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How Easily Persuaded Are We? The Influence of TikTok: SHEIN Hauls, Doja Cat, and Squid Game

Picture this. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You open your phone to the plethora of notifications you have received throughout the day. You see that someone has sent you something through TikTok. It’s a funny video clip from a movie. You respond back to your friend that you should watch that movie together later.

Congratulations. You have just let TikTok influence your life. The influence of TikTok, while it might be subtle is slowly becoming a part of everyday life. What happens is you see something that peaks your interest on the app and then want to learn more about it so you check it out. TikTok is a powerful tool for marketing, branding, and advertising. 

If you have fallen victim to buying something that you saw on a TikTok, don’t worry you’re not alone. I polled a couple of my friends and out of the 10 (who all have TikTok), 8 have said they have done the same thing (myself included!). 

The real question is… does TikTok influence our life? The short answer, in my opinion, is yes. If you are like me and scroll on TikTok at least once a day, you will encounter many new things. Music, fashion trends, movies, recipes, dances, etc. TikTok influencers do a really good job at making you want to buy what they have/ are promoting. Even users who aren’t influencers do a good job at this as well. They peak your interest with outlandish deals, specials, or items found in stores like target, Walmart, etc. TikTok “hauls” from SHEIN, Target, Walmart, Zara, and other places have surged in popularity. “What I Ordered” and large haul videos promote overconsumption and encourage viewers to buy impulsively.

TikTok also can make a song go viral instantly. If a song becomes a trend on the app, people recognize it and the artist gets more streams. For example, the song Space Girl by Frances Forever gained popularity when it became a trend to do a dance to the song. The song currently has over 66 million streams on Spotify thanks to its TikTok popularity. Another example of an artist gaining popularity through TikTok is Doja Cat. While she was famous before going viral on the app, her newest album Planet Her has had several songs go viral on the app (Woman, Need to Know, Kiss Me More, and Get Into It). 

Another thing that has become popular recently thanks to the TikTok hype is the Netflix show Squid Games. This K-drama has quickly become the biggest Netflix show, with over 111 million households streaming it according to adweek.com. The show has inspired content creators on TikTok to make the dalgona candy featured in episode 3 of the series. The challenge in both the show and on TikTok is to see if you can cut a shape out of the candy without breaking it. Additionally, the show’s creepy doll from the red light, green light game has started to trend on TikTok as well. 

It’s very interesting to take a step back and look at how TikTok has influenced your everyday decisions (if you have the app of course). How many shows have you started because you heard about it on TikTok? How many new artists or songs have you discovered through the app? Have you ever bought something you saw on TikTok? It’s definitely something to think about as this app becomes more relevant in our day to day lives.

Camryn is a Special Education major from Lexington, South Carolina. When she isn't studying or hanging out with friends you can find her binging Criminal Minds.
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