The Best TikTok Trends Of 2021

TikTok seems more popular than ever, thanks largely to a year of self-isolation and quarantine for users around the world. After all, watching and making short videos to fit trending hashtags is an easy and entertaining way to pass the time when you're stuck indoors or alone, and some have even found ways to make revenue from the popular app.

TikTok videos continue to deliver entertaining, insightful, and educational content, so it should come as no surprise the app originally designed in China is downloaded more than Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, according to TechCrunch

Whether you're a regular user or casually familiar with TikTok, it's hard not to notice trends on this social media app. While 2020 saw TikTok users baking bread, sharing their political views, playing with their pets, and sharing ways to make money that are supposedly so easy they seem illegal, 2021's trends — so far — seem to be more heartwarming, encouraging, and funny. Aside from the pencil bun hack and DIY tips, check out these TikTok trends.

Teachers made home-schooling a cool for everyone

The hashtag #TeachersofTikTok was started by the verified @tiktokorgood account, in which TikTok creates and challenges users to share their own stories using hashtags meant to be encouraging or positive. 

After many parents were forced to homeschool or participate in virtual schooling in 2020, parents and students alike had a new appreciation for educators. With 9.5 billion views, the hashtag had its big surge in late 2020, and students shared stories of gratitude for the teachers who helped them overcome learning disabilities, bullying, and other obstacles. Teachers themselves got in on the action, uploading