"Mutuals" Basically Means Online "Friends" โ€” Mainly on Social Media Platforms

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Feb. 24 2021, Updated 10:42 a.m. ET

TikTok users
Source: TikTok

Cardi B recently took to Twitter because she was unsure of some social media lingo. And while she's one of the most popular artists in the world right now who's managed to do tremendous things for her career, not just in terms of music but now acting, she still felt a little self-conscious asking strangers what "4K meant." The internet was kind to answer her, so don't feel shy if you want to ask: "What does mutuals mean on TikTok?"

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What does "mutuals" mean? The term isn't just used on TikTok.

The word essentially refers to your online "friends" whom you mostly interact with over social media, or other internet communication services. Probably the most important distinction between a mutual and someone who just incessantly floods your DMs online is that mutuals follow each other back, intoning that the two people appreciate one another's content and/or posts.

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If you check out Twitter, you'll notice a recurring trend of people calling on "mutuals" to help further stan a musician or artist, or for a specific tweet to get a certain number of retweets or replies so it could trend. One may argue that someone who allows you, unchallenged, to dedicate all of your time to stanning celebrities on social media for hours, is probably not a friend at all, but that's why the term's "mutual." You could both participate in some mutually insane behavior.

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Tons of popular TikTokers/YouTubers are "mutuals" with each other IRL.

A popular trend of social media personalities is to combine their powers to help one another attain sizable followings. Basically, what you have is a modern-day popular frat/sorority: a bunch of 20-somethings rent out gorgeous houses that they all room in together and create content. When it comes to TikTok, you'll often have a bunch of people gesticulating while wearing trendy street wear while a popular song blasts over their video.

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What are we supposed to be watching here? Just a bunch of mutuals vibing? And does "vibing" mean looking at the camera every two seconds to make sure that you're in frame and everyone who's about to watch your impending clip needs to know how much fun you're having?

Because TikTok and other social media platforms use particular terms for different contexts, it's got people second-guessing a lot of common words and phrases when they see it online. Like CEO, which stands for chief executive officer of a business or corporation. Well if you've seen CEO on TikTok and had doubts as to what people could be referring to, don't worry, there's no deeper or hidden meaning behind the acronym, it means the same thing on TikTok as it does in reality.

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But that doesn't mean videos hashtagged with the term really have anything to do with, you know being a chief executive officer of a company. So maybe we're all missing something after all. Can you find a common theme between them?

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