Total TikTok takeover: Two RJR students become TikTok famous


Isabella Garner, Online Editor

Imagine posting an entertaining, short video on an app you just downloaded for fun called TikTok. And the next thing you know, thousands of people are watching each video you post. Well for senior James Wilson and sophomore Ivey Dunham, this became their reality. 

“I started Tiktok in October of 2019 because a lot of my friends thought that I would become famous on the app,” said Wilson. 

Soon to find out, his friends were right. Wilson has 69.4 thousand followers on the app and more people are following him day by day. Dunham has a whopping 429.3 thousand followers and counting. Although they both have gained popularity on the app, both stay very humble and are still surprised by the outcome of their posts. 

“I don’t know how I have gained such a following it amazes me everyday,” Dunham said.

But on the app only certain videos are picked to go viral. Wilson claims there are components that make a certain video blow up and Dunham added that these videos seem to follow the “TikTok algorithm.”

“There are many reasons why a video may go viral on TikTok, however, it seems like most viral videos are very funny, have a person with a specific talent in them or are very relatable,” Wilson said.  

He states that the style of video helps it gain views and likes. Many different TikTokers make different videos. Sometyoes of videos might be comedy, acting, dancing etc. Wilson has his own style of video that he credits to his large following and so does Dunham’s acting videos. 

“I personally credit my large following to the style of videos I create,” Wilson said. “I generally try to make videos that many of my viewers can relate to in the hopes that they will follow me or interact with the video.”

Many TikTokers who have gained a large platform for themselves have experienced a change in their everyday lives. 

“One cool way Tiktok has impacted my life is that sometimes people recognize when I’m out in public and it’s cool getting to meet fans and seeing how the app can bring people together in real life,” Wilson said.

A couple of Wilson’s fans approached him in the airport and praised him for his TikToks. Similar instances have happened to Dunham as well and she adds that TikTok has provided her with so many positive opportunities. 

“TikTok has impacted my life by giving me great online friends and business deals,” Dunham said. “It’s also impacted my life because people recognize me now and every time I go into any area with a large amount of people someone will approach me about my TikToks.”

Social media is becoming a very popular and time consuming thing that is apart of almost every teenagers life. Due to this, many people respect social media stars and look up to them. But some may treat you different.

“A lot of my friends joke about it when we’re together but generally people at school are respectful and don’t really bring it up,” Wilson said. 

“People don’t really treat me differently at school,” Dunham added.

With a large following from his videos gaining recognition, sometimes Wilson feels a pressure to produce content for his followers but Dunham does not necessarily feel this pressure. 

“Once I gained a pretty large following I felt a lot of pressure to keep making videos everyday because I realized that I would lose followers if I stopped uploading videos,” Wilson said. “However, trying to make multiple videos every single day takes a toll on you and I ended up taking a break for about a month and have just now started to post videos again.” 

“I don’t really feel pressure to produce content but I do try my best to post everyday,” Dunham said.

Once people include themselves in the social media community, it is hard to stop. But social media can be a really positive thing if creators and influencers spread it with their platform. Wilson and Dunham may not be the considered “famous” but they have gained popularity and put smiles on their followers faces. Wilson hopes to continue this in the future. 

“I plan on continuing to post videos in the recent future in hopes that my account will grow exponentially and that maybe I’ll be able to turn this into a money making opportunity,” Wilson said. “But for now I’m just having fun and trying to make relatable videos.”