Back then, everything was different. Remember how you rocked your red-dyed mullet to your sister’s graduation party, thinking every boy there was into you? What about the time your 6-year-old self was convinced you were the main character at the bowling alley? We’ve all been there and felt invincible.
Fast forward to today, and you get that sweet "wut was I tinkin?" cringe just by looking at these childhood photos. And this is precisely what the new viral TikTok trend is all about.
Initially, the TikToker mally_a started going viral with a video featuring funny and cute photos of herself at 6 years old, when she rocked feeling like "the main character." Her TikTok has amassed 5.5M views and sparked a new video trend on social media. Now, people are willingly diving deep into their childhood photo albums, and their findings are just pure gold.
Bored Panda reached out to Hazel, who posted a TikTok of herself as a 9-year-old “thinking I was being extra by wearing heels by the pool on holiday.” Her video captioned “This still haunts me” amassed 809k views. Hazel told us that when she saw this new TikTok trend, she thought it was “right up my street as I had loads of embarrassing pictures of myself so I just thought I’d hop on the trend.”
The picture of 9-year-old Hazel was taken when the family was on holiday. “I begged and begged my mum for these heels and she kept saying no but she finally gave in and brought them for me.” This was the very first pair of heels that Hazel owned, so as you can imagine, she wore them everywhere. “I was obsessed with them and I would never take them off (not even by the pool).”
Today, Hazel cringes over her old holiday snap. “Looking back now at the image, it just makes me cringe as the outside doesn’t go well at all.” She had no clue that her TikTok would blow up with this one video, “especially when I only had 100 followers, so when the numbers got bigger, I was really shocked.”
TikTok was the most downloaded app last year, hitting 1.5 billion downloads and outperforming Instagram. Sensor Tower reported that TikTok was the third most-downloaded app behind WhatsApp and Messenger. It’s now officially the most loved app by Gen Z, and it seems like nothing could slow down its momentum.
According to Business Insider, TikTok's growth has to do with skyrocketing users in India, which accounted for 31% of the app's downloads. TikTok’s second-biggest market was China with 11.5% of the app’s downloads, and only then came the US with 8.2% of its downloads.
One of the reasons for TikTok's success is something that’s completely unique to it. It turns out, TikTok has the ability to make users feel like they’re watching a TV-like reality show that offers new content over a period of time.
Most importantly, TikTok is now a trend-generating super-machine that’s powered by real people and their genuine life experiences. Most of the internet’s viral content is born here, including challenges, hashtags, songs, and trending videos.
In some cases, they outgrow the platform itself and become part of popular culture—like the song "Old Town Road," which won a Grammy thanks to the meme culture on the platform.