Social media platforms seem to have their own vernacular ecosystem. Words take on new meanings that extend far beyond shorthand or acronyms. Sometimes, entirely new words are developed, and other times, longstanding phrases and words take on entirely new meanings in the wake of some sort of viral or cultural phenomenon. Like "satire" on TikTok. What does it mean when someone uses it?
What does "satire" mean on TikTok?
In case you're wondering, no, it's generally not used because someone is rocking a trendy tie-dye sweatsuit and perfect makeup and making a commentary on A Modest Proposal or urging folks to study classical literary works.
The traditional definition of satire is, per Oxford Reference, "The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."
The way it's being employed by many on TikTok currently embodies the spirit of that definition but in different ways.
It's more in line with the Urban Dictionary definition: "The art of sarcasm typically directed from events that take place in the world. Much like a caricature of the human race. Usually, it is done through comedy, but sometimes it is just as serious as the event itself. South Park is known for its satirical episodes."
So how are people using "satire" on TikTok?
In general, folks are using it to shill their comedic skits on the platform. It appears that the #satire hashtag is meant to indicate that someone is promoting something they believe is funny.
Then there are others who use the #satire hashtag to comment on specific cultural trends, like people asking you about your astrological sign.
Again, however, it seems like the majority of users who are implementing the #satire hashtag aren't attempting to make big commentaries on social issues, current events, or political trends. Nor are they poking fun at a pop culture phenomenon or either highlighting the inherent problems with them.
However, there are some who definitely adhere to the more traditional definition of the term. One person recreated a monologue from an angry teacher who just read the note left by the substitute teacher from the previous day about the children who were misbehaving in class, which probably hit home for a lot of viewers.
Some #satire videos appear to roast the ratchet storylines of reality TV series and/or bad made-for-TV movies with salacious premises. All with intentionally bad acting, of course.
The best, however, is when people get super specific about a single topic and then play it all out, completely straitlaced, to the point of insanity. But it helps in driving the point home. In the case of Landon Bullock, he got the message across regarding average hotels very clearly.
Can't wait to go back down to the lobby to re-program my card.