Follow me on a first date: TikTokers share stories of their romantic adventures

Jan 12, 2024
5 minutes to read

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People’s natural curiosity extends to relationships and face-to-face interactions, leading them to eavesdrop on couples’ conversations or seek information about other people’s lives. This curiosity is satisfied by TikTok users who document intimate aspects of their lives, such as dating, by attracting followers on platforms such as TikTok’s “For You” page. Content that reveals a personal experience, even something as personal as a one-night stand, tends to generate more views.

Single vloggers, especially women in their 20s and 30s, have started sharing detailed accounts of their dating experiences, including how they meet their partners and what they expect, and sometimes even secretly film themselves while dating. This trend reflects a shift from the early 2010s, when influencer content focused more on ordinary, everyday experiences.

Today, audiences gravitate towards creators who offer a perspective on life that reflects their own, moving away from the polished, professionally edited content of traditional influencers on platforms like Instagram.

I feel like I’m doing it for the content

Hannah Zaslavski, known on TikTok as the “Girl with 50 First Dates,” took it upon herself to go on 50 first dates, documenting each one on the platform. So far, she has filmed 33 dates, openly sharing her thoughts and experiences. Her candid approach to discussing how she feels about each date has garnered considerable attention, with one video racking up nearly 500,000 views. She admits that it is easier for her to discuss her life online than with people she knows in person.

Similarly, Jasmine Wong Denicke, a Canadian living in London, shares her extensive dating experience on TikTok. Having been on more than 100 dates, including 64 in a year, she admits that her motivation for such frequent dates is fueled in part by the content she provides to her TikTok audience.

These TikTok creators essentially create their own dating shows, doing everything from casting to editing and promotion. They offer a real alternative to popular but often programmed television dating shows, such as Netflix’s Love Is Blind or ITV’s Love Island. While viewers appreciate this authentic content, creators need to be aware of the challenges and potential mental health implications of exposing their online privacy. This begs the question: Should we strive for vulnerability and authenticity online?

I 100 percent wouldn’t go on so many dates if I didn’t write about it.

31-year-old Jasmine Denicke posts her dating experience on TikTok, driven by a desire to change the way dating is portrayed in the media and be more conscious of her personal dating life. She hopes that her openness to dating in her 20s and 30s will inspire her followers, mostly single women in their 20s.

Hannah Zaslavski, also a content creator on TikTok, initially turned to TikTok to explore insecurities in dating. Since then, this platform has boosted her confidence. She ponders whether her dating style has changed because of documenting her experiences or has simply matured over time.

Rihanna Julianna, a 21-year-old content creator based in London, targets her content to women seeking “valuable men,” a term often associated with traditional masculinity and wealth. Julianna considers herself more of a relationship coach, basing her advice on personal experience rather than formal education. Her views, especially on gender roles in dating, are contradictory and contrast with feminist views.

Both Denicke and Zaslavsky face criticism and negativity on TikTok. Denicke often deals with gendered comments about the motives behind her dating, while Zaslavsky has faced the removal of videos due to complaints. Their experience highlights the vulnerability of sharing personal content on TikTok, where it reaches a wide and diverse audience.

I wouldn’t want anyone to watch my video and feel terrible, so I try not to say anything super negative about anyone.

Hannah Zaslavski, a content creator on TikTok, is mindful of the impact her dating videos can have on the people she dates. She avoids negative reviews about her dates so as not to make them uncomfortable. With the growing popularity of her TikTok account, Zaslavski faces a moral dilemma about how to inform her partners about her online activities. She and Jasmine Denicke, another TikToker, usually reveal their presence on TikTok on dates, often receiving positive reviews, although Zaslavski experienced a ghost after such a revelation.

The role of being the “single friend” can be both entertaining and exhausting, and this dynamic is amplified when shared with a vast internet audience. Denike believes in the power of vulnerability, both personally and online. She finds creating and sharing videos about her dating experiences, including rejections, to be therapeutic. The supportive community on TikTok appreciates her honesty and many relate to her experiences, creating a sense of connection among those navigating the complex world of dating.

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