By Abbey Kelly
Walking into the new Daphne Cockwell building, freshmen are buzzing around, anxious to get settled in. Devin Miller is one of them, moving boxes into the elevator to head up into his room. He’s looking from side to side, wondering if he will be spotted as a familiar face amongst the crowd.
With over 32,000 followers on TikTok as user @lildev, Miller is only slightly worried about privacy. He is more interested in finding a balance between schoolwork and keeping his fans entertained.
“I was there since the beginning—since TikTok was Musical.ly,” said the first-year creative industries student, as he unpacked his belongings into his room in the Daphne Cockwell building. He chose to stay in residence to meet “everyday people.”
He brings out a french press and a panini press and, with furrowed brows, he begins to look for a place to put them in the kitchen.
“Honestly, I bought these for a TikTok I made,” he said. “I made a joke about wanting to impress at school.”
Sasha A. Way, TikTok influencer @sashaawayway, is facing the same dire situation. Her 21,000 followers will give her an academic advantage.
“I joined TikTok because of my love of silent films,” she says. “I’m in film studies, so I might submit some of my TikToks for course credit.”
Way swirls a wine glass full of grape juice while sitting on a bean bag chair on the sixth floor of the SLC.
“If you think about it, the way they used music and text in silent films is similar to TikToks today,” she says. Way shows a TikTok of local hero @lildev pretending to have a conversation with himself as text flashes across the screen.
But not everyone is entertained by these TikTok stars.
Alberto Reynolds, a second-year English student and ex-Vine star, feels disrespected. “I feel the Vine name has been besmirched,” he says. He takes another shot of tequila at the bar of the Ram in the Rye to numb the pain. He tells me he can’t stop watching Vine compilations on Twitter and YouTube.
He lowers his head and a single tear rolls down his cheek. “Sometimes, it feels like Vine is back.”