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A KU freshman's experience on going TikTok viral

TikTok Feature Graphic

For KU freshman Catherine Ke, TikTok has become a prominent aspect in her life after gaining a large following.

From the outside, freshman Catherine Ke is your average University of Kansas student. Originally from St. Louis, she is a journalism major and a new member of Sigma Kappa sorority. One thing that sets Ke apart from her peers is her large TikTok following of almost 155,000. 

TikTok saw a 48.3% growth in users from the beginning of the year to March. With Wallaroo Media estimating about 850 million monthly active users on the app as of September 2020, TikTok has become quite the social media sensation. 

Like most people this spring, Ke needed an outlet to cope with her quarantine boredom. 

Ke first went viral in March 2020 after posting a series of video clips she had made documenting each day of her senior year in high school. Ke posted the video series in two parts. The first part has 2.1 million likes, and the second part has 1.2 million likes. 

“When I first went viral, my reaction was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so weird,’” Ke says. “I wanted to delete my video right away, because it was personal.” 

Unfortunately, Ke was never to finish the video series due to school closure.

Although Ke does not see herself as an influencer, she says that mutual friends have recognized her as the “TikTok famous girl."

Catherine Ke

Catherine Ke, a KU freshman, balances her TikTok following with her academic and career goals as a journalism major.

Delainey Miltner, also a freshman, is excited to be roommates with Ke because she doesn’t know anyone else with such a large following. 

I feel like Cat is so popular on TikTok because few of her videos have gone viral which has caused her to gain a big following, and now people regularly watch her content,” Miltner says. “I think people liked how they could relate to her content and found it funny.”

When Ke first went viral, she had a steep increase in followers, but now it has leveled out to gaining a handful of followers every day. Altogether, she has gained 10.9 million likes on her videos. 

In June, Ke went viral again when a video of her counting $150 worth of coins received 1.6 million likes. 

Her most recent viral video was posted on Aug. 9. The TikTok, which has over four million likes, features Ke’s traumatic experience with a car flood. 

“I come up with my ideas when something interesting happens to me,” Ke says. “I don’t like posting dancing videos or anything, I like to post stuff that happens to me in real life.” 

Although there aren’t any TikTok celebrities who follow Ke, several verified viral users like @samvicchiollo@joshhewitt@alyssamckayyy, and @jojothejetplane have interacted with her account. 

As for her future in social media, Ke does not see herself pursuing it as a career unless it is incorporated with her journalism degree. 

Being a TikTok star and full-time student puts Ke in somewhat uncharted waters, but she always makes sure that her following never gets in the way of her academics and goals. 

Person 1: This song slaps.

Person 2: Your mom slaps.

Person 1: Thank you, my mom is a kind and wonderful lady.

 Person 1: I’m so sick of alcohol.

Person 2: I don’t know, I’m getting stronger every day. I love it.

Person 1: Do you do the vegan wrap here?

Person 2: We can do the chicken wrap with no cheese?

Person 1: I’ll take the Beyond Burger please. 

Person 1: Oh my God! I feel like I know you somehow…

Person 2: Yeah, we went to high school together. 

Person 1: Oh! *walks off*

Guy 1: Is the black market even real? Has anyone ever been on it?

Guy 2: I tried once but I couldn’t figure out how to get on.

Guy 1: I stayed up until 2 am watching Disney plus

Guy 2: I told my girlfriend I fell asleep but I was actually watching the Mandalorian.

Girl 1: How long have you guys been dating?

Girl 2: Since the summer, well actually for like two years but it’s a long story.

Girl 1: Who are you looking for?

Girl 2: This guy, wait I found him. Fanny pack boy. He flipped off my professor after a test and ran out of the classroom.

Girl 1: How did you choose KU? 

Girl 2: Honestly, I flipped a coin. 

Boy 1: Did I tell you? I think I had a threesome this weekend.

Boy 2: Woah, hold up. You think?

Boy 1: I was born a Phi Delt.

Boy 2: Please don’t ever say that again.

Girl 1: How do you get your boobs to look like that?

Girl 2: I don’t ever wear a bra? I don’t know. 

Girl 1: I just really want a guy to bend me over you know?

Girl 2: How do you know? You’re a virgin!

Guy: Sometimes I wish I could just be a dog and sleep all day. 

Girl: You wake up at like three every day. 

Guy: I know.

Girl: So…

Guy: So does that make me a dog or something?

Girl 1: I wish I was a little bit taller.

Girl 2: I wish I was balder.

Girl 1: I wish I had a...wait, wait, wait balder?

Guy 1: Let’s slap dicks

Guy 2: You ever pee and it feels like throwing up?

Woman 1: *holding baby* He would have been safer at the Hawk

Woman 2: Oh absolutely.

Girl 1: I would never date that guy.

Girl 2: Well, it depends how much money he has.

Girl 1: I’m going to the doctor to see if I have bronchitis before I hook up with him again.

Girl 2: Yeah that’s smart so you don’t give it to anyone else. 

Girl 1: No I mean I want to make sure I infect him.

Guy 1: I'm cutting some of my unnecessary costs, starting with Juuling.

Guy 2: Ight man, good luck.

Guy 1: Actually I might just start chewing

Guy 1: How was work?

Guy 2: My manager was chastising me for not dressing up in a Halloween costume, she doesn’t understand I’m strictly here to get paid.

Guy 1: I am so tired of this week, man

Guy 2: Dude it’s Monday

Guy 1: I know

Person#1: I want to be on the first ship to mars

Person#2: Not me, I doubt they have Wi-Fi

Perons#1: Yeah but at least they’re evolving up there. We’re all just devolving.

Girl 1: Um, I don’t eat pig.

Girl 2: You eat bacon all the time, bitch.

Guy 1: You better get going. 

Guy 2: Yeah, see ya. I’m off to get some Adderall.

Girl 1: Are you home right now?

Girl 2: Yeah, why?

Girl 1: I bought a cat

Girl 1: I just don't understand what fishing is for.

Girl 2: I don't know. Food, maybe?

Guy: I’m just gonna have to like carry an entire box of spiders up the hill tomorrow.

Girl: What?

Guy: Yeah, just like a hundred spiders in a box.

Guy 1: Sometimes ya just gotta give yourself a haircut.

Guy 2: Dude, you shaved half your head. That’s not a haircut, that’s a mess.

Girl 1: Can you eat fruit raw?

Girl 2: How else are you supposed to eat it?

Girl: That class is killing us. ​But they say rest is for the dead.

Guy: Well, at least we'll be rested.

Girl: She's not in class this semester

Guy: Maybe she's dead

Girl: Or studying abroad