University student uses TikTok as a platform to make a difference


Gabrielle Wood

The app, TikTok, has become one of the most used apps in 2020. Featured is Charli D’Amelio, TikTok’s #1 most popular user.

Over the past year, TikTok has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms across the globe.

The app allows people from around the world to make and share 60-second videos with one another for entertainment. Users are known to have a variety of content, ranging from creating dances to comedy skits.

Many have found themselves going viral on the app, with thousands of followers, likes and views. Even university students have received their 60 seconds of fame.

Bayli Hickson, senior elementary education major, also known as bayliray13 on TikTok, can be considered as one of those people with over 30,000 followers and 660,000 likes.

“I downloaded TikTok back in October and posted some videos here and there, but they didn’t get a lot of views,” said Hickson. “I started posting seriously around the end of December/beginning of January.”

Hickson discussed the type of content that she puts out on the app.

“I make a lot of videos about the LGBTQ+ community,” mentioned Hickson. “I think that’s why my account blew up. I post a lot about what it is like to be an out and proud lesbian in today’s society. I also make quite a few videos with my mom, who is my biggest supporter.”

Although being TikTok famous might seem like it has its perks, Hickson explained that it can also be challenging.

“Going viral on TikTok has definitely been an interesting experience,” shared Hickson.  “A lot of the comments I get are positive and supportive, but I do get some hate comments. People comment on my videos and tell me that ‘being gay is a sin’ and that ‘they don’t support my lifestyle.’”

Aside from funny videos, TikTok gave Hickson the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

“Luckily for me, I have so much love and support off the app that those comments don’t really get to me,” said Hickson. “It’s also really funny to see the direct messages people send me. I have a large following of young LGBTQ+ members who look up to me and ask for advice on coming out to their family. I try to help as best as I can.”

With not much else to do during a pandemic, TikTok has been the outlet to provide comedic relief to the world, as well as cure boredom for its users.

“I honestly think this app is extremely beneficial during quarantine,” commented Hickson. “There’s not really anything else to do besides sit on your phone. TikTok has a lot of funny videos, educational videos and videos that show what’s good in the world. It’s a good distraction from what’s happening around us.”