Fun one this week…
For ancient millennials like myself, reading Tik Tok comments can feel like you’re reading a different language, and in some respects it is. Tik Tok lingo is a melting pot of gaming, rap and Gen Z culture that can be hard to grasp if you’re not immersed in the platform. I’ve done the hard work for you, below is the first edition of what will be a quarterly updated Tik Tok Comment Dictionary.
Fairly straightforward, Tik Tokers use this to call out posters who are acting like clowns. It could be that they are trying too hard to look look pretty, did something mean, or have encouraged bullying. You’ll hardly ever find this comment on a vulnerable Tik Tok and never on earnest or roughly edited posts. It’s used to call out toxicity, not create it. Interestingly, this emoji sparked a video trend where people would put on clown make up as they told an embarrassing personal story, closing the loop on this iconic comment response.
The crown is used in various contexts, either just the emoji, or often “Sir I think you dropped this 👑”. Commenting 👑 is the ultimate compliment on a video, often used for daring, brave or original and hilarious content.
An enigma of a comment and one of the most prolific on the platform. 👁👄👁, broadly, is used to indicate that the subject of the video is watching. The significance of this comment is wide enough to be open to many interpretations. Comments with 👁👄👁could represent the viewers shock, surprise or enthusiasm to the video. With this emoji it’s the context that shapes the symbolism. 👁👄👁 was also the banner of my favourite social media stunt of 2020
Tik Tokers will use this to label someone as the quintessential representation of the subject matter in the video. Another definition is that they are the best at a particular behaviour, i.e ‘C.E.O of turning up late’.
No cap means ‘no lie’.
FYP stands for For You Page which is the first discover page that users see when they open the platform. The For You Page is curated via the AI powered algorithm that learns your preferences and then serves relevant content. Tik Tokers will often comment ‘why is this on my FYP’ to show horror that the algorithm has served them an out of character Tik Tok.
A simp is someone who shows disproportionate love or obsession for another. It’s seen as a humiliating position to be in, akin to being friendzoned. Guys on Tik Tok will often ask “permission to simp?” on a post featuring an attractive girl.
If someone ‘passes the vibe check’ it means they’re cool, impressive or chill. Often ‘vibe check’ comments are found on aesthetically pleasing videos that present a mood without a specific storyline.
Commenting to stay on ‘x’ Tik Tok
Gen Z has worked out that you can manipulate the algorithm to your desires by commenting on videos that have a theme you want to see more of. As a high ranked form of engagement, commenting will make the algorithm serve more videos of that theme. So if I post ‘Commenting to stay on dog Tik Tok’ on a video featuring dogs, I will then be served more dog videos by Tik Tok.
This is an emoji to represent nervousness, often posted with a vulnerable video where the poster is putting themselves out there on Tik Tok. It is derived from Anime symbolism.
Left on read
‘Left on read’ is a catch all phrase for unrequited love, or friendship. It stems from the media behaviour of not responding to a text/message/DM after reading it, even though the sender can see that the message has been read.
‘Main character’ refers to the tendency of people to believe that life revolves around themselves. Crucially this is always used ironically with self-awareness. What makes this comment interesting is that it makes fun of the narcissistic culture incubated by the millennial IG generation. Tik Tok is about amassing views of content, not followers of personalities, so naturally Tik Tokers like to make fun of being a ‘main character’.
They’re the same but different fonts
Often used when there’s a video featuring a significant lack of diversity.
Welcome to the gulag
In the popular video game ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ when a player is killed they get ‘sent to the gulag’ where they have to fight against another player to get back into the main game. ‘Welcome to the gulag’ is a comment used on any video that is particularly hardcore/savage/vicious.
Tik Tok is constantly evolving and current popular comment tropes won’t be around in 3 months time. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the next wave as we update the dictionary later this year.