TikTok stars whine about burnout, fight to be relevant: ‘Oh, poor me’

TikTok stars whine about burnout, fight to be relevant: ‘Oh, poor me’

The hardest TikTok trend is staying relevant.

The US is projected to spend over $4 billion on influencer marketing this year, but some social media stars are struggling to keep up and stop their star from burning out.

TikTok and YouTube stars packed the Anaheim Convention Center last weekend for the return of VidCon, a popular conference that connects digital creators with brands and fans.

Social media star Alyssa McKay, 22, told the Hollywood Reporter that she posts across YouTube, YouTube Shorts, Instagram, Reels, TikTok and Snapchat and works vigilantly to be flexible and stay on trend — but she warns it could lead to burnout.

“You have to just constantly be ready to evolve as a creator,” McKay explained. “I started doing [point-of-view videos] and then I started rapping and then I started noticing, OK, my audience isn’t resonating with this anymore. So now it’s all about lifestyle, but I’m sure within six months I’m probably going to be on to something else.

“You can’t try and force something that just isn’t working anymore,” she continued. “That’s hard because that could lead to burnout, trying to constantly think of the next thing, but that’s one of the biggest parts of the job.”

Brittany Tomlinson, a TikTok creator and podcaster known as “Kombucha Girl” who rose to fame after becoming a viral meme in 2019, claims she’s hit burnout several times.

“I’ve hit burnout a few times and that sounds so navel-gazing, like, ‘Oh, poor me.’ But when you think of it, this isn’t a ‘9 to 5,’ ” Tomlinson, 25, said. “This is an ‘all the time.’

“The kicker of the issue, what underlies everything we do, is the minute it stops being fun and I’ve hit that point a few times,” Tomlinson added. “Don’t expect anything from me.”

A 2021 survey from Indeed showed that millennial (59%) and Gen Z (58%) workers were reporting the highest rates of burnout.

A general view of the atmosphere during 2022 VidConAfter a two-year hiatus, VidCon returned with TikTok dethroning YouTube as the title sponsor. Getty Images

TikTok royalty Charli D’Amelio — an 18-year-old star who shot to fame during the pandemic with her TikTok dances — recently lost her crown as the app’s top creator to comedian and former machine operator Khabane Lame, 22.

Speaking at VidCon, D’Amelio said there was “no bad blood” between her and TikTok’s newest star — who boasts 144.7 million followers to D’Amelio’s 142.9 million — and shared advice on how to avoid being “bored” and “trapped.”

“I had No. 1 for two years. I feel like it’s time for someone else to have that spot,” D’Amelio said. “It feels great to know that someone else is getting that spot — someone that is sweet and a good person and loves what they do … I wouldn’t want to hand it over to anyone else.”

The young millionaire warned content creators not to “tie yourself down to anything specific.”

TikTokers Khaby Lame, Alyssa McKay and Charli D'AmelioSome of TikTok’s top stars admit that they struggle with burnout and constantly trying to appease their fans. @khaby.lame; @alyssamckayyy; @charlidamelio

“It’s not worth it to always be forced to do one thing. I feel like if you do that, you can only do that for so long until you get bored of it and you want to switch,” D’Amelio said. “And if you’re so used to only making one type of content, you can feel kind of trapped.”

Since rising to fame with her viral dance clips, D’Amelio has branched out from TikTok with a fragrance, clothing line, Hulu reality show and major brand partnerships.

Marques Brownlee, 28, a popular tech reviewer with more than 15 million subscribers on YouTube, warned that being a digital creator — like many other occupations — wasn’t a sustainable gig.

“A lot of people want to be a professional athlete. But when you look at it, the life cycle of a professional athlete in most sports is fleeting and small,” Brownlee told the Hollywood Reporter.

“You get, like, five years of your prime. If you’re lucky, you play for eight, nine, 10 [years]. If you’re literally LeBron James, you play for 20 years. That’s a short career in most fields.”