Atlanta/ Fun & Entertainment
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Published on June 09, 2024
Georgia TikTok Influencers Rise Above Controversy to Foster Community Connections and SupportSource: Unsplash/ Tara Clark

In Georgia, the tick-tock of TikTok's clock is resonating through every corner of the state, mirroring the beat of the nation. The app is a stage for dance, a classroom for life lessons, a launchpad for entrepreneurs – and now, a political football. The U.S. government is eyeing TikTok warily over privacy concerns, while the content – a kaleidoscope of race, LGBTQ perspectives, and sexual topics – spurs debates from the conservative quarters.

However, Georgia's TikTok creators aren't just scrolling past the controversy; they’re doubling down on their digital presence. Despite the government's furrowed brows and the possibility of a ban, these influencers stay committed, making waves online and offline. As one user puts it, per a WABE report, "There are millions of people out there just like me that, you know, can relate to exactly what I’m posting, and that I think is the best feeling in the world."

Comedian Nick Tigges is one such influencer, whose stand-up on living with autism isn't just a hit but also a form of digital therapy for many. After his diagnosis at 30, Tigges found his voice in stand-up, and TikTok became his megaphone, drawing 10,000 followers and million views. "I hope with telling these jokes and promoting this content, [it] can be reassuring to those in my situation ... basically [allowing them to find] the silver lining in situations that are not great," Tigges told WABE.

In the grassroots grooves of Southwest Atlanta, TikTok is also a beacon for benevolence. At The Grocery Spot, a community-run nonprofit offering free groceries, co-founder Giovanni Yaquinto and his team have leveraged social media to not only raise awareness but also to fuel their operations financially. When an electricity bill north of $2,000 hit, a simple call-to-action post resulted in an avalanche of shares and small donations. "We have no government assistance, so the majority of the money we make to buy groceries and keep the store open are small donations by normal people. It’s not millionaires supporting us, it’s $5, $10 donations from people in our community," Yaquinto revealed in a conversation with WABE.