Harrison Autman-Springer didn’t intend to become famous on TikTok.
When he opened an account on the burgeoning social media platform last fall, he was just looking to show off his outgoing personality. It was something fun he could do when he wasn’t busy playing basketball, football and running track at White House High School.
Less than a year later, millions of users have resonated with Autman-Springer’s content. His account (@_harrisontochill_) has 624,000 followers and his videos have garnered nearly 10 million likes – much to his surprise.
“I did it for fun at first,” he said. “I used to make jokes like, ‘Why do people make TikToks? They don’t even look cool.’ Then I started seeing people doing funny ones and sports ones.
“Now you see that it’s a big platform for bringing up new artists and actors. It really provides (opportunities) if you think outside the box.”
TikTok, launched in September 2016, is a social networking service dedicated to short videos. Users can make their own dance, lip-sync, comedy or talent clips to entertain their followers and gain new ones.
Autman-Springer tries to post a variety of videos. That has included everything from basketball highlights to dance challenges to his mother berating him for not doing chores.
“I think people enjoy my videos because I’m just being myself,” he said. “That’s the message with my page. I don’t go on the app and try to act like any other TikToker. People like real and authentic videos.”
His most popular clip, posted on Feb. 20, racked up about four million views and 800,000 likes. He made dramatic facial expressions, even crossing his eyes, along with the audio of a rap song.
The audience loved it.
“It’s just goofiness,” he said. “You see it on your page and you’re like, ‘What the heck?’”
TikTok has become more than just a creative outlet for Autman-Springer. It’s also a revenue stream. He said he has made up to $2,000 per month by collaborating with and promoting other artists on his account.
“I know there’s a whole lot of people out there just like me who want to make money off doing funny stuff,” he said. “I’m really just trying to help others out.”
Autman Springer, who graduated from White House on June 25, didn’t take theatre in high school, though he could see himself as an actor or a model. In fact, he won several talent auditions and was set for a modeling interview with H&M before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March.
But he also has a future on the basketball court. Autman-Springer averaged 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists and was named to the All-Sumner County third team as a senior last season. He plans to make his college decision soon.
In the meantime, Autman-Springer is hoping to use his newfound TikTok fame to springboard his other social media accounts. He now has 10,000 followers on Instagram and 600 subscribers on YouTube, where he plans to begin posting longer videos in the future.
Autman-Springer said he prides himself on being different. That strategy has worked on TikTok, and It may even lead to a full-time career in the entertainment industry.
“I’ve been making videos and trying to do something different from everyone else,” he said. “I don’t want to be that dude that does the same videos. I like switching it up and bringing entertainment to the table.”