Tessie Hires’ son was dying to be famous — and a deadly TikTok stunt sealed his fate.
“If I would have known about some of the dangerous things he was doing in his TikTok videos, as his mother, I would have stopped him and he’d still be here with me,” Hires, 37, told The Post as her voice trembled and tears streamed down her face.
The Florida woman’s 18-year-old son Timothy Isaiah Hall, known to his more than 273,000 followers as @TimboTheRedneck, died on July 31 while attempting a “fishtailing” stunt to impress his online audience.
The daredevil deed propelled Hall out of his beloved GMC truck’s driver’s side window. His 4,000-pound-plus pickup — nicknamed “Big Booty Judy” after he received it as a high school graduation gift in May — toppled on its side and onto his body, crushing his internal organs.
Timbo died with more than 2.5 million “likes” to his credit.
He is but one of the disturbing and growing number of digital influencers who’ve recently suffered severe “skull-breaker” injuries, dry-scoop-induced heart attacks, possible eating disorders and even deaths while executing reckless stunts in the name of social media superstardom via TikTok.
Among the first of the TikTok tragedies was Chloe Phillips, a 15-year-old from Oklahoma who died of a heart attack in August 2020 after taking on the Benadryl Challenge, in which the goal is to film oneself hallucinating from the medication.
Joshua Haileyesus, 12, was discovered unconscious on March 22 by his twin brother on a bathroom floor of their Colorado home after attempting TikTok’s Blackout Challenge, in which teens hold their breath until passing out on video. He was pronounced brain dead and died after 19 days on life support.
Equally alarming is the number of deaths by suicide racked up by teens and 20-somethings despite millions of followers and lucrative digital “clout.”
“My son loved TikTok, and always wanted to make the best videos for his fans,” Hires told The Post of her late son, who beguiled viewers with his controversial “Confederate comedy” and “Timbo’s #LivingSouthern” shtick. “But he took his love for being popular on the app too far. And now he’s gone forever and my heart is broken. It will always be broken.”
However, medical experts have plenty to say about millennial and Gen Z fame-seekers becoming addicted to the euphoric sensation of attaining notoriety via hazardous TikTok tactics. They’re concerned that the threat of death isn’t enough to deter young people from the allure of internet infamy.
“The intoxication a person feels from the combination of dopamine and adrenaline that’s released when their posts go viral is unbelievable,” New York University psychologist Yamalis Diaz told The Post. “Neurologically, that high is like a drug.”
According to Diaz, once viral hopefuls experience the initial “hit” of online popularity, they’ll stop at almost nothing to recapture and maintain that electrifying thrill.
“TikTok and other platforms are constantly raising the bar on what it takes to be widely noticed — and what it takes to sustain that top-ranking status,” she added. “And unless the apps become more proactive about immediately banning dangerous trends, young people will continue putting themselves at risk by doing these catastrophic stunts in the hopes to gain views and followers.”
Uber driver and social media personality Renard Smith welcomed 1,500 new social media fans after he narrowly avoided snapping his spine while attempting the infamous Milk Crate Challenge in August.
“I’d do it again, I’d just wear padding next time,” Smith, 29, told The Post of the since-banned phenomenon that resulted in a string of life-threatening damages across the country — including torn ligaments, bone fractures and spinal cord injuries.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound father of five only sustained a massive bruise and a sore back when he fell from the 7-foot-high mountain of plastic containers his friends constructed in the front yard of his Houston home. And the trending footage of his epic fail garnered over 100,000 views.
“It was painful, but worth it,” said Smith, an aspiring rapper. “It’s not often people go as viral as I did, and I’m thankful for the attention the video brought to my music and social accounts.”
Australian “Big Brother” star Tilly Whitfeld also went viral when she taped two sewing needles together and injected fake tattoo ink that she purchased from eBay into the pores of her face. She was following the steps of TikTok’s viral Freckles DIY hack.
“So many influencers do this, and I’ve seen some with millions of views and likes,” said Whitfeld, 21, who took a stab at the dicey beauty how-to just two months before her reality TV debut in August 2020.
The ink used in the makeshift procedure poisoned Whitfeld’s face. Her infected skin broke out with thick red blotches, and her face was so severely swollen that she temporarily lost her vision. More than a year later, she told The Post her skin “is still healing. It will never be the same. It is permanently scarred.”
And while Whitfeld cautions her over 172,000 social media supporters against testing out potentially harmful trends and tricks, she’s also undeniably pleased with her global renown.
“I was gaining thousands of followers a day,” she said of her viral moment in the spotlight. “My star was shared all over the world.”
