When social media video app TikTok — primarily used for sharing short lip-sync, dancing and comedy videos — combined with Musical.ly, a solely lip-syncing app, the application was widely criticized by teenagers, who viewed the platform as a joke and made fun of the short videos.
Today, as TikTok rises in popularity, there has slowly been a shift in the tide; teenagers have begun to embrace the app, some even gaining millions of followers. Chase Hudson, also known as “lilhuddy” on TikTok, is a local teen- turned-influencer who attended Bear Creek.
Hudson says he didn’t have his sights set on fame when he signed up for the app; he began posting merely for fun.
“I started off doing [TikTok] for fun to mess around with my friends,” Hudson said. “When I started to pick up a following, I started taking it a touch more seriously.”
Hudson’s verified TikTok account has over four million followers, and each video he posts averages one to two million views.
However, with this fame comes a fair share of hate, which Hudson says he can take.
“I weigh out the pros and cons when I get affected by hate,” Hudson said. “[I understand] that [TikTok has] done so much for me.”
Although Hudson attended Bear Creek High School in his freshman and sophomore years, he says that after attaining fame, keeping up with both school and TikTok became a constant struggle, so he began online school.
“I left Bear Creek to start doing more with social media,” Hudson said. “Coping with school and my online life was a lot to handle.”
Although Hudson acknowledges his humble beginnings, he says that his near-celebrity status has had a positive effect on him.
“Fame changes everyone,” Hudson said. “I went from the bottom to the top — from rags to riches. [Now], I can be who I want to be, not who I would pretend to be to make other people think that I’m cool.”
Hudson remains optimistic about his future, connecting his idea of success to the happiness of his devoted fans, rather than the money he gets from putting ads on his YouTube videos or his TikTok fame.
“I plan to go as far in life as I can to make people happy and smile,” Hudson said. “Making money and having followers is cool, but I love that people enjoy the stuff that I create, and that’s why I do what I do.”