TikTok is widely considered to be firmly in Generation Z’s territory. The younger generation is the largest demographic of consumers and makers of the short, often humorous videos the site is known for. Yet, a new and perhaps unlikely subset of users have begun gathering an audience on the app—seniors.
New senior TikTok stars have made a name for themselves for everything from baking in a microwave oven to their interpretations of slang to impressive video editing skills. These content creators from the older generation are accumulating anywhere from 500,000 to 3.6 million followers of their videos.
In search of virtual grandparents
To some, the rise of these unlikely stars on an app best-known for hip dancing videos may seem perplexing. But the clues to these TikTokers’ success are in the content itself.
One star calls herself @grandmagreat and is known for feel-good videos where she asks, “How are you? Really, though?” Her page is full of personal advice and affirmations. The comments from users pour in, thanking her for sage advice or wishing they had a grandma just like her.
The account @tedandlinda takes a similar approach, but their videos feature endearing bickering instead of affirmative messages. But like Grandma Great, their bio leans into the need for love and acceptance from elders with the line, “Yes, we will adopt you! Wlcm [sic] to the family!” Meanwhile, @charlesmallet, an account with 4.7 million followers, uses the hashtag #grandpacharles and calls himself “Your local grandpa” in videos.
In a year in which hundreds of thousands may have lost a grandparent to COVID-19, seniors on TikTok seem to be filling a seemingly insatiable void for the Gen Z consumers. Whether you’re craving the humble culinary stylings of @cookingwithsteve or the perspective of @oldgays, Tiktok can give users the feel-good emotions of a visit to grandma or grandpa’s house, especially for those who no longer have one with them.
“This brings me such comfort [:pleading_face: emoji]. I sure do miss my grandpa,” writes @lovely_linzee on Steve’s simple cheese omelet walkthrough video.
For the TikTokers themselves, some say the app has helped them “find meaning” in their golden years. With thousands, sometimes millions, of comments and likes, it seems everyone feels a little less lonely thanks to these creators.
Find a new follow
TikTok has endless videos, but few seem to inspire feelings of comfort and nostalgia the way seniors on the app have managed. If you’re looking for your own virtual grandparent or just a new cozy video, check out these accounts. Maybe you’ll even find some inspiration to start making videos with a senior in your care.
Lynja shows her followers how to make both simple and complex recipes, but she does it all with a hot plate and a microwave oven. Her limited tools are probably just one of many things that resonate with young followers, many of whom are likely navigating college life. She’s also known for silly dancing and “yeeting” items out the back door.
2. Old Gays
The Old Gays follow four retired men who, with their unnamed videographer, discuss everything from “youth speak” to their own journeys of coming out. Follow along as they hilariously navigate youth culture and relate with stories of their own.
Some days you just need someone to tell you you’re doing a great job. If you’re having one of those days, try taking a trip to Grandma Great’s profile. Her iconic voice, sage advice and way of addressing her followers as “her beautiful friends” are sure to bring out a smile.
If you’re not charmed by Charles’s jokes and candor, you won’t be able to resist his dancing. He seems to be always on top of the latest TikTok trend and putting his own spin on it.
Ted and Linda are a hilarious pair, best-known for their light-hearted squabbling. Their antics are filmed by their daughter and posted for all their 1.9 million followers to enjoy.
Whether he’s teaching you to make a cheese omelet while lamenting the size of eggs or showing off his holiday decorations, Steve has a way of enchanting his young audience. His stories are reminiscent of a great day spent talking to grandpa.
This French-Canadian grandma even has the kids confused about how she pulls off her videos. Her seamless editing, fun style and visual trickery are something everyone should see.