The TikTokers of Rock Island High School

Ellie Maranda, Editor

The app TikTok, in which users can create short videos with music or audio in the background, has become very trendy and popular among teenagers in the past few months. At Rock Island High School, several students have accounts on the app TikTok. Junior Lainey Benson, sophomore Drew Jarding, and sophomore Rose Rocillo all have thousands of followers on the app and make content. They enjoy the benefits that can come with Internet fame, but also have to overcome the obstacles.  


Lainey Benson, who you can find on the app as @laineyasmr2.0, focuses mostly on making “funny videos”. She has 6,000+ followers. Drew Jarding’s username on TikTok is @drooscroo, and he has 560,000+ followers. He makes “comedy videos, as well as dances.” Rose Rocillo, whose username is @barnyardbaby, has 60,000+ followers. “I make acting videos, singing videos, makeup videos, and I post the occasional comedy video,” Rose said about her content. Rose and Drew, who are good friends, even make videos together. All three of these students enjoy being able to create fun videos for their followers. 


Lainey started making TikToks when one of her friends downloaded the app. “As a joke, I just made ASMR videos. Then I got bored of those and started doing comedy instead,” she explained. Lainey now has thousands of followers and views. The video that gained her the most followers was one she made at a football game, in which she went up to students and asked them random, funny questions. The video has 297,000+ views and 74,000+ likes. Drew got his start on TikTok in August of this year. “I just started doing it for fun,” Drew said. The video that boosted his following featured him and his grandma reciting lines from the TV show Stranger Things, with Rose in the background singing. Drew’s video has 20,000,000+ views and 4,000,000+ likes. Rose started to create videos because she “thought fame on the app would be fun and easy.” Rose’s most popular video features her singing and playing her ukulele. It has 225,000+ views as well as 30,000+ likes. All three of these students started creating videos for fun, and now have a platform to put out their own unique content. 


Creating videos for thousands of people to enjoy has its perks. “My favorite part about being on TikTok is laughing at the funny videos, and the clout,” Lainey said. (Clout is Internet slang for being famous and having influence.) Drew’s favorite aspect of being on TikTok is “being recognized and making brand deals.” Drew is able to work with brands, like the contact company and the “frog” app, to promote them through his videos.“The pros would be getting noticed, receiving positive comments, and being yourself knowing that’s what your followers want,” said Rose. 


Despite the enjoyable aspects of having a TikTok following, it can also be disadvantageous at times. Lainey said one part of her fame that isn’t enjoyable is “being made fun of at school.” People can mock and poke fun at those who create TikToks if they aren’t fans. “There’s expectations that people want me to meet,” Drew explained. Drew also faces hate online with people commenting rude things about him on his videos. Rose said,  “You can be let down if a video doesn’t do as well as you hoped, and I also got overwhelmed because once I was given a platform I had to keep up with it.” Lainey, Drew, and Rose have enjoyed their fame but also learned to deal with the negative aspects of creating TikTok content. 


Lainey, Drew, and Rose have enjoyed the success they’ve experienced on TikTok. After facing struggles, they’ve persevered and kept creating unique content. They plan to continue filming and producing videos for their followers, and their influence will only grow.