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Breaking Down Virality: The ‘Tube Girl Effect’

Oct 09, 2023

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Breaking Down Virality: The ‘Tube Girl Effect’

In 2023, virality is on everyone’s wish lists. Specifically, going viral on TikTok.

Young, aspiring doctors and lawyers have become aspiring YouTubers and the traditional celebrity has now been replaced by social media influencers. 

With this changing world comes new ways to unlock the cheat codes for career success, but what better way to achieve these dreams than by going viral on the internet?

The internet offers a whole host of opportunities to help achieve this status, but none more so than TikTok. Being the socialsphere’s answer to instant fame, TikTok is a hub for entertainment, creativity and Gen Z’s deepest desires. 

The Charlie D’Amelios, Olivia Rodrigos and Addison Raes of the world all owe their notability to going viral on TikTok, but what’s their secret? Is there even a formula?

In this article, we delve into the art and science of going viral on TikTok and how just a few seconds of fame can shape digital culture indefinitely. 

HOW INSTANT IS VIRALITY IN 2023?

The unpredictable world of TikTok virality isn’t only culture-changing, it’s life-changing too. 

You might have noticed the frequent appearance of the London underground on your FYPs lately. No, this isn’t a mistake. It is entirely the doing of TikTok’s newest superstar, Sabrina Bahsoon – or as she’s more common ly known, Tube Girl. 

Her TikTok content has taken the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching” quite literally as she’s circulated the platform dancing shamelessly in front of strangers on the Tube. Making use of the old Musical.ly style of filming and the Tube’s questionable air flow to mimic the windswept looks commonly found in music videos, it’s actually social anxiety that fears Sabrina. 

@sabrinabahsoon

Gotta match the vibes when i arrive #londontiktok #nickiminaj

♬ where dem girls at – fee✩

Fast forward just a few weeks and Sabrina has become internationally-renowned. Iconic fashion houses and A-list celebrities are lining up at her feet, ready to claim their slice of the viral Tube Girl pie. Signing deals with the likes of MAC Cosmetics and BOSS within the space of just three short weeks might seem astounding (because it is!), but it’s only the result of the nature of virality in 2023. 

The present day is laced with a constant sense of urgency, and TikTok encourages this. Think about how rapidly you scroll through your limitless FYP or how quickly you come to discover new creators with the click of a button. Tube Girl is the result of this. With her status-changing TikTok video now sitting on 12M views – and others not far off – it’s no wonder brands are eager to jump on the bandwagon. 

@sabrinabahsoon

Stay delulu girlies… the universe has got you #bossmilanshow

♬ Primadonna by Marina – TheMarinaJewels – {Fan Page}

THE “TUBE GIRL EFFECT”

As we commonly see with trends, viral videos usually come with a short shelf-life. Cycles responsible for when a video goes viral and how long it lasts are shortening as the vast number of internet users increases. This is why we often look at viral internet moments as a thing of the past. Many fail to leave a lasting impression. 

It begs the question, why are creators and brands so fixated on the ability to go viral online if they know they’ll be replaced within a matter of weeks? And as these cycle times shorten, do they jeopardise the impact of going viral on TikTok?

Sabrina’s newfound fame might just be the answer.

Sure, leaning into creators who are going viral on TikTok is a great way for brands to insert themselves at the forefront of popular culture, gaining exposure along the way, but what’s so different about Tube Girl to warrant this much overnight success?

In a space that traditionally (and unfortunately) contributes to the decline of mental health in younger generations, Tube Girl’s catalytic confidence wave has been a breath of fresh air. Call it what you wish, mastering the art of being “delulu” or inevitability, there is no denying that Tube Girl has had a profound effect on the internet. Since its inception, internet users from all over the world are recreating their care-free Tube Girl-esque dances in public spaces and celebrating their newfound confidence, thanks to Sabrina. The vibes couldn’t be more immaculate. 

Though this wasn’t what was intended when Sabrina posted her life-changing TikTok video, it’s most certainly what was needed. This new wave of self-love and confidence has spotlighted just how impactful going viral on TikTok can be for digital culture and even society in general. It’s not unusual to view virality as a “quick fix”, that’s because it’s generally a reactive happening to what’s popular at the time until something else comes along, but the Tube Girl effect has given it a whole new meaning. 

HOW WILL THIS SHAPE THE FUTURE OF GOING VIRAL ON TIKTOK?

In short, people’s chances of going viral on TikTok – and the wider internet – will only increase. You no longer need an impressive following to spark an online movement. Just creativity and confidence. 

Shifts in internet user behaviour and desires will inevitably shape what deserves going viral TikTok and what doesn’t. Tube Girl’s takeover nods to the desire for more confidence-boosting and self-love-encouraging online spaces. The brands who take note of this and use it to shape future campaigns and messaging will thrive. 

We’ll also start to see a shift in the longevity of people and movements going viral on TikTok. As the floor opens up to give the opportunity to more people, we’ll start to see the shift from one viral trend/creator to the next, rapidly. While this is unlikely to affect levels of impact, it would be wise for brands to bear in mind this quick succession time to ensure campaigns and related-content remains relevant for as long as possible. 

The stakes for those who wish to go viral on TikTok and the internet in general are sitting pretty high right now. While there is no secret to virality, there are certainly ways you can manipulate your content to reach it. Making waves in a space that is traditionally underrepresented online or playfully touching on important subject matters is a great place to start. 

Who knows? You might just join Tube Girl in placing yourself on the map. 

Our Influencer marketing agency and Social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

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@ Socially Powerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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