In August 2021, Khaby Lame became the second person (after Charli D’Amelio) to surpass 100 million followers on TikTok. His gambit? Making fun of other TikTokers. He’s one of a number of creators who’ve found success in this way, marking a shift to a more self-aware social landscape.
Social media has become a parody of itself. Creators that call bullshit on social tropes are no longer just heroes of the fringes, but mainstream icons that match established players.
There’s long been a healthy amount of cynicism attached to the stereotypes found in our feeds. This was once reserved for macro influencers like the Kardashians – with their Facetuned images, and perceived prioritisation of clout over creativity – or for the algorithms that fill our feeds, skewing our understanding of political discourse, body image and so much more.
But now, meme admins, digital artists, and comedians are also under the magnifying glass. Challenges have become saturated and overproduced, while meme pages are slaves to engagement as dictated by platforms. Let’s not even get started on where brands fit into all this.
In short, people are seeking a break from the expected. And while all this might sound a little damning, think of it as a wake-up call. In this environment, newness has never looked better. It’s driving a kind of creative renaissance, for individuals and brands alike.
Creators are pushing back against social’s status quo, using comedy and informed critique to manifest a more creative social landscape.
Khaby Lame is just one of the many influencers who’s gained global fame for mocking the trends and creators he sees in his own feed. Wellness page @afffirmations has blown up for a similar reason, parodying the aesthetic and tone of wellness industries, and drawing millions of followers in the process.