The TikTok Effect: How A Generation Of Social Media Users Find New Hobbies

Published on January 21, 2021

On TikTok, various new hobbies are finding a home. Content on the short-form video platform provides a little something for everyone and has introduced millions of users to new ways to pass their time amid the pandemic. Even for those not looking to take up a new interest, the videos are incredibly popular. Some creators have videos that boast millions of views. In the midst of a global pandemic that limits activities outside the home, these hobby videos are influencing people to try new things that they may have never discovered before.

From knitting to papermaking, from makeup to cooking, from candle making to resin crafting and wild ice hunting or roller skating, there is something for every talent on TikTok. These videos are numerous, and often quite impressive.

These TikTok hobbies are quickly gaining in popularity. Because of this popularity, hobbies and interests from these videos are spilling out into the “real world.” These videos are inspiring people, especially the younger generations, to take up new interests offline. With the pandemic, most activities outside of the house in many areas are restricted in some way. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, and young college kids, Tik Tok’s main demographic, would normally be busy with sports, clubs, extracurriculars, and parties. Adults, a growing number of TikTok users, have work and social engagements and errands. Pre-pandemic, it feels like no one had time for hobbies.

Now, however, it’s a whole new world. Students are largely taking classes online. A huge number of adults are working from home. Activities of all kinds are on hold for the foreseeable future, and, in general, people have more time on their hands than usual. So, people are picking up hobbies, and often the inspiration for these newfound activities comes from TikTok.

Creators put out videos of themselves creating something or practicing some craft, and often times that content goes viral. Then, a whole community springs up. All of a sudden there is a group of creators sealing with wax or crafting with resin. Once creators get popular, people will come into the comment section asking for advice on how to do the crafts themselves. This leads to instructive videos with little tips and tricks that help everyone succeed at the craft.


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Sometimes, TikTok users sell these crafts to their followers through Etsy shops or other kinds of sales. These creative accounts are also sometimes attached to small businesses, promoting their wares. More often, though, the creator is a teenager, just crafting for fun and for TikTok. It’s remarkably old fashioned, and yet modern all at once. These videos of teenagers knitting and making candles bring something we associate with our grandmothers to a modern medium in a way that is comforting and delightful to watch.

In addition to all the skills and hobbies, TikTok also provides little niches for various interests. These videos allow people to get involved, not necessarily in a hobby, but in an interest that they share with an online community. These interests range from very mainstream things like cooking or reading books, to a little more targeted, like witchcraft. If you want to cast a protection spell over your home, there’s a TikTok video for that. There’s a video out there if you want to learn how to take care of various house plants. If you want to learn how to break in pointe shoes, there’s a whole community that will help you learn how to do that. Each of these communities have their own name, usually something like booktok, witchtok, food TikTok or plant TikTok, to name a few.

Even for those who have no interest in bringing the subjects of these videos into the real world, the videos are nonetheless fun to watch. They’re often quite aesthetically pleasing. They also explore new mediums and worlds that we may have never been exposed to before. It’s no small part of why TikTok is so popular. It’s very easy to wind up spending hours on the platform, learning new things, and watching people do things you’ve never thought of before.

TikTok, at its core, is an interest-based social media platform. These interests foster a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose, especially for young people. Even for adults, many of us can say we have genuinely learned something positive from TikTok. I certainly have.

Hobbies are something that many have neglected in recent years. We get busy with work and overpacked schedules, and many of us have forgotten the numerous benefits of leisure activity. Hobbies help relieve stress, which in turn provides all kinds of health and lifestyle benefits. Hobbies also help improve physical health and work performance. TikTok and its creators are fostering these ideals in a way that will make this generation happier in the long run.

Now, TikTok users are replacing their own wallpaper and crafting works of art for wedding invitations. They’re making blankets and turning old pairs of jeans into journals. The opportunities are creative and endless. In addition to the personal benefits, these hobbies are often sustainable, reusing household items to create something new. They also popularize supporting small businesses and promote a culture where small businesses are something cool, which is important in a time when so many small businesses are struggling.

While TikTok isn’t always the healthiest place, the hobby side of TikTok really does provide something beneficial and productive, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s rare, in this era of social media strife to find an aspect of a platform that is not only unproblematic but actually quite positive.

Olivia Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers events, entertainment, fashion, and technology. She also serves as a Voices contributor at PopSugar.

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