Empowering Strory. Ralfs
TikTok account: @raalfsk
the author of the interview: Anzhelika Zuba
translator: Olesia Zhelezniak
-Hello! Tell me about yourself a bit. What are you doing in life?

-My name is Ralfs, I am 17. I am still in high school. Still, I am studying in online school, not in the regular one. On a regular basis I am micro influences, I would say. I make content for my tiktok profile as well as for my Instagram. I also work on European Hit Radio and make content for them, so yeah, on my free time I read books, go to gym and that's it.

-Nice, tell me more about your tiktok channel. What is the idea and the content you are creating?

-My main goal is to entertain people, make them happy. I try to give them a little originality from me. I can say that I do something that others wouldn't do in Latvia. I usually make comedy and lifestyle content to make people happy. That's my main goal. I talk about mental health on my social media and discuss different topics, when something happens.

-So, all the actual things that are going around?


-That's amazing! But why did you decide to create your tiktok account?

-At first it was for fun, actually. I didn't even know anything about what it means when you decide to create content daily. I was just playing around, doing different things and then instantly "blew up" for Latvia. After some time, when I started getting it, I started making new friends, who were in this content-creating industry and then they just explained how it works and I started getting deeper into that.

-Did someone inspire you to become such a creator?

- When I started to do that everyone, including my friends, were joking and saying: "Oh you are going to be tiktoker or something?". I guess I am now and it went very naturally. I just started to create content every day and then, after a month or two, I started seeing myself as a content creator. So, talking about inspiration, I made a lot of friends, who have already made a lot of contents. They inspired me to do something similar to what they do but in my own way.

-Cool! But what is tiktok for you? If you needed to define it, how would you define the concept it brings to people?

-For a content creator it can be a coping mechanism or even a platform where random people, not the one that know you, can see you. Personally I use it when I want to relax and lift my mood. But sometimes I want to see something deeper than that. I am trying to be varied because sometimes you want to laugh and sometimes there are things that are needed to be talk about. For example, mental health and other problems we face every day. So, this is a platform, where everyone can find something to relate to. It is possible for everyone.

-That's true. So how do you think, what is the success of tiktok? Why is it becoming so popular, especially among young people?

- I think it's because there are mainly short videos so it is entertaining and it doesn't take much time. Of course, you get easily distracted by that and spend there a lot of time…

-I need to admit that yes, haha

-Yeah, but it seems like something easy and mood-lifting. The thing is that once you post something there you can get seen by anyone. The algorithms are better than for any other social media platform.

-That's true. And about Latvian tiktok community. How would you describe it? What is that?

-There are many sides of it. One circle is actually my friend group, because I would say that over a year I have 5 or 6 tiktok friends. Some of them have stopped posting tiktoks, some of them still make content every day. So, it is mostly about being chill and funny, but at the same time, we talk about some problems or have some discussions. There are also humor tiktoks such as POV's (points of view), where different funny situations are described. And then there is that part, which I am actually sad about. There people who don't know how to use the social media and there are a lot of these people in Latvia. They get a lot of likes and go viral, but I'm scared of it because it's like a lot of people who are watching them, are doing that just to make fun of them. But in general it is mostly the humor part where there are funny videos, POV's and all that stuff. Overall, Latvian tiktok community is mostly about fun.

-Okay. I guess it is actually a part of us so that's why people like to watch this kind of content or it somehow can define us.

-Tiktok is a place where you can, you know, escape from reality…


-So, when you are escaping your life, which is probably work, school, studies, a lot of noise. Everything that comes with it: problems and many other things is just something that you want to escape and relax from. It is also because people are addicted to phones and if you are spending that much time on your phone you choose to have fun and get those emotions in tiktok. But that's also the reason why I am trying to show my life on my tiktok page sometimes. I try to be productive and find different ways to get better, improve and grow. That's why I like my content to be diverse. Because yes, I am funny, I can make you laugh, but when I am not doing that I also do stuff so you should do the same.

-It sounds like a motivation for young people. That's cool. How do you think our Latvian tiktok community differs from any other European and USA tiktok communities? What define us from them? If you have any thought about any English content, not Latvian.

-I think that Latvian tiktok content is different. First of all, most of the content that gets popular in Latvia is a content where there is Latvian language or I something is written in Latvian. I think Latvians more tends to talk and to be funny. For example, even though they also have humor tiktok, in USA or any other county, there are lot of people getting popular for looking good, dancing and doing something creative. You can also do that in Latvia, but the chance that you will "blow up" and get a lot of followers is low. I don't know, maybe it's just algorithm, or maybe it's just Latvians.

-But maybe it will change in the future.

-Maybe, yeah.

-That's cool. How do you see the development of your account as well as overall Latvian community in the near future? Do you want to establish tiktok house or something like that?

-Yeah, but I think it is very difficult because in Latvia you can't get much money exactly from tiktok. In general, tiktok can't be your main job due to the financial situation, but I see improvement. The only thing is that Latvian tiktok is overloaded. For example, a year ago, well, there were like 30-50 people who were posting tiktoks because it was too scary. During the first and second quarantines everyone were at home and a lot of people have started making tiktoks.

-Yeah, exactly.

-At some point, it is still hard for some content creators because it's like you have to stay original but still excel others. But I am happy that everyone is getting out of their comfort zone and start doing what they want to do and feel confident and free about it.

-Yeah, and quality. For example, if you see that there are a lot of mess around you won't have really goof content so you are working on it. It's the development, I think.

-Yeah, it's better for everyone at the end.

-So, maybe to sum up, what will you suggest other younger people, who maybe don't know how to start their tiktok account?

-I would suggest to try everything but find the authenticity to go out with something that is only for you, to show what is unique about you. Don't ever try to be someone else. Be yourself, find your unique side and don't be scared. When people start to overwhelm you, remember that they are just mad that you are doing something. And remember that people, who do that actually help your algorithms. So, it's better for you. Don't let them get into your head!

-It was so inspiring, actually. I even want to start my own account!

the author of the interview: Anzhelika Zuba
translator: Olesia Zhelezniak