s known as the “Queen of Trend Alerts.” She helps entrepreneurs get leads and make money by developing a loyal community on TikTok. She also offers group coaching and courses focused on TikTok. Connect with Wave on TikTok and check out her Facebook group, TikTok for Entrepreneurs, which includes a free course.

Other Notes From This Episode

What do you think? Are you inspired to make a trend video for your TikTok account? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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