• LJK

Terrifying, Terrific TikTok

Yes, I did what you're thinking. After literally an entire year of sitting on the sidelines watching other people's TikTok videos and (sometimes) being highly entertained, I added TikTok to my daily social media enterprise and, boy, was I in for a shock.

My year of research yielded lots of fun ideas and options for all kinds of videos that I might create. I decided to be consistent and kick things off with a 60-second video (the longest possible TikTok content) about my relationship with Sofie which I published Monday morning. A few hours after I published the video, I noticed it had gotten 100 likes, which I thought was really nice. I felt buoyed having ventured out of my comfort zone and considered TikTok like I do my YouTube channel and this blog; that is, that there will be organic growth and I will grow my viewership / readership over time.

By the following morning, however, my first TikTok video had gotten nearly 1000 likes and now, as of this writing, it has gotten nearly 20,000 likes and has been played over 200,000 times. Two hundred thousand times. Along the way, I've gained over a thousand followers and I'm now attempting to post at least a couple of quick videos each day to keep the momentum.

Needless to say, I had NO IDEA the video would have this kind of impact. I've never had any online content get this much exposure and I suddenly felt WAY out of my depth. Every time I look at TikTok, there were more "likes," more comments and my follower count continued to soar.

The number of "likes" on the video pretty much tells the story and there were so many amazing, healthy, inspiring comments from other people all around the world. People continue to write to me and tell me that my video gives them hope for love, inspires them and makes them want to hear more about our story. People have written incredible, extraordinary things to me as encouragement and to share their own stories. These moments are so beautiful.

Concurrently, (and as you'd expect), there were a number of trolls who also made themselves known, calling me all kinds of terrible names, berating me and making assumptions about me without knowing the whole story. Putting myself out there in this way makes me feel incredibly vulnerable and, truth be told, as soon as the first negative, hurtful comments started coming in, my first instinct was to delete the video and my account and make like it had never happened.

I'm grateful that, with help from Sofie and another close friend of mine in London, I decided against that. I'm writing this blog entry now literally in the midst of this experience and, while the algorithm seems to be shifting away from this first video (as the exposure seems to be slowing), I'm still contending with the mix of emotions that this brought on.

It helps so much to write about this and to share it. Thank you for reading -- this is obviously a story still very much in-progress.

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