As a flurry of young stars began building audiences on TikTok in late 2019 and early 2020, many hoped that this time would be different. They have grown up watching YouTubers speak frankly about these issues. Courtney Nwokedi, 23, a YouTube star in Los Angeles, said: “When it comes to Generation Z creators, we talk a lot about mental health and self-care. “We have seen many creators talk about burnout in the past.”
However, they are still unprepared for the work of building, maintaining, and monetizing audiences during the pandemic. “It’s exhausting,” said Jose Damas, 22, a TikTok creator in Los Angeles. “Looks like there aren’t enough hours in the day.”
“TikTok is just as demanding as YouTube,” said Gohar Khan, 22, a TikTok creator in Seymour, Conn.
Thanks to the app’s algorithmically generated “For You” page, TikTok gained popularity faster than any other platform; can attract millions of followers within a few weeks. But when creators rise quickly, they can fall.
“I almost feel like I’m having a celebrity crush, but it’s never consistent and as soon as you get it, it’s gone and you’re gone,” said Lauren Stasyna, 22, a TikTok creator. constantly trying to get it back,” said Lauren Stasyna, 22, a TikTok creator for Toronto. “It feels like I’m trying to win this award, but I don’t know what the prize is.”
Volatility can be worrisome. Luis Capecchi, 23, TikTok creator in Los Angeles, said: “When your views drop, it affects financial stability and puts your career at risk. “It’s like being demoted to a job without warning.”
Creators have encountered all kinds of problems, including bullying, harassment, and discrimination. “Some creators also have their content stolen, so some others will spread their content then they get all the press,” Mr. Harris said. Not to mention, communities of fans and internet commenters can be very vicious. “You can’t just shoot what you want to shoot,” Mr. Harris said. “They will mock you if your views drop.”