She’s also not afraid to continue taking whacks at other iffy TikTok hacks.
“I’m doing trends all the time,” Whitfeld admitted to The Post, noting that most of the fads she follows are geared toward correcting her skin. “I have nothing to lose.”
TikTok Expands Creator Tipping and Video Gifts, Providing More Monetization and Marketing Options
TikTok continues to expand its creator monetization tools with the addition of video tipping and virtual gifts for regular uploads, in addition to live-streams in the app.
To be clear, live tipping and digital gifts have been available for selected live-stream creators via its Creator Next program since last year. This new expansion brings the same functionality to regular TikTok videos, which will add another way for users to generate direct income from their TikTok videos.
As you can see in these screenshots, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra (via Dan Schenker), to be eligible for the new Creator Next program, users will need to have at least 1,000 followers, and will need to have generated more than 1,000 video views in the previous 30 days.
Though TikTok does note that these requirements vary by region – TechCrunch has reported that creators need to have at least 100k followers to qualify in some cases.
As explained by TikTok:
“The new Tips feature allows people to directly show gratitude to creators for their content, much like recognizing exceptional service or giving a standing ovation. As is standard for tipping in person, with Tips creators will receive 100% of the tip value.”
Tip payments will be processed by Stripe, with creators required to sign up to manage their earnings in the app.
“With Video Gifts, also available today, creators can now collect Diamonds not only by going LIVE but also by posting videos. This also gives people an all-new way to interact and engage with content they love.”
That will provide expanded capacity to generate real money from posting, without having to go live, which will open new doors to many TikTok creators.
In addition to this, TikTok’s also lowering the threshold for those who can list their profiles in its Creator Marketplace brand collaboration platform, which enables businesses to find TikTok influencers to partner with on in-app campaigns.
Up till now, creators have required 100k followers to qualify for these listings, but now, TikTok is reducing that number to 10k, which will further expand available opportunities for both users and brands.
That could make it much easier to find relevant creators to partner with, in a lot more niches, which will add more considerations into your TikTok posting and engagement process.
As noted, these are the latest in TikTok’s broader efforts to provide comparable monetization opportunities, in order to keep its top stars posting to the platform, as opposed to drifting off to YouTube or Instagram instead, which have more established monetization systems.
The advantage that other apps have in this respect is that longer videos can include pre-roll and mid-roll ads, facilitating direct monetization, which TikTok can’t utilize given the shorter nature of its clips. As such, it needs to look to alternate funding methods, which will also include eCommerce listings, with direct product displays now the primary source of income for the Chinese version of the app.
The platform’s continued growth facilitates even more opportunities in this respect, with more brands looking to tap into the various opportunities of the platform, and partner with creators to maximize their presence.
How popular, and valuable, direct tipping and gifting can be is more variable, as some dedicated fan bases will pay, while others will see no reason to donate for what they can already access for free.
But even so, it adds more opportunity, and the lower thresholds for monetization will see many more opportunities across the board in the app.
Shorter Videos Are In Demand. Here’s How Different Social Media Platforms Are Reacting.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
With TikTok and Instagram Reels slowly conquering social media marketing, there’s no mistake: Short videos are in demand.
The average length for most, if not all, business videos is only six minutes long. And that number is set to decrease as consumers look for shorter videos.
With that in mind, why are short videos in demand? What platforms are implementing short-form videos the best? And most importantly, how can they benefit your business?
TikTok – Changing consumerism, one video at a time
Where shorter videos are concerned, TikTok has always led the industry. What started as a merger with Musical.ly quickly became one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. And what made it so famous? The same concept that made Vine viral short videos.
TikTok has over 1 billion active users, twice as many as Snapchat and Pinterest. For reference, Twitter only has 397 million users. With such a massive user-base, the only thing keeping the platform alive are the 15-second-long videos.
But why are short videos so popular? Simple – people don’t have time on their hands. When they open apps like TikTok and Instagram, they’re more likely to spend time watching shorter videos. And businesses are already catching up.
The impact of Instagram Reels
With the invention of Stories by Snapchat, other platforms like Instagram caught up on short videos. Instagram Reels presents adults and young users with a more straightforward way to tell others about their day. It employs quick photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours instead of being permanently posted. Now engagement is encouraged, especially after Instagram included the “Swipe” option. This has allowed e-commerce sites to both advertise their products and make instant messaging easier.
Youtube has joined the bandwagon
While YouTube is more or less a platform for long-form videos, its recent update offers shorter vertical videos. Known as YouTube Shorts, the feature allows creators to engage with their audience in under 60 seconds.
