Tiktok on Sunday awarded its top Filipino creators for the first time ever, showing how in the internet age of full-screen vertical videos, the future of social media stardom in the Philippines may very well be in Gen Z's favorite platform, much like everywhere else in the world.
In an online ceremony that streamed within the app itself (not on TV nor in traditional streaming platforms), Tiktok crowned top creators who stood out in their bottomless feed of dance challenges, food hacks, and comedic content.
“It’s an honor receiving this award. It’s crazy how TikTok evolved. We were there when it first started. I can still remember we were in Indonesia before the TikTok launched. Back then, the community is not that big,” said dance creator Ranz Kyle, who along with his sister, Niana Guerrero, was hailed "Top Creator of the Year". The two have a combined 27.5 million followers on the platform.
"It’s crazy how the community has evolved into this huge thing. Even the creators, there’s a lot more. The creativity is crazy," he added.
In pandemic year 2020, Tiktok was easily the Philippines' most downloaded app, internet usage tracker DataReportal had said.
While one can say the awards show was star-studded in the traditional sense, as celebrities with "conventional" popularity still filled the event—from Top Celebrity Awardees SB19, Andrea Brillantes, and Sanya Lopez, to host Billy Crawford and performers Maris Racal, Rico Blanco, Ella Cruz, Mark Herras, to name a few—Tiktok is proving to be potent space for regular creators to become stars of their own right.
With voice actor Inka Magnaye, a Tiktok breakout star herself, co-hosting, Tiktok gave out the following awards to micro-creators who, in social-media speak, gained their influence "organically" through the platform.
- Rising Star Award winners
Father Fiel Pareja (Read Reportr's feature)
- Top Talent Award winners
Yanyan de Jesus
- Top Creative Award winners
- Popular Creator Award winners
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have long been proven a viable path for non-celebrities to carve their own path to fame, disrupting the business model of traditional celebrities in the process.
But arguably no platform has done it the way Tiktok has in the past year. Not only is it a way for Filipinos of different ages, backgrounds and socio-economic class to get a shot of the viral spotlight, it also challenged traditional celebrities to get even more creative -- and compete with those who are unknown outside the platform.
Tiktok redefined self-expression, courtesy of outspoken Gen Zs: fun mixing with politics is a usual occurence there (most times satire, but also at times, propaganda).
There's so much to say about Tiktok and the different ways it may be breeding people into fame. As with other platforms, it is run by an AI-powered algorithm that understandably, may not be able to discern, most of the time, harmless content from what is not; hence, the need still for content moderation mechanisms.
There's also influencer culture itself that is driving discussions on what it can or is doing to the minds of not just these creators, but also to spectators at the sidelines, scrolling their life away in that endless feed.
Without a doubt, one can say #TiktokAwardsPH is an impressive feat not only for the winners, but for Tiktok itself, having pulled off an awards show no social media platform has done locally before.
But even more so, as Gen Z often put it: they did all that right in the middle of a pandemic.