The Brief Life and Swift Death of Instagrandma’s TikTok Glory
For one brief glorious moment, I went viral on TikTok, and then, unceremoniously, I was killed off.
I’ll admit it. It was a lark and an accident when I went viral on TikTok. I’m a 59-year-old licensed sex therapist, and my talented assistant on social media had been haranguing me to get on TikTok. “You’ll do great. They love people like you on TikTok,” Which I took to mean, correctly or not, “Bat Sheva, old people do great on TikTok. The kids think they’re cute.” But I resisted. Oh, how I resisted. I was already knee-deep in social media, which was way deeper than I wanted.
Six months ago, my book agent informed me that if I wanted my forthcoming book to sell, then I had to bite the bullet and get on social media in a real way. I had been a sporadic user of Facebook. And Instagram, it felt like a foreign language. But, despite my insecurities, I dove in and embraced my inner “Instagrandma.” I have to admit; I learned to love Instagram. It’s a fantastic platform. I could talk, write, design little videos, and pull up cute pictures for illustrations. Best of all, I found myself connected with some amazing women in the health field. I was having fun.
Then Jazzie, my assistant, (doesn’t everyone need an assistant named Jazzie?) started pushing TikTok.
“No way.” I insisted. Social media was all eating up way too much of my time as it was. I could not, absolutely not, fall down one more social media rabbit hole.
Except then, I did.
After some persistence on Jazzie’s part, I created a 15-second video clip. It took me one minute to film. I was working out. My hair was a mess, and I had no makeup on. I responded to a frustrating moment of yet again trying to explain that the size of a man’s penis is not the predictor of good sex, so I grabbed a bunch of free weights to show people that, hey, all sizes are good! I sent the video to Jazzie, and she worked her magic, added some words, and uploaded it.
I woke up the next morning to a message that the clip had gone viral — 10k views. Then 17k, by the next day, it was up to 27k. Mind you, at this point, I still had to download TikTok to my phone to see the video.
Now, I need you to know that this was the absolute worst thing that could happen as far as I was concerned. It was like walking into a casino, putting a quarter into the first slot machine you see, and winning half a million dollars. It’s addictive. It didn’t matter that I saw minimal benefit in going viral on TikTok. There’s a great adrenaline rush reserved for women of a certain age who crack the young’s code.
Over the next five days or so, Jazzie bless her soul, uploaded some other clips of mine, and they also did great. Okay, I’ll admit it. I even sent her another couple of clips to add to the collection. Another one went viral. I was getting hundreds of thousands of views. I was drunk on power. “Oh my God! You mean I can reach the young demographic with non-salacious, accurate, and important sex education? It’s this easy?” In this preposterous pornography arena, I can be an alternative voice of careful, thoughtful, honest information about sex? Let’s go for it!
TikTok disagreed. Six days after my glorious rise, I was unceremoniously dumped off of TikTok. Yes. My TikTok was killed off. No explanation was given beyond “violating community standard.” I suppose they did not like my use of the word vagina. (Penis seemed to be okay, though.) Honestly, I was a bit confused. WAP, which was made famous by TikTok, seemed to pass their standards. The words in WAP are way too hardcore to print here. (If you are not familiar with WAP, ask your 13-year-old. Trust me. She’ll know.) So barely dressed or undressed dancing girls and boys are fine. Grinding is fine. But, basic sex education is not. I clearly am too old to understand social media.
And so, alas, I will have to give up my TikTok kingdom. It was a short reign, but truly fun while it lasted.