But YouTube has another trick up its sleeve, and this one is mainly towards advertisers. It is “YouTube TrueView” and is the primary advertising technology for YouTube. Through this, advertisers can promote long or short videos, with some being skippable after five seconds.
However, since most people are unlikely to click on longer ads, YouTube now offers 6-second non-skippable ads. The clickthrough rate for shorter 15 and 30-second ads is around 70%, a whopping number for any business.
It’s time to say goodbye to IGTV
With Instagram’s IGTV coming off as less captivating than its Reels and video posts, it has decided to remove IGTV. Instead, it has a separate section for videos. These videos will appear on a person’s profile and can be viewed from the Instagram app.
The change they made here is that videos posted to the Instagram feed can be up to 60 minutes long. The exact reason for doing this is not confirmed. But it seems like Instagram wants a seamless platform where short and long videos co-exist.
This makes long videos more accessible to users using the Instagram app. And it helps promote video tutorials that people typically do not consume on social media apps.
Another significant change is that Instagram videos that are longer can be monetized, a feature not available on Reels. This significantly shifts the focus towards creators who don’t sell a service and want to gain cash through Instagram.
Does this mean long-form videos are out of the picture?
With short-form videos becoming more popular among consumers, will long-form videos die out? While it’s highly recommended for any business to create videos as short as possible, the answer isn’t that black and white.
While short-form videos will drive traffic from new users, long-form videos are better for brand loyalty. Shorter videos will get more engagement and show up on new users’ feeds. But longer videos will be the backbone of your business.
Of course, that depends on what service you’re offering. Ecommerce companies will want to direct their attention towards short-form videos and ads. However, long-form videos are better suited for when you want to go in-depth about product details. That is, of course, only after you’ve grabbed the user’s attention with a short-form video.
Companies that offer webinars will benefit from longer videos. And so will companies that post interviews. However, promos and how-to videos should remain under a minute or two, depending on how long the tutorial needs to be.
Essentially, ask yourself two questions:
- First, can the video content be summarized in a short-form video?
- Do you want to merely catch the attention of the consumer or develop brand loyalty?
The correct formula is neither short nor long, but a mix of both.
What this all means for an entrepreneur
Short-form videos hold substantial market value, especially for new businesses. Take the example of the Dollar Shave Club. What started as a viral video on YouTube grew to become a behemoth of a brand.
And that’s not where the examples end. There are countless success stories like this one that prove the value of short videos.
Short videos have a higher clickthrough rate, and for entrepreneurs, that’s all you need. Short videos are of particular interest to people with ecommerce businesses. For example, 84% of people say they are more compelled to buy a product by watching a video. And the statistics keep on showing a friendlier short-video market.
There is no doubt that short-form videos are gradually creeping up the graph. And while long-form videos are great for information and brand loyalty, shorter videos are better for PR.
This begs one last question: Are videos beneficial for you? The answer is – yes!
How to Make a TikTok Video: Beginners Start Here
And with 1 billion monthly active users, it’s time to join the action and get your brand out there to a wider audience!
Want to learn how to make a TikTok Video but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We broke down all the steps and tools you’ll need to make a viral-worthy first video and make sure your debut is anything but cringe.
Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.
How to create a TikTok account
First things first, you’ll need to create a TikTok account.
There are different ways to sign up for one: you can use your phone number, email address or social media account. Here’s how to do it using your phone number.
1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.
2. Open the TikTok App on your iPhone or Android.
3. Click the “Me” or “Profile” icon at the bottom-right of your screen.
4. Choose a method to sign up (we’re choosing “use phone or email”)
5. Enter your birth date and phone number (make sure this is accurate because it’s how you’ll retrieve passwords and confirm your account).
6. Enter the 6-digit code sent to that phone number (see, told ya!)
7. You did it! Celebrate by scrolling TikTok for too many hours.
How to make a TikTok video
Here’s how to get started on your very first TikTok video. Luckily for you, it’s way easier than learning this TikTok Shuffle dance.
1. Hit the + sign at the bottom of your screen.
2. You can upload photos and videos from your phone’s library or make a video directly using the TikTok camera.
3. If recording directly, hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen. Hit it again when you’re done recording. The default video mode is “Quick” which is for 15 second videos but you can switch it to “Camera” for more editing options and longer videos (15s, 60s and 3 mins), or “Templates” to create a specific style of video.
4. Tap the check mark when you’re done shooting all your footage.
5. Make any edits or changes on the post page. All your edits are on the right sidebar of the screen. Also, add music or sounds by hitting “Add sound” at the top of the screen.
6. Post that video and share it everywhere! Make sure to include a description with some hashtags so it finds its way to your audience.
