Those cute TikTok videos of couples cooking and dancing together really hit differently during a global pandemic.
I was dozing off to Netflix in my dimly-lit abode when a TikTok notification invaded my peace. I glanced at my phone to witness a cute couple, all toned and perfect, laughing, preparing an elaborate meal, and clinking wine glasses while sunlight streamed through their apartment.
My hand shook from envy as I slid into Karen mode. What is this mess?!
Who are these beautiful people prancing around in a massive, spotless apartment? Without masks! How did they meet?
Are people really dating and meeting and cooking together in a global pandemic? If so, where’s my beautiful cooking partner?
Is there a pandemic-free zone somewhere? Do I need to travel to greener pastures?
I want to speak to the manager of this pandemic, dammit.
Alas, I researched the couple and learned that they’re not a couple at all. The couple are business partners; they have separate private lives but come together on TikTok to gain more followers.
Here’s what I’ve learned: Many social media influencers become a couple to merge their platforms.
Several years ago, former Instagram star Essena O’Neill told the world that many social media couples are fake. O’Neill said that a male supermodel asked her to participate in an online relationship to earn free trips and paid promotions.
Ms. O’Neill said it’s ‘sad’ and that a lot of people realize their followers are a business, so ‘collaborate with someone else and a relationship and get more followers.’
For some, social media is a way to connect with people who matter most.
For others, social media platforms are a sunny place to showcase the best of our lives.
For influencers, social media is a business; and, if you increase your online following, you increase your bottom line. And if growth means hooking up with a person for the cameras, you do it. If growth means remaining in a terrible relationship to please your subscribers, you do it.
In other words, these fake social media couples are hamming it up for the cameras to earn your likes and comments. And, if you look closer, there’s undoubtedly product placement in the background.
Thus, in many cases, Mr. & Mrs. TikTok don’t exist. They’re just people trying to earn a buck.
My mood changed; my inner-Karen subsided. I thought if Mr. & Mrs. TikTok dressed up, rented a space, poured the wine, and chopped vegetables for a meal they would never eat, the very least I could do is reward them for it.
I unfurled my jealous fist, extended my forefinger, and liked their post.
And all was right with the world again.
Happy Valentine’s Day, beloved.
Zondra Hughes is the founder of Six Brown Chicks and editor of #WednesdayWisdom: 300 Good, Bad & Ugly #SBCCHAT Updates. Start reading it for free>> https://a.co/1vi4Kgt. Follow Zondra on Twitter @ZondraHughes.