If you’ve been online at all since May, you know that there are two main factions when it comes to the app: you’re either on Straight TikTok, or Alt TikTok.
TikTok’s algorithm is scarily accurate when it comes to sorting its users based on interests. So, which side are you on — and how has it changed since we first heard of the great divide?
What is Straight TikTok?
The name “Straight TikTok” originally referenced content made by heterosexual users, but according to BuzzFeed, it now refers to the mainstream TikTokers who first made the app popular by sharing dance videos and shirtless thirst traps.
What is Alt TikTok?
It is, essentially, everything else. It’s the side of the internet that’s relatable and unusual. Many Straight TikTok trends start on Alt TikTok, though those users do spend quite a bit of time parodying the other side.
“Straight TikTok gets all of the press and the hype … but all the trends and audios come from Alt TikTok. It’s always been like that,” TikTok user Brittany Tomlinson, who you might know as the Kombucha Girl, explained to Vox.
When the New York Times first attempted to define Alt TikTok, it was filled with Elmo edits, self-referential jokes and faux brand accounts.
It’s still weird, but now, it’s also popular — the place on the internet where you’d like to be, which is what’s earned it the name “Elite TikTok.”
There are punks, mysterious happenings, strange decorations and, of course, absurdities.
Is there beef between Alt TikTok and Straight TikTok?
Though Straight TikTokers dominate the app, some are hesitant to adopt that label. Alt TikTok users accused some popular influencers, such as Addison Rae, of trying to “break in.”
Avani, a member of the Hype House creator collective and a makeup artist, took offense to being placed in a “category.” Other users have accused Alt TikTok of trying to “gatekeep” access to the “elite” side of the internet, BuzzFeed explained.
It’s not much of a fight, though — if “Straight” creators would like to produce weird content, they can. That’s the beauty of the internet.
What is Elite TikTok?
Elite TikTok is just another way of describing Alt TikTok, with the added implication that it is the “better” side of things.
Many of the original Alt TikTok videos contained text saying “you have been chosen,” or something to that effect, further cementing the idea that it’s the place you want to be.
What is DeepTok?
Once you enter Alt TikTok, you may be subjected to even more bizarre realms.
It sums up the essence of quirky Gen Z humor — lighthearted, surreal and random, yet still nuanced and complex.
How do I get on Alt TikTok?
TikTok’s algorithm is famously brilliant. It feeds you content you might like based on what you’ve already watched, but its web of recommendations are also deeply complicated and carefully calculated.
If you’re trying to make the jump from Straight TikTok to Alt TikTok, start by checking out videos with hashtags like #alttok or #alttiktok. Hit “like” on the videos you enjoy. You’ll start to see more of it.
I would also recommend searching audio clips within those hashtags to make sure you’re staying up to date and not running into stale memes. God forbid.
You’ll eventually start seeing Alt TikTok content without any hashtags, solidifying your status as one of the chosen.
To stay on the Alt side, leave comments on the videos you like and follow the creators you enjoy. Keep reinforcing your interests.
If you enjoyed this story, read more about how the TikTok algorithm works.
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