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The “What Does It Mean” TikTok Trend Has Creators Puzzled

Do you ever stop and think about something that makes no sense? Like how the world could be ending and we’d still remember that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell? Or how Megan Fox and MGK became a couple, or what Emma Roberts was doing in that strange beach video? If you’re equally as puzzled as I am, you’ll love the “What Does It Mean” TikTok trend, which uses a Miley Cyrus song to highlight stuff that simply doesn’t add up. The trend is relatable, entertaining, and the more I fall down this TikTok rabbit hole, the funnier it gets.

The “What Does It Mean” trend uses a clip from “Twinkle Song,” the final track on Miley’s 2015 album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. Although the album version is soft and lullaby-like, the live version kicks it up a notch and features an angsty Miley full-on belting screaming “What does it mean?!” at the piano. To get the complete effect, watch this YouTube video, and please, make sure your volume isn’t all the way up. Also, peep the comment section for a laugh. My personal favorite responses include: “me in math,” “my mental state after One Direction posts something,” and “Miley, please leave me alone.” 

The hashtag #WhatDoesItMean currently has over 260 million views on TikTok, and the song has been used in over 39,000 videos of creators sharing random things they don’t understand. Struggling with your math homework? Same. Can’t wrap your mind around the concept of Bitcoin? Neither can I.  Did your professor just say that answer choice “A” on your quiz is technically correct, but “B” is the better choice? Wait…what does that mean? Whether you’re attending a football game for the first time, analyzing the choreography in Hamilton, or attempting to understand Dune in case you run into Zendaya or Timothée someday, the “What Does It Mean” TikTok trend is here to make you feel better about your sheer and utter confusion. 

To hop on the trend, first, think of something mind-boggling. Then, grab the trending audio, record your reaction in time with Miley’s lyrics (lip dubbing optional, yet always encouraged), and, voila! Remember: the goal of the trend is to tap into a quick, instantly recognizable feeling — especially since the song excerpt itself only lasts a few seconds. Write a caption to express what’s got you perplexed, and check out examples if you need some inspo, like this English class-themed version from @ambriaxjones. 

Apart from jumping on the trend with their own confusing scenarios, TikTokers are hilariously pointing out that Miley’s lyrics sound like other random phrases, like “waters in Maine” and my personal favorite, “wontons in Maine.” It’s safe to say that #WhatDoesItMean is definitely one of my favorite trends to emerge over the past few weeks, and if anything, it’ll add some levity to your FYP. And now that screaming Miley is trending all over TikTok, it’s time for you to join in on the fun. Whatever you’re confused about, I hope you get answers.

Tianna was an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media HQ where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, wellness, and TikTok trends. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes.