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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Best of Aggieland: Aggie TikTok starts new, digital tradition

Following+a+Dec.+7+order+from+Gov.+Greg+Abbott%2C+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+has+begun+compliance+measures+to+ban+TikTok+from+all+university-owned+devices.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Following a Dec. 7 order from Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas A&M has begun compliance measures to ban TikTok from all university-owned devices. 

Making its debut in 2016, TikTok has taken social media by storm and transformed the entertainment industry.
Since its release, many Aggies have taken the university’s traditions online by sharing what it’s like to be a Texas A&M student while slowly building up what they call “Aggie TikTok.” Though this community was not crafted overnight, Aggies such as former student Brittany Tomlinson, Class of 2019, known as “Kombucha Girl” have paved the way.
After posting a video of herself trying a kombucha drink, her comical 20-second video took off, becoming a meme dominating both TikTok and Twitter. Since posting her video in 2019, Tomlinson’s account, @brittany_broski, has grown to 6.4 million followers and 282 million likes.
Tomlinson has led the way for both herself and other Aggies to share their connections worldwide, helping unite current and former students.
The videos can be funny or informative, teaching users how to DIY or learn a skill they may not know, such as agricultural leadership, education and communications graduate student Audrey De La Zerda, or @goldree1, who uses the platform for nail tutorials. De La Zerda said she began her account after her brother encouraged her to share her talents with TikTok.
“I was doing my nails one night and [my brother said I] should post this to TikTok and see how people respond to it, and [it went] really well. It received over 900,000 views,” De La Zerda said. “That started my journey on TikTok, and then if people asked for tutorials on how I did that first manicure, I responded to that and started making more and more tutorials. As I posted more, my followers and views and questions grew.”
Since starting her account in July of 2021, De La Zerda has garnered 21,500 followers and 472,300 likes for her tutorials.
“It’s pretty crazy because it has grown so quickly in less than a year. I just can’t believe it because I’ve always done my nails since like middle school or high school; it’s just a fun thing that I’d like to do,” De La Zerda said. “Getting to share one of my passions and knowing I get to teach people about stuff that I enjoy is really exciting. I have a surreal moment every week like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ It’s grown so big, so fast, and people really enjoy what I share.”
De La Zerda said she has learned a lot about what her followers enjoy viewing and how to make tutorials informative while also interacting with her followers.
“I used to make my videos a little bit longer and draw them out, and then as I’ve learned what people like, I’ve made them a little bit shorter,” De La Zerda said.
While doing her nails, De La Zerda said her followers would occasionally catch a glimpse of her Aggie Ring, which led to many Aggies leaving comments.
“Some people will comment like, ‘Oh, I see your Aggie Ring. I didn’t know you were an Aggie, too. I love following your page, you’ve taught me so much about nails,’” De La Zerda said. “It makes me really happy when I see that.”
Other Aggies, such as sports management senior Hunter Prabhu, or @cstatgrubber, have used their accounts to help support local businesses and inform users about buisnesses they may not know about. In Prabhu’s case, he features locally owned restaurants unique to the Bryan-College Station area.
Coming into college as a freshman, Prabhu said his mother encouraged him to start a food blog, but was not sure he wanted to make a website. So, when TikTok began to grow in popularity, he took his shot.
“TikTok was that perfect platform where I can literally create one-minute videos, just have people watching what I eat, and all these restaurants that can be discovered in conversation that people don’t even know of,” Prabhu said. “The success that has come from it is unbelievable, it just shows how TikTok is just the new wave of social media.”
Since creating his account approximately a year ago, Prabhu has gathered almost 8,100 followers and 52,900 likes and has even been recognized in public.
“The first time I ever got recognized was while I was at work. I work in a country club, and it kind of completely threw me off-guard,” Prabhu said. “It’s honestly pretty cool seeing how I’m kind of College Station-TikTok famous. I love my followers, and I appreciate every single one of them”
Prabhu said he encourages students and residents of the area to support local businesses when choosing a place to eat.
“If you ever need a place to eat, go local,” Prabhu said. “A lot of restaurants and business [owners] are not from College Station, but they come to College Station for opportunity. We have 70,000 students here, and then on top of that, you have all the [permanent] residents. College Station is a great place to start your business, especially if you’re a restaurant.”
With his graduation approaching in May, Prabhu said he hopes to pass the torch to another to continue the account in support of local businesses.
“I’m not going to be in College Station forever, sadly,” Prabhu said. “What I want to do is to pass this along to someone else, someone who’s an Aggie, someone who likes food and who’s willing to carry on the tradition.”

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