The videos can be as short as 15 seconds, but the fame enjoyed by Ireland’s growing cohort of TikTok stars lasts longer – and deserves big.
The site has gone from strength to strength since its launch six years ago, becoming a major player in global trends while offering lucrative partnerships with its influencers.
It contains a variety of videos that can last anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes, including content like dances, pranks, stunts, and even short films.
Popular content creators on TikTok are having a huge impact, especially in youth culture.
In June, it was the most downloaded non-gaming app overall. The largest audience (32.5 percent) is 10 to 19 years old – the young trendsetters of Generation Z.
That Irish Independent spoke to three Irish TikTokers about their lifestyle, their content and what it’s like to be an influencer on one of the fastest growing digital platforms in the world.
Jacob Donegan (21) is a transgender digital creator from Co Meath with 1.2 million followers on TikTok.
“My following is worldwide, mostly from America,” he said. “So I had to find the best algorithm for me and them.
“For example, I post every day between 6pm and 10pm because on the American side it would be afternoon and in Europe it would be the same time I get home from work or school.
“When I started TikTok, I started it as a joke, as a bit of fun at the age of 14. I never knew it was possible to take off, that I would become everything on TikTok’s app.”
Donegan documented his transition from woman to man through a series of videos on the platform.
But with online fame came focused and critical attention.
“I’ve been told things about how I look, talk or act,” he said. “Receiving physical and emotional abuse for being a transgender TikToker. “I’ve been spat on and laughed at because people picked it up.”
In exchange for exposing the most intimate aspects of their lives to the scrutinizing eye of the internet, influencers are given the opportunity to monetize their content by receiving sponsorships, thereby encouraging them to build their audience.
As Donegan puts it, “The more followers you have, the more you earn”.
Sponsorships pay the influencers to promote a specific product on their social media channels, which allows it to reach a wider audience.
Dylan Garbutt (22) is a horror video creator from Co Dublin who has 1.2 million followers on TikTok.
“Influencers are paid very well for their work,” he said. “Unfortunately, accepting a number of branded deals that don’t really fit your personality or content style can damage your image or brand.
“I tried making YouTube videos at school but was too embarrassed to post them but always knew I loved making videos.
“Like everyone, I had quite a bit of time during the lockdown and decided to just give it a try.
“You can also get paid if you stream live. TikTok’s live feature allows fans to send you gifts of value that, when sent to you, are added to a wallet at the end of your live stream.”
Getting paid to influence your audience, he added, can materialize in content like reviews, funny skits, or even a promotion for an upcoming movie or event.
“If I really wanted to, you could catch me promoting car air fresheners and other products that I have no interest in and make a living from,” Garbutt said.
Deals and sponsorship plans are handled by the management of influencers who are prominent enough to be considered representative.
This is measured by the number of followers, video engagements and global reach.
Lauren Whelan (20), a lifestyle and fashion digital creator from Co Carlow, has 1.5 million followers on TikTok and has been creating online videos since she was 16.
“I remember it was during lunch break at school when I created my first TikTok. I got all the boys in my year to do it to make a trend back then,” she said. “It just exploded from there.”
Since then she has been on a press tour in Paris with Garnier and signed with Icon Management.
Whelan said that since a large portion of her audience is not Irish, she made changes to appeal to a broader following.
“I have to tailor my content to an international audience anyway,” she said. “But the only thing I really change is my slang or dialect – Irish slang can be pretty hard to understand, so I try to avoid that.”
Despite having to customize content, deal with negative and biased comments, and walk the fine line between advertising and entertainment, these influencers wouldn’t trade it for anything else — at least for now.
“This is definitely something I’d like to do for a long time, it’s a really flexible and creative job,” Whelan said.
Donegan said, “Being an influencer is definitely where I want to see myself in the years to come, but I’ll be pursuing other things as well.”
“I think I’ll always be making content and being an influencer for the foreseeable future, but that’s not the end goal,” Garbutt said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/the-irish-tiktok-influencers-who-enjoy-huge-profile-among-generation-z-teens-41940837.html The Irish TikTok influencers who are well known among Gen Z teenagers