Tiktokers are, as F. Scott Fitzgerald put it, “different from you and me.”
If you’re not from an era when phones had a single purpose and an hour’s call to New York City could set you back the equivalent of a single monthly payment on AT&T’s i-Phone back when it was known as Ma Bell, perhaps a little explanation is in order.
a pen you may ask? This is a low tech device that was once used for long distance communication when you used your hand to press it against paper.
And if it had such an impact on lives, profound or subtle, it would eventually make its way to thousands, if not millions.
As for who F. Scott Fitzgerald was, he was a charismatic pioneer of social media influencers/bloggers referred to as essayists, short story writers, and novelists.
He tried to make a living enlightening humanity about the glamor – and excess – of the Jazz Age.
No, the Jazz era is not when point guard John Stockton took the Utah Jazz to the promised land in the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 only to fall short both times.
It refers to a time when America was upended by the proliferation of instant communications to the masses known as commercial radio.
The “influencers” can reach the thousands who have turned a handle on devices connected to a wireless technology known as radio frequency rather than within earshot.
You no longer have to go to a jazz club in New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles to hear trendy music. You can turn on your radio in Peoria and take it all in.
It paved the way for the creation and unification of cultural tastes and modes of speech that transcended local and local traditions.
Radio has been a vehicle for spreading racial stereotypes like wildfire across the country with shows like “Amos ‘n Andy.”
People didn’t have to leave the comfort of their living room to engage – even in one way at the time – with complete strangers.
Radio, as it matured, introduced demagoguery to the airwaves.
Exotic clothes according to the mores of the time were adopted by young people.
Flapper dresses—the long, flowy dresses—that today’s Kardashians would view as slinky concrete sacks—were all a rage much to the chagrin of my old fuzzies.
The horrific 1920s equivalent of crack addiction by many of today’s youth was baggy, rolled-up, heavily cuffed pants.
Fitzgerald had a field day in the Internet age exploring the excesses, the shallowness, and the interplay of so-called enlightened ones that mask a void made tedious by its repetition.
This also applies to those on the cutting edge of people who have to push the envelope in order to stay relevant in the digital world in which they trade.
Consider the evolution of social media as a testament to the potential of just how shallow and empty face-to-face human connection is as a forerunner of Mark Zuckerberg’s meta-world is yet to come.
Head over to TikTok to see where we’re headed on a journey that began on November 2, 1920 when Pittsburgh’s KDKA became the first commercial radio station to go on the air.
This is where you’ll see the stunts that made John Belushi’s character in “Animal House” appear as if he was on a leash and channeling Emily Post.
It’s also where Andy Warhol’s Theory of Fame gets reduced to just 15 seconds, if that’s the case.
It is a place where the absorbent is not born every minute, but at a frequency of a dozen or so every second.
Facebook’s younger cousin TikTok — the latest hone of the technology that took man to the moon — has given us perilous dancing on animated dance floors and sleepover influencers.
First the animated dance floor. We’re not talking about the gym floor slumping into the high school dance scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where Charleston is played by sending revelers into the pool below.
Instead, we’re talking about challenges — designed and implied — on TikTok.
On Monday, a 25-year-old man met his death on a highway in Houston.
Police said, based on a video the man was apparently recording and sharing on Facebook, that he was dancing on the roof of an 18-wheeler trailer while it was speeding down the highway.
It doesn’t matter if he jumped on the trailer or climbed onto it while it was parked.
His desire for his 15 seconds of fame in the vast bowels of social media cost him his life when the truck went under the bridge and crashed into the flyover.
For sleep influencers, this is an expansion of the 1930s marketing game when a man was paid to “sleep” in a New York City storefront window in pajamas to demonstrate how comfortable a particular mattress was as comfortable as those passing by.
While that was probably a big deal, TikTok has elevated it to a professional level.
The king of sleep influencers – even though he appears to be sleeping on a double bed – is Jiki Boehm.
The 28-year-old from Australia’s Gold Coast climbs into bed every night at 10pm to entertain TikTok fans around the world with his flips and turns.
Boehm claims to earn an average of $35,000 per month.
Boehm adds to the entertainment value by having lights, sirens, and other fake sounds that “wake him up” when someone buys him a virtual gift that he’s allowed to choose from.
They can also pay over 50 cents to $600 for a number of other annoying outages, hence the $35,000 per month take.
Other sleep effects are not so amusing. It’s just a big snooze, as Fitzgerald might say of rich people who strayed, “the big bore.”
Duane Olson, a 25-year-old who lives in Hyde Park, New York, is just sleeping.
He goes to bed with a sign over his head that reads, “I’m just sleeping.”
He has about 13,000 followers, including a few volunteers who send him a few bucks while they watch him sleep, presumably dreaming not of sheep but of killing TikTok followers.
He managed to make about $400 or so a month just sleeping.
There is so much amazing promise made in the 1990s that the internet will usher in a new age of enlightenment.