Fast business is producing a series of profiles featuring promising social media creators to gain insight into the ups and downs of the creator economy.
It all started with enchiladas.
When the pandemic hit last year, New York-based comedian Kyle Gordon joined TikTok as a way to have a creative outlet. But after a few half-baked ideas that didn’t really catch on, he took a platform break until Thanksgiving.
“I came home and felt very dissatisfied and lazy,” Gordon says. “So I came back from Thanksgiving and set a goal of posting a TikTok every day for three months. I posted the first one on November 30th and this genre exploded.
It wasn’t a video of Gordon slipping on an existing trend or dance. It was he who was acting like an overly excited kid with news he was crazy to share: his uncle was making enchiladas for him and his brother Sam.
You will never guess what I just found out! #fyp #foryou #greatnews #breakingnews
original sound – Kyle Gordon
“The very first one was a total fluke, it was really stupid,” says Gordon. “I had never exploded on anything, ever, in any way, in any form. I posted it literally just to figure out how the app works again. I came back to my girlfriend’s house after a whole day and was like “Oh my God”.
Since Gordon’s first viral post, he has amassed 1.8 million followers on TikTok with 56.9 million likes on his videos. On Instagram, his second most popular platform, he has 21,700 followers.
“The fact that someone like me can explode overnight without any tracking is quite unique to TikTok compared to other apps,” says Gordon. “I’ve been on Twitter forever and never exploded there once.” (He only has 527 followers on Twitter.)
Gordon has built his audience with a rotating cast of skits and characters, including “The Kid Who Ain’t Fun,” a rendition of that endlessly rule-abiding kid who has always been the backbone of your childhood. Popular recurring characters like this are usually guaranteed to get a decent number of views. But for other Gordon content, he hasn’t found a formula for consistent success.
“I had a whole series of baseball [parodies] it worked really well, and it surprised me. What I thought was a niche turned out not to be that niche, ”he says. “And then I got another one that was like a Eat Pray Love parody of a white woman finding herself. I thought it was super accessible and it didn’t work out as well. So I’m still surprised to some extent.
#fyp #foryou #foryoupage #spoiledbrat #spoiledkid #richkid #annoyingfriend #littlebrother #tween #littleboy #kidtok #spoiled #spoiledkids
original sound – Kyle Gordon
TikTok’s For You page, the algorithmic feed of videos based on past engagement, has become a top-notch area of discovery for creators – and a point of mystery until recently. Last year, TikTok posted information on how its recommendations work, including data points like how much video you watched, liked or commented on, and what hashtags, captions, and creators. of sounds have used.
However, many creators often try to play with the algorithm by adding hashtags related to a movie release, big brand campaign, or big cultural event like the Oscars, even if their video has nothing to do with it. with all this, in order to circulate their videos. “I have no idea what I’m doing with hashtags,” Gordon admits. “I’m just putting in words and phrases that seem popular and somewhat relevant to the content of the video. When I see [hashtags in other creators’s videos], I say to myself, what am I missing? Am I an idiot by not hashtagging Tostitos? “
In a way, Gordon’s organic approach to building a following is a rarity on a platform designed to capitalize on trends and tie your content to existing content through duos and stitches.
“Maybe it seems my path may have been a little different from the average path, because really, from the bottom of my heart, what I’m posting is just a pure extension of my own voice and what I’m finding. funny. I don’t do any trending. I hardly ever use trending music, let alone trending music. People very rarely stitch or dupe my content, “Gordon says.” That way I love it because I like it. was able to create an audience by just doing what I think is funny to myself. “
Gordon was able to devote himself full-time to selling merchandise, branding and creating cameos – and, interestingly, not through TikTok’s Creators Fund, TikTok’s financial resource created in response. not having direct advertising revenue for creators like YouTube.
Gordon actually joined the Creator Fund at one point, only to quit after just three hours. “Before I hit a million followers, I was obviously intrigued by the possibility of making money with my videos. But everything I read said that it’s possible that your opinions are declining for some reason, ”he says. “I signed up for literally three hours. I posted a video, and it was terrible. Then I left, and it started to go well. It’s anecdotal. It’s not the most scientific thing in the world, but we’ve never heard of TikTok. “
Gordon isn’t the only designer to complain about the same. However, TikTok denies any drop in activity after joining the Creator Fund, stating in a blog post:
Joining the Creator Fund will not negatively impact your TikTok video views or subscribers, any drop in video views is caused by in-app fluctuations that occur naturally and have nothing to do with the Creator. Fund. But we will continue to keep a close eye on this issue and we are always listening to the feedback we receive from our community of creators.
However, Gordon remains suspicious.
“I can’t risk affecting the growth of my account,” he says. “My end goal is television and other things; it’s not about always making all my money on TikTok. The growth of my account is therefore important to me.
What also has the ability to hinder Gordon’s growth is what he believes to be TikTok’s hyper-aggressive content moderation guidelines.
“It’s very frustrating,” says Gordon. “I understand where they’re coming from because they’re targeting parents, saying, ‘Don’t worry about content that you don’t want your kids to see, because we’re going to remove everything. “”
Gordon once did a series in which he told embarrassing stories from his childhood, like how he used to pee in his pants all the time. “They took it for intimidation, but I was intimidating myself!” He says. “It’s not the biggest deal, because, again, I understand where they’re coming from. And there is a lot of chaos all over the place online. I’m creating new content every day, so at this point I’m like, okay, on the next one.
As the world continues to test the waters of openness during the pandemic, Gordon is curious to see if his popularity online will translate into his original home for comedy: live shows.
“I would love to go on tour in the future,” he says. “One, that would just be fun. Second, it would be a good step in my career. And three, in secret, there is a small part of me that wants to show that I was first an actor. So being able to show people that I can do a live show is important to me. “