TikTok Rewinds 2021


Photo courtesy of Delish.com.

(Above) Today, the younger generation looks for trends that are simple, yet catchy. Many people attempted the famous “Feta Pasta Recipe” from the 30-second tutorials on TikTok. This was a popular trend in 2021 because it’s an easy-to-learn idea that many people can apply to their own lives.

Amanda Wiboon, Co-editor and Director of Media

TikTok is an app many people continue to enjoy. It’s a place where anyone can discover, create, and share content for free. In fact, in 2021 alone, over one billion people around the world came to TikTok for entertainment and to be a part of an ever-growing global community, according to TikTok’s Newsroom. Last year, TikTok brought new trends that became part of many conversations within Lake Highland’s Upper School student population. The trends vary from distinct life hacks and songs to challenges that students have applied to their own lives. Looking back at these trends reminds people how TikTok continues to be a powerful platform that brings the global community together and helps people smile during times like the pandemic. To see this for yourself, I’ve gathered a list of TikTok trends that I believe have meaningfully circulated within the student body last year.

An example of a trend in 2021 was the TikTok “Feta Pasta Recipe.” Similar to how model Gigi Hadid’s “Spicy Vodka Pasta” recipe became one of the world’s most-talked about recipes in 2020—thanks to TikTok—the feta pasta recipe easily swept the Internet within days after it was discovered on the platform for obvious reasons. It’s effortless to make, required very few ingredients, and was of course, very tasty. It’s interesting how nowadays, the trends that we find on Google are sourced directly from TikTok. The feta pasta recipe was brought into my own friend group at Lake Highland because we favor simple things to learn and imagined how awesome it would be to make the recipe in college next year. This trend helped us think more realistically about college. Many Seniors at Lake Highland are thinking about the next chapter in their lives, and TikTok has been a great source of inspiration on ideas to make our lives easier for the difficult transition ahead.

2021 was also a great year of music, partly thanks to TikTok. Over the years, TikTok has helped pave the way for many aspiring singers to become very successful in the music industry. Artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, and Lil Nas X have had their songs break chart records after trending on the platform. This year, one star in particular has swept the younger generation by storm. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actress Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single “drivers license” released at the beginning of 2021 and became an immediate, massive success after trending on TikTok. Its lyrics, which described feelings of loneliness and heartbreak of driving alone after a breakup, became the new teenage anthem for both girls and boys. Later that year, Rodrigo released her debut album SOUR, which also broke the Billboard charts. Like “drivers license,” many other songs from the album became favorited by Gen-Z from how relatable they were. Rodrigo is set apart from other artists because she speaks to the younger generation by discussing teen-friendly topics, such as relationships and emotions in her songs so articulately. She also is willing to take risks, tackling multiple genres such as rock and pop that appeal to millions of people. For these reasons, Rodrigo was a recognizable icon of Pop culture that caused many students at Lake Highland to sing her songs and talk about her on campus.

Of course, TikTok does not come without its viral challenges. Anyone who had the app last year is familiar with the 2021 trend that caused widespread chaos in American schools: “The Devious Lick.” Participating in the “Devious Lick” challenge meant stealing or vandalizing school property. Students searched for anything they could get their hands on: soap dispensers, sinks, toilet paper roll shields, and larger items that were fairly difficult to steal. After the trend flooded the platform, it didn’t take long for the mischievous acts to take place on Lake Highland school grounds. On social media, some students successfully got their hands on “The Ten Commandments,” as well as one of the picnic tables on campus. Eventually, Mr. Derek Daly took action and announced on the intercom that encouraging this form of behavior was unacceptable and that anyone who would commit such acts would face punishment accordingly. While the challenge quickly came to an end at Lake Highland, it reminds us that not all TikTok challenges are worth following. Some trends may be fun, but others can have long-term consequences. Social-media platforms need to showcase appropriate, acceptable content instead of promoting illegal and life-threatening activities.

Last year, TikTok brought up content that has never been short of entertaining the world. This year, we can expect ourselves to find even more life hacks, songs, and challenges that will cause us to laugh, cry, and converse over them for hours to our friends and peers. 2022 will be another year of coming together and celebrating the biggest, one-of-a-kind trends.