How to make a TikTok with multiple videos
Instead of taking one long video, why not capture shorter videos and edit them together to make your TikTok video? Here’s how to do that (and you don’t need a film degree).
1. Hit that “+” sign to start your video
2. You can either shoot multiple videos directly by hitting that record button after each clip, building up your video with different shots. Or, you can hit the “Upload” button next to the record button and add multiple videos and photos you have stored on your phone.
3. Select all your media and tap Next.
4. You can now sync sound across your videos and make adjustments (or try “Auto sync” which will do the syncing up for you.)
5. Hit Next when done. You’ll be brought to a preview screen where you can further add sounds, more effects, text, and stickers.
6. Tap Next when you’re done editing your video and proceed to the Post screen.
7. Remember to throw in a description and some hashtags and bingo-bango-bongo you’re the Steven Spielberg of TikTok!
5 things to know before creating your first TikTok
TikTok style is less polished than other types of video
Don’t worry about being too precious with your videos. On TikTok, videos are meant to be candid, and natural—and they should show off your personality. Things like perfect edits, smooth transitions or flawless lighting shouldn’t get in the way of your idea and your own charisma.
Sure, there are lots of editing options, effects and filters to choose from (what the heck is the difference between B3 and G4 filters anyways?) but the real star is you —or, at least all 6 of these friends belting out Lady Gaga for the #caughtinabadromance challenge at this bachelorette. If that’s not candid, I don’t know what is.
You don’t have to dance
Good news! You don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to perfect the LaLisa dance tutorial to make sure your video stands out (unless you want to, then no judgment over here!).
There are so many different ways to engage your followers that don’t involve you popping and locking in your living room in front of a ring light (but again, no judgement if you do, except maybe from your pet and their adorable judging eyes).
You also don’t have to attempt whatever this is.
Hashtags can help more people see your post
It’s no secret a good hashtag can go a long way on TikTok. Strategic use of hashtags will help people find your videos who don’t already follow you, and maybe even see it on their For You Page (FYP).
The right song can go a long way
Attaching a trending song to your video or audio from a popular TikTok video can help it get seen by more people. This app has a big music following (lots of new songs are intentionally promoted through the app to help them climb the music charts) so lassoing your video to one of these shooting stars is only going to help you get on more FYP and in front of new audiences.
Your greatest asset is you
Don’t overthink it, just come up with a simple idea and let your personality shine through. The sense of intimacy and community that TikTok brings is why people love this app—it feels personal.
Even if you’re doing a TikTok challenge or trend that’s popular, the thing that will make you stand out is your unique take on it. It’s not about gimmicks but about putting your best self out there. Nothing should feel too staged or self-aware (that’s cringe territory). Pretend your audience are your good friends and approach it with that energy!
@janikon_No, I can’t re-record this, I’m laughing too hard #fyp♬ original sound – Stu (he/him)
Experiment: Do LinkedIn Pods Work? (Or Are They Mostly Embarrassing?)
25 Instagram Best Practices for Faster Growth in 2023
13 TikTok Tips That Will Help You Go Viral in 2023
Understanding Authorization Tokens and Access for the WhatsApp Business Platform
WhatsApp Beta Update Adds ‘Picture-in-Picture’ Support During Video Calls for iOS Testers: Report
New Zealand Plans to Introduce Law to Make Google, Facebook Pay Local Outlets for News
(Re)building Threat Detection and Incident Response at LinkedIn
Introducing the ‘Instagram Explore home’ Ads Placements via the Instagram Marketing API
Adding WhatsApp to Your Java Projects
Twitter’s Chief of Information Security Lea Kissner Exists Company Amid Mass Layoffs
Get Started with the Page Insights API
Career stories: From Hollywood videographer to frontend engineer
FACEBOOK7 days ago
What to know about Presto SQL query engine and PrestoCon
FACEBOOK1 week ago
How to Interpret Webhook Components in the WhatsApp Business Platform
FACEBOOK2 weeks ago
Hermit: Deterministic Linux for Controlled Testing and Software Bug-finding
OTHER2 weeks ago
Elon Musk Urged by US Senator to Better Protect US Users’ Data After Whistleblower Testimony
FACEBOOK2 weeks ago
Building Intuitive Interactions in VR: Interaction SDK, First Hand Showcase and Other Resources
Uncategorized2 weeks ago
How To Find and Use Business-Friendly TikTok Sounds
FACEBOOK7 days ago
Now people can share directly to Instagram Reels from some of their favorite apps
OTHER1 week ago
What Are WhatsApp Polls and How Do You Use Them? All You Need to Know