In 2023, TikTok was the gift that kept on giving. There wasn’t a dull moment on the video-sharing platform, which provided users with witty content and inescapable trends that landed on everyone’s FYP (that stands for ‘For You Page’ for those unfamiliar with the jargon).
Among the skits, recipes, and songs that were impossible to forget, TikTok became a place where users could find a community for everything – we have Gen-Z to thank for that.
TikTok recently released its annual ‘Year on TikTok’ report to shed light on this year’s highlights, and some of them are weirder than you think. The standout moments of 2023 show that TikTok is the go-to place on social media for all sorts of random content – and a lot has been shared over the last 12 months.
We’ve had the pleasure of consuming a hybrid outpouring of educational content, pop culture updates, and oddly satisfying videos that kept us scrolling for hours on end. Thanks to TikTok, I could tell you about everything from Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, to what recipes you can and can’t make with cottage cheese.
If you’re not yet caught up with the culture of video-sharing platforms or are a user who didn’t get a full taste of the weirdness that was TikTok 2023, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most memorable content from the past year. Here’s your quick run-down of the entertaining, and bizarrely amusing, videos that made it into our feed.
‘Only on TikTok’
There’s no denying that TikTok is entertaining us with material that you won’t find on other video-sharing platforms.
2023 was ‘The Year of the Girl’, specifically the rising ‘girl dinner’ trend, which ushered in a comedic bandwagon that almost everyone jumped on. The #girldinner community reached a huge 2.5 billion views in total, with creators coming together to share meals they’d consider culinary delicacies. The best part about #girldinner is that they were never actual ‘dinners’; rather they were amalgamations of different snacky foods piled on one plate. Combine foods as random as cheese and crackers, watermelon, and black olives on a plate, and there you have it: girl dinner.
The obsession with Wes Anderson on TikTok highlighted the Gen-Z obsession with aesthetically pleasing cinema. Anderson’s notorious cinematic style was adopted by creators in 2023 through a trend where people would capture themselves as if they were in a scene from one of his movies. It quickly became a creative way for TikTokers to do everything from documenting a trip to Spain to romanticizing a daily walk in the park.
Our ‘For You Faves’
Everyone’s FYP is designed so that content is tailored to users’ interests. TikTok’s algorithm is one of the smartest in social media, but there’s always that select few videos that manage to make it onto a vast majority of feeds.
While the ASMR – autonomous sensory meridian response – trend isn’t for everyone (me, I’m that everyone), it proved to be an acquired taste that kept cropping up on everyone’s feed in 2023. This year, ASMR diverted from its standard form – tapping hard objects next to a microphone to omit crisp and spine-chilling sounds – to instead using… fried chicken.
TikToker @thezachchoi was no stranger to the FYP, garnering millions of views and likes on his recipes. Combining elements of step-by-step recipes and the ASMR genre, Choi started a craze that brought two types of popular content into one video.
His unique approach to ASMR creation took us through each step of the cooking process, captivating the attention of viewers with up-close and satisfyingly crunchy sounds of sautéing, frying, and assembling food. It’s safe to say that the hype around fried chicken and bubbling oil audio was not on anyone’s 2023 bingo card.
TikTok gets educational, and ‘FoodTok’
The age of social media has everyone saying, ‘Don’t believe everything you see online’. Ironically, in the context of that statement, TikTok saw a demand for educational content that you don’t get in a typical classroom.
TikTok was a place where niche educational facts rose to the surface; ones that made you scratch your head and make you think, ‘Huh’. @rescuerestore rose to popularity with their antique restoration content and pencil-sharpening history lessons, while Mr. Bean lookalike @mrbeandamatematica taught us tips and tricks on how to make tedious math problems a little easier.
My Antique Pencil Sharpener Collection PART 1♬ original sound - Rescue & Restore
Food is a genre that is featured in millions of TikTok videos every day, and 2023 saw imaginative recipes attracting major attention – with a particular trend being cottage cheese recipes. Users quickly followed suit with the hype in light of rising ‘healthy food hacks’ that circulate the video-sharing app. Thanks to this, TikTok has opened the door for emerging recipe trends.
One of the great things about TikTok is that you never know what content you’ll be on the receiving end of – and the rise of cottage cheese recipes is a perfect example, with it becoming the number one food trend on TikTok in 2023.
COTTAGE CHEESE EDIBLE COOKIE DOUGH. I’m unwell, I know, but I need a steady stream of sweets throughout the day and lots of protein so I’m actually vvvvvvvv into a few spoons of this magic whenever my sweet tooth is acting up!! Very easy! Don’t try to bake it! Hope y’all are getting swole!!!! 🥰🥰🥰🥰 Cottage Cheese Edible Cookie Dough 1 pound low-fat cottage cheese 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups almond flour 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder 1 cup dark chocolate chips In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla, then purée until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the almond flour and protein powder until well incorporated, then fold in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.♬ original sound - Jake Cohen
TikTok’s annual report reveals that it’s becoming an increasingly influential platform, and 2023’s trends show that its capacity to encompass different genres of content is growing rapidly. From now on, the trends are only going to get weirder.
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Rowan is an Editorial Associate and Apprentice Writer for TechRadar. A recent addition to the news team, he is involved in generating stories for topics that spread across TechRadar's categories. His interests in audio tech and knowledge in entertainment culture help bring the latest updates in tech news to our readers.