How Nine Magnet Students Failed at Getting TikTok Famous

Let’s blame it on the algorithm.




TikTok, the app we love almost as much as Collin Brientnall loves Zendaya. That’s right, the controversial social media app for creating short videos that people like to pretend to hate. But we know you all have your secret accounts. Speaking of secret accounts…


We employed some of our peers to conduct an experiment into uncovering TikTok’s mysterious algorithm. Upon opening the app, you are introduced to a feed of videos under the title “For You”– videos that the creators at TikTok claim are carefully curated to each account’s watch and like history. However, scrolling through the For You Page can lead one to question the integrity of this algorithm. Time and time again we find ourselves asking, “Does TikTok really think I’ll find this funny?” or “How did this person even get famous?” Sometimes, it seems like just about anything can make it on the For You Page. And that’s exactly what we wanted to test. Could our peers triumph against the enigma that is TikTok’s algorithm? Could we create another Collin Brientnall? Inspired by the mere possibility of a class of 2020 TikTok giant, we went to work. To begin, we came up with 8 categories that we thought would fare well against the algorithm. Then, we carefully selected the people we thought could fill the roles best (except Lucas–he really wanted to be the E-boy). The categories and participants are as follows:

Category 1: Acting, Stella Reimer 

Category 2: E-boy, Lucas Dillard 

Category 3: TikTok couple, Sloane Stoklosa and Andrew DeArellano 

Category 4: Funny (?) boy, Davis Leath 

Category 5: Funny girl, Gabby Ziegler 

Category 6: Story time, Angeline Krupa 

Category 7: E-girl, Lilli Heinrich 

Category 8: Fashion, Mina Schaafsma 

*Special shout out to Susannah Ryan and Riley Haas for dropping out of the challenge and reducing our sample size, therefore making the experiment less reliable.

We then added all of our participants into a group chat and sent out a set of rules that most of them ended up ignoring in the end. 

Here’s the list that we sent to them:

A “postable” TIkTok.


1. You have to post five times total.

2. You have a 1 week period: Tuesday, September Seventeenth, Two Thousand Nineteen  9/17/19) to Tuesday, September Twenty-Fourth, Two Thousand Nineteen (9/24/19).

3. Remain in your assigned category.

4. Background for videos must not be obviously the same school.

5. You can follow whoever you want and can create whatever captions you desire. (We encouraged them to try to make the captions go with their assigned personality so that it looks natural.)

6. You must have approval from Rosie, Jordan, or Josephine before posting.


**Note: A few of the participants expressed frustration at the “restricting” one week period, and we ended up extending the due date to Tuesday, October 1st, subsequently upping the video requirement to 6. Thanks, Gabby and Lucas. Davis didn’t have any trouble creating 5 (arguably) postable TikToks in one week, but hey, just give us more data to process.


Name Username Category Number of Views on Best TikTok Total Views Number of Likes on Best TikTok Total Likes Total Number of TikToks
Stella R. @stellareimer Acting 2,374 3,278 314 449 3
Lucas D. @garconelectronique E-boy 1,826 3,144 133 299 5
Sloane S. and Andrew D. @sloaneandandrew TikTok Couple 2,710 4,103 84 233 9
Davis L. @86weasels Funny boy 51 232 4 18 6
Gabby Z. @gubbeen Funny girl 2,124 2,538 78 147 8
Angeline K. @thankyouforthefollow Story time 1,218 2,188 105 218 6
Lilli H. @lavenderbedbegs E-girl 1,255 2,582 108 242 6
Mina S. @bikinisbymina Fashion 56 79 15 26 2


When September 17th rolled around, our puppets went to work. Immediately, Stella and Lucas rose to the top with 1,857 (Lucas) and 2,384 (Stella) views on their first TikToks–but it only went downhill for them from there. On the other hand, most of the accounts encountered moderate fame later on in the game, with Sloane and Andrew’s account taking the lead in views with their third TikTok.

Lucas and his “chain”.

Assigned the category “funny girl,” Gabby Ziegler struggled with staying true to her title while also giving the people what they wanted in order to receive views. Eventually, she reached 2,538 views on her final TikTok, a relatable lip sync video about the college admissions process.  When asked to describe what she learned about the algorithm through her road to stardom, she reflected, “the algorithm only promotes true potential. sometimes. other times it throws collin brientinal on the entire US’s for you page. theres no inbetween.” Additionally, she outlined how her content changed by saying, “its not about the tags or the caption its about how well you can lip sync to last years top 50.” Some thrilling, completely objective insight that helps us interpret our data! Thank you, Gabby.

the algorithm only promotes true potential. sometimes. other times it throws collin brientinal on the entire US’s for you page. theres no inbetween.

— Gabby Ziegler

Basically, the participants posted however many TikToks they felt like creating: Mina with a whopping two posts and Lucas with six as of October 9, 2019, a week after data collection ended. Apparently he hasn’t completed his transformation into an E-boy in these past three weeks. Keep up the good work, Lucas! You must’ve been doing something right because even though the chart doesn’t take followers into account, you did win that category. 



Thanks to our inconsistent participants, we have no real data on how to become TikTok famous. Please direct all questions to Collin Brientnall.

For now, here are some reflections and last-minute thoughts from our TikTok veterans:

You guys messed it up for me. Not that I’m mad, but you REALLY messed it up for me.

— @86weasels

“I take criticism really well.” *makes #1 sign with fingers*- @86weasels, before learning he had received last place in every single category

The clothing switch.

“You guys messed it up for me. Not that I’m mad, but you REALLY messed it up for me.”- @86weasels, upon learning he had received last place in every single category

“I only made 2 TikToks. I put my heart and soul into the first one, and it only ended up getting 64 views and 15 likes. I was shocked that my video didn’t instantly blow up. I would have given up my first born child for views. After being denied instant fame, I gave up. My second TikTok was a final parting video for my audience. I simply just could not keep up. Mostly though, my sister just refused to film me. Crying face emoji. Even though I did not fully complete the experiment, I think it was an enriching learning experience overall. I’m just happy I beat @86weasels.”- @bikinisbymina

“I literally put her clothes on for views. It didn’t work”- @andandrew 

“It was fun but like…”- @sloane

“Guys I’m kind of annoyed. My actual TikTok has never done this well, and I’ve tried so much harder on those videos.”- @stellareimer

“I don’t want to be associated with @86weasels.”- @thankyouforthefollow

I don’t want to be associated with @86weasels.

— @thankyouforthefollow

But really, thank you to everyone who participated. You exceeded our low expectations and provided us with some funny content for this article. Davis, we really like your username. It has some real potential. Lucas, we can’t wait to see the day when you actually become an E-boy. Hopefully we haven’t graduated by then. Sloane and Andrew, you were our number one pick the entire time. Thank you for fulfilling your role. Lilli, you had undeniably the best costumes in this entire experiment. Underrated. Angeline, your content generated the most entertaining comment section. Mina, you made the least amount of TikToks and still didn’t get last place. Stella, your acting was really good. We would’ve loved to see how your last three TikToks performed. Gabby, you worked the hardest. Thank you. 


If you want to see the creations of our test subjects, follow the links below:


Our opinions:

“Can’t stop thinking about Gabby’s, especially the Nintendo DS meets ceiling fan one. She even made her own sound.”- Josephine Drake

“I liked Lucas’s videos. When he changed his hair every other post, it was like a fun game of spot the difference. Can’t wait to see where his career as garcon electronique takes him.”- Jordan Thomas 

“Angeline, you were my favorite. Why? Because you’re the tallest girl in the experiment. After Stella.”- Rosie Booker 


Vote for your favorite below!

Which account was your favorite?


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