Social Media Article
So, I’ve just had a TikTok series go viral.
It was my first week of posting content and my sister said to me: “Hey, why don’t you do a story time about the time you catfished your catfish?”
I had been on OKCupid, a dating site, two years before and had immediately become suspicious of a man called Mark. He escalated the intimacy within three messages and told me a sob story about his dead wife. A quick Google image search and I found out that the picture he was using belonged to Swedish Olympic high-jumper Patrick Sjoberg.
I considered calling him out, but then realised I could have so much more fun if I strung him along, making him think he could swindle me for money, but always slipping away before the money ended up in his greedy little hands.
Facebook friends to the rescue
I posted our conversations on Facebook and my friends loved it. They gave suggestions for things I should do and say, including:
- Talking only in song titles
- Telling him I loved penguins and bringing them into every conversation
- Sharing that I collected vintage china dolls and asking him to name one
- Asking him to donate a kidney
At one point I told him that I was about to give some money to another man I’d met online and he warned me about the dangers of catfish. He insisted I ask this man (David) to provide a photograph of him in red shirt, holding up a piece of paper on which he wrote the day’s date.
My wonderful friend Ollie quickly changed his shirt, wrote a sign and sent over a photo.
It was a daily giggle to go and play with “Mark”, but after about six weeks it all came to an end. Strangely, he was incredibly apologetic and worried that I was angry with him. After giving him a good telling off I eventually blocked him and didn’t think much more of him until my sister’s suggestion.
TikTok and storytelling
TikTok loves a good story. “Storytime,” you say as you start off a multi-part tale – a necessary evil as the longest video you can post to TikTok is just one minute. I used screenshots of our conversations and narrated them, ending up producing a 23-part saga that seemed to catch the interest of a lot of people.
Before all of this, I had four followers – my sister, my children, and my niece. When I woke up the morning after I uploaded the first few parts, I discovered thousands had watched – and I now had more than 2000 odd followers.
The numbers continued to rise every day, and as of the time of writing, I have more than 50,000 followers. One of my catfish videos has been viewed more than 1.3 million times.
I have to say that to myself slowly as I try to understand it: 1.3 million people have seen me, listened to me laugh, as I share how silly I can be.