HotToks: TikTok Shop, 'O Saki Saki,' & Workfluencing
Last updated on
September 18, 2023
By: Vivian Zhou
Welcome back to HotToks, where we explain 'the why' behind each viral TikTok trend, tap into key cultural moments, cover app updates, and share how to plan your TikTok marketing strategy. This edition we discuss the new announced feature TikTok Shop, how the 'O Saki Saki' dance sparked larger conversations about appropriation, and workfluencers doling out career advice.
TikTok Shop Enters E-Commerce
In preparation for the upcoming holiday (and, in turn, gifting and consumption) season, TikTok quietly launched an e-commerce feature in the app that competes with Amazon. TikTok Shop, the company’s newest in-app feature, began its official testing in the U.S. this week but has already launched in the UK and Indonesia. The feature allows users to purchase items directly from inside the app, and U.S. American merchants can now apply to sell on TikTok Shop. Remember how jobs for fulfillment centers were floating around people’s LinkedIn profiles? Those job postings are still alive and well. And TikTok spokesperson Laura Perez officially confirmed that the new TikTok Shop feature is indeed being tested in the US. Social media is the new hot destination for holiday shopping. Consuming is now as easy as the lift of a finger…literally.
Personally, I'm absolutely guilty of an impromptu, impulsive, shop-while-scroll moment, but this new feature is feeling like a fever dreamish, ‘TikTok Ate The Internet’ moment to me. Wbu?
'O Saki Saki' Trend Goes Viral for the Wrong Reasons
Recently, a song from the Batla House movie called ‘O Saki Saki’ has been very popular among the South Asian community. And the TikTok dance to go with it, featuring the movie actress Nora Fatehi, is finding virality on the platform, with many people posting TikTok videos of themselves dancing to the song since the film’s release. The original #osakisakivideo posted by Nora has almost 70M views on the platform.
But of course, on a platform like TikTok, the dance has found a life of its own. It’s become popular among a newer group of creators, mainly white, who have changed up a few steps in the traditional dance routine. These trendified versions of the original routine are used alongside sped-up versions. The different variations of this dance have raised eyebrows from South Asian creators, who say that some of these videos inappropriately sexualize the dance routine (and, in turn, their culture), stirring up an even bigger conversation about Western societies fetishizing South Asian culture.
“The original dance was not meant to be sexualized, but rather ‘energetic.’” - Naomi Namboodiripad.
Naomi Namboodiripad, an Indian dance creator on the platform with over 331K followers specializing in Indian classical dance forms, notes that “the original dance was not meant to be sexualized, but rather ‘energetic.’” When a non-South Asian performs the “body roll”-heavy dance, she believes they are “fetishizing Bollywood and South Asians in general.” She said it’s disappointing that there was no recognition of where the dance originally came from and that this is a testament to how “Western society disproportionately picks up on elements of South Asian culture that can be exoticized,” like sparkly Bollywood film dresses.
Across the platform, most top-performing TikToks featuring the dance and under the “O Saki Saki” audio still seem to be created by non-South Asian creators.
Workfluencers Put in The Work on TikTok
Maybe you’re looking for a career change, need some advice on how to negotiate your salary, or just having a plain old rough time at work. The bad news is that you’re not having the best time at work. But the good news is, you don’t have to look far to turn that frown upside down. It’s right in your pants pocket!
Step aside, self-help books, we’re in the era of the ‘TikTok Workfluencer.’ The content produced by “workfluencers” are mainly targeted at millennials and Gen Z women, who desperately look for genuine advice to combat their work woes and are willing to listen to anyone placing themselves in a position of authority and credibility. Who are these #workfluencers, and what authority do they even have? Talk about #girlboss reincarnated. She’s now the career coach. Traditionally, career coaches have existed for ages for those who seek professional help and advice. But they are professionals, trained in coaching, and counseling, and then certified by coaching institutions. All of that goes out the window if it’s on social media, apparently.
And the numbers back it up. The hashtag #careertiktok, where creators (over)share about their jobs, has more than 1.6B views. People are getting super candid about their day-to-day work lives, and how they’re feeling, and even shedding light on taboo issues, such as pay transparency and racial discrimination in the workplace. Why share so much? Every creator has a different reason for being vulnerable about their jobs and work life on the platform. But Cece Xie, a TikTok ‘workfluencer’ with over 410K followers now, whose TikTok post blew up during the pandemic, garnering more than 940K views, said she wanted to “flatten the playing field for first-generation lawyers like herself.”
While we still want to look for professional career coaches with qualifications to help us get out of our work slump, maybe in the meantime, the TikTok workfluencer’s advice isn’t half bad. After all, solidarity and finding community is what social media’s for.