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Four Reasons You Should Join TikTok Today

The app isn’t just for kids, and it can boost your career

Graphic treatment of a man dancing in and out of a mobile phone
Paul Spella

When you think of TikTok, maybe you think of teens lip-syncing to Billie Eilish or attempting some stupidly dangerous challenge, or a beauty influencer slathering her face in Vaseline. Kid stuff, basically, with a slight tang of Chinese spyware. 

But don’t write off the app so quickly. There’s a whole swath of Gen X (and older) guys with dedicated TikTok followings. 

Here are a few reasons why being on TikTok may be easier, more satisfying and even more profitable than you think. 

You don’t need to be on trend to trend

Assume you’re not enough into pop culture or trending topics for TikTok? If the app has shown us anything, it’s that there’s an audience for practically everything, even just being a dad

“The great thing about TikTok is that once you’re on it enough, it starts to fit who you are,” says 41-year-old New Orleans teacher Greg Kata, aka Gregisms, with 2.2 million followers and counting for snarky-yet-sweet videos on everyday topics such as odd Uber drivers people who leave their holiday decorations up too long. 

It can lead to a lucrative side hustle

TikTok on its own is not an income stream for many creators, but it can be a great way to drive attention and traffic to other projects. 

Author Tom Powell Jr., 49, has noticed his book sales and podcast subscriptions go up according to his TikTok traffic, while Kata has leveraged his TikTok popularity by selling Cameo videos and merchandise. It’s not enough for him to quit his day job, but it’s a nice cushion.

Forty-year-old Shermann “Dilla” Thomas posts about Chicago history to over 82,000 followers as 6figga_dilla, a hobby that didn’t take off on Facebook but was a perfect fit for the more visual realm of TikTok. 

While he maintains his day job at an electric utility company, his TikTok account has helped him leverage other opportunities, like serving as an NPR correspondent, creating a television special and collaborating on an upcoming project with Chance the Rapper. 

The TikToks on their own don’t pay but “the extra finances come from the opportunities,” he says.

It’s lo-fi friendly 

While YouTubers and Instagram influencers often need to invest in equipment like ring lights, editing software and even soundstages, it doesn’t take much tech knowledge or social media savviness to become popular on TikTok.

Anthony Fuchs, 41, who posts as Capwithoutacountry, mostly just records himself spouting off inside his car during his lunch break — with topics ranging from comic books to politics — and that’s been enough to attract over 185,000 followers.

Powell admits to being something of a TikTok neophyte. “I don't know how to get something to appear behind me,” he laughs. “I still don't know how to do half this s---,” which hasn’t stopped him from accruing nearly 1 million followers. 

It’s a way to get heard

Remember journals and zines and blogs? TikTok is simply the latest way for many Gen X men to yell at the proverbial cloud.

“I think with Gen Xers, with our almost nihilistic view of the world, suddenly here’s a place where we can dump all these thoughts,” says Fuchs. 

“I’m an extrovert,” says Powell, a father of three who is retired from his former landscaping business. “I don’t have all my customers and employees to talk to anymore. This is what I do so as to not turn my wife into my therapist and my bartender.”