Tiktok Stardom: is It Work Or Luck?

Pop Culture

October 20, 2021

If you do not know what TikTok is, then you probably live under a rock (unless you're older than a millennial, then your unawareness is forgiven). But for articulation, TikTok is a social media app and platform that enables its users to post short videos of about 15 to 60 seconds on various niches. The app has been around for quite some time now, but its popularity really took off in 2019 and 2020 due to the Coronavirus and the lockdown.

With the increase in its popularity came the urgent rush of new users to the platform, most of whom are creators looking to get a piece of that "spotlight" from some of the app's most famous personalities, like Charlie D'amelio, Addison Rae, and Khaby lame. But how did an app that was merely for entertainment become a pathway for almost anyone to become a celebrity?

Image Credit: cottonbro studio from Pexels

What Does It Take To Be TikTok Famous?

From what I've learnt, in order to go viral on TikTok, you must make it to the "For you" page. This is the first thing that appears when you open the app and is essentially where all the magic happens. Here, TikTok shows you the latest recommended videos from other creators who you may or may not be following. Since TikTok videos are usually short (15 to 60 seconds), it's very easy for them to add on tons of new videos every second, thus giving many creators an opportunity to shine.

Unlike Instagram and Facebook, becoming famous in TikTok seems to be less complicated. The app seems to have a flexible algorithm that can favor just about any type of video, making it blow up very quickly and UNEXPECTEDLY. I've seen tons of YouTube videos when people vlog the process of trying to go viral on TikTok in just one week. Most, if not all, will testify to one thing: It always happens when you least expect it.

Image Credit: Ron Lach from Pexels

That one video that barely took you five minutes to make could be the next viral thing amassing millions of views in a very short period, while that video you spent almost half of your day putting together might barely make it past a thousand views. This is the major thing that convinces a lot of users, including myself, into thinking that TikTok fame is merely by luck.

Most Liked tiktok videos of all time.

There are also cases whereby a video doesn't make waves at first but starts to come up on view all of a sudden and eventually becomes viral later on. This effect is known as the delayed explosion.

Lastly, there is another case of creators posting at what seems to be the perfect time for their type of content to just spike up and pile on views immediately. This type of luck is often common with new creators whose videos, TikTok, like to push out more as a "welcome gift".

Image Credit: Ivan Samkov from Pexels


Like most other apps, TikTok has a set of rules or algorithms that controls who goes viral next. These work in hand with the various tips and tricks, that top digital marketing companies recommend if you want to go viral on TikTok. However, there have been some controversies regarding TikTok and whom they choose to favor.

This post from Technowize claims in a report gotten from "The Intercept" that TikTok moderators were instructed to limit the opportunity of certain groups of people who they deem are not appropriate for the platform. These sets of people include people with deformities, poor people, and people who are not "pretty enough" to be on the platform.

It is said that these moderators usually scan videos for unfavorable details such as cracked walls, too many wrinkles, physical deformities, unattractive decorations in the background and decide to punish these creators by limiting their audience. When questioned about such decisions, they (TikTok) lamely claimed that it was to protect these groups of people from cyberbullies...like seriously! It's no wonder that almost every TikTok celebrity we've seen on our screens is either rich, extremely attractive, or even both!

Image Credit: Ron Lach from Pexels

Also, there have been rumors about TikTok being racist as it tends to shine light mostly on white creators who may or may not be mediocre, while their black and colored counterparts who make much better content are left underappreciated. If not for the sudden rise of the black TikTok king, "Khaby lame", these rumors would have been confirmed, because it is undeniable that almost everyone in the TikTok hall of fame was the perfect combination of white, rich and pretty.

Image Credit: Ivan Samkov from Pexels


I believe TikTok's fame is by luck, because no one really understands the algorithm and how it favors certain videos but doesn't favor others even when they may be doing the exact same thing. Nonetheless, TikTok fame will not be possible without work because it does take effort to create content and put it on the platform to even gain recognition in the first place. Plus, it's even harder to depend on luck these days, when everyone is becoming increasingly sick and tired of consuming mediocre content from overrated creators.

Moreover, it may be easy to become suddenly famous in TikTok, but it's even harder to stay famous. New creators are rising every single day so someone else could steal the spotlight from you sooner than you think if you don't work to keep the attention you've gotten. From a friend's perspective: TikTok is first luck, then work.

Image Credit: Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels

What do you think about this topic? Do you believe becoming famous on TikTok is mostly luck, work, or a combination of both? I'd love to hear your opinions.

Ikwuegbu Ihuoma
100k+ pageviews

Writer since Dec, 2019 · 23 published articles

A very creative Nigerian Christian teenager who is passionate about content and digital creation. She loves music, playing the piano, chess, puzzles and any other thing that challenges her intellectually. She also loves learning, meeting new people and taking on challenges. Be sure to read her blog!