How TikTok has allowed one woman to create something positive out of lockdown
With TikTok’s growth soaring over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many across the UK and beyond have turned to it for entertainment and have become creators themselves, including 20-year old proud Brummie Becky Tomlins whose blend of humour and relatability has earned her an audience of tens of thousands.
In early 2020, after dealing with a set of personal issues, Becky Tomlins had enough.
”I was dealing with some personal things in life, and eventually things just began to affect me negatively, usually I’m a confident and joyful person but I felt like all my energy was just being drained,’’ she said.
”I felt frustration so I just wanted an outlet to let myself feel better and heal.’’
As with everyone else in the UK and the world, life changed for Tomlins when the COVID-19 pandemic began to rage and soon after, she eventually ended up losing her job.
”We got into lockdown in March and I had just lost my job and some things in my life were getting drained so now I was just getting angry and I needed to channel those emotions for a good thing” said Tomlins.
”But I had to try and make something positive out of all this. And since I loved going on TikTok and loved making stuff, I put two and two together and thought you know what, I’m gonna try and make some TikTok videos myself.”
Having created her current account at the beginning of April, Tomlins has amassed over 39,000 followers and nearly 281,000 likes overall along with over 563,000 views in the last month alone. With 56% of her total audience being from the UK, she has also gained increasing popularity internationally with the US, Germany, Netherlands & Belgium alone now accounting for 9%, 3% and 2% respectively in total.
”Honestly I was just bored and I’m an outgoing person so I thought making TikToks was a good idea but I didn’t expect it to blow up like this,” she said.
”In the last seven days as of the 28th December, I have had 78,000 views and on the 6th, I gained nearly 600 followers on my Insta in a day.”
”I’m not saying I’m like Charli D’Amelio or Addison Rae because I’m not but still, these numbers are mad.”
With humorous videos on learning to dance and touching on topics including relationships, personal interactions, the coronavirus lockdown and more, her videos have gained increasing traction but Tomlins says she doesn’t follow ”any particular formula for success.”
”I didn’t really have many followers at first but I made this one video on this trend where people would show outfits that they’d wear if they were going to go clubbing which obviously because of corona, wasn’t possible,” she said.
”Honestly, gaining traction on here is the result of either having a niche or following a trend. But really, I just try and do what I want.”
With online popularity, there are always advantages and advantages like with anything in life and TikTok is ”no exception,” Tomlins says.
”Regarding advantages, it’s cool to have a decent sized audience and I like the fact that I’m making people laugh and smile.”
”I’ve also made £50 out of it which isn’t much but still, I’m not complaining.”
However, TikTok has a ”bad side for sure” says Tomlins and it isn’t for ”those who aren’t thick skinned.”
”The cancel culture on here is ridiculous and so is the hate. I’ve had rude comments like people have said I’m fat and ugly,” she says.
”On this app, people like to comment anything to hurt your feelings but I’ve got thick skin so it doesn’t really bother me but still.”
Those incidents are one of many negative experiences with the app, including harassment from followers who added her on other social media, she adds.
”Because I linked my social media on it, I had guys adding me and asking me to send nudes and make an OnlyFans. One guy even tried to blackmail me and I’d block him but he’d carry on making new accounts,’’ she says.
”It’s messed up to be honest and it made me contemplate giving this all up. But nothing is perfect in life and you have to find the best in things and move on.”
Overall, creating a TikTok hasn’t been a ”negative experience” however, Tomlins says.
”There are more upsides to this all than downsides. Creating a TikTok has kept me busy throughout lockdown and during this difficult year, it’s been mostly a source of positivity. Harassment from weirdos and toxic people was definitely not a bad price paid,” she adds with a chuckle.
”It even motivated me to get another job and yes I know that sounds crazy. But for real, it gave me a routine.”
Asked about the future regarding her TikTok account, Tomlins replied ”It’s just something I do for fun. Do you really think I’m gonna be Birmingham or the UK’s answer to Loren Gray or D’Amelio or whoever?”
”2020 has been taxing on us all and I just did all this because I wanted to make something positive out of this year and out of COVID and everything. I want to make people happy and I want them to smile,’’ she added.
”And if my content is contributing to positivity, it’s only a good thing. Contributing to people’s happiness is really the best feeling there is.”