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

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

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) throws a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series semifinal at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 19, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Aggies defeat Gators 6-0 to advance to first College World Series finals
Kolton Becker, Sports Writer • June 20, 2024

There’s always a first for everything.  For the first time in program history, Texas A&M baseball is headed to the Men’s College...

Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Sixth sense
June 18, 2024
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)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024
Advertisement
Enjoying the Destination
Enjoying the Destination
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life Writer • June 17, 2024

For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved...

Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Viral TikTok creators in Texas A&M’s ‘Hype House’

The+social+media+app%2C+TikTok%2C+has+reached+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+campus+through+students+like+sophomore+Sierra+Grucella+and+freshman+Ben+Hurlburt.
Photo by Photo by Kaylee Cogbill

The social media app, TikTok, has reached Texas A&M’s campus through students like sophomore Sierra Grucella and freshman Ben Hurlburt.

TikTok, a social media app with 500 million active users per month, enables those with an account to watch, duet, share and create short videos between three and 60 seconds.
Living examples of viral notoriety in the community include the six current members of “TAMU Hype House.” This Aggie group, inspired by the TikTok influencer-filled Hollywood mansion of the same name, functions not as a physical house, but as a figurative collaboration opportunity that aims “to make videos together and get more creators involved,” according to founding member and animal science sophomore Sierra Grucella.
Other TikTok stars in the Hype House are Dylan Waggoner (@dylanw19), Taylor Harrison (@tater_tot2000), Andrew Ewing (@redassaggie), Daisy Day Woods (@daisydaywoods) and Ben Hurlburt (@benhurlburt). The group remains open to student auditions.
Grucella, who goes by username @howdy.sierra, has hundreds of thousands of views on her “A&M-focused and wholesome” account, which she started in December 2019.
“The first word that comes to my mind to describe my account is ‘redass,’” Grucella said. “I want my content to be a good representative of A&M. And once people started noticing me, I’ve been careful to make my appearance and the university’s appearance better.”
While Grucella could cite her growing number of followers as her career highlight, she said she finds meaning in smaller-scale instances in which she communicates how valuable her school is.
“My biggest moments of accomplishment so far are always when I get messages from high school seniors that want to go to A&M, maybe they’re waiting for admission, saying that I’ve made them feel closer to the university,” Grucella said. “This just makes me smile. I want to make other people happy to go to attend a university that offers what we have to offer.”
Portraying her admiration of the university through her content, Grucella uses her platform for two main Aggie core values: selfless service, in her eventual charity fundraising goal for the TAMU Hype House, and loyalty, in her frequent usage of the Aggie subcultural lingo.
Sport management freshman Ben Hurlburt, who has 12.6 million likes and 470,000 followers on his TikTok account, is no stranger to the negative side effects of newfound Internet notoriety.
“It can be really creepy to have unrelenting or possessive superfans,” Hurlburt said. “Some girl got my phone number; people know where I am and it can get uncomfortable. I try to keep a low profile.”
TikTok fame, just like traditional celebdom, is built on the foundational commitment of fans, but the widespread glory comes with logistical troubles. Hulburt said on one instance he was stopped five times during his walk to Blocker, which caused him to be tardy for his class.
“The only challenges are the demanding DMs, but overall, TikTok has opened doorways to different and exciting opportunities,” Hurlburt said. “My goal is just to keep growing the account. I go through swings where I’m on fire, consistently creating great videos. I’ve been posting every single day for five months.”
In a UCLA study concerning the impact of likes on the teenage brain, researchers concluded the online influence of peers neurologically alters the decision-making cortex of the mind. While Hurlburt understands the pressure to change his content, he tries to stay true to himself.
“My videos are goofy and clean so that I can be open about who I am online to the greatest number of people,” Hurlburt said. “Though there is a pressure to conform to what my viewers want, I’ve not really had a single type of video or ‘brand.’ I’m just always thinking about allowing my faith and personality to come through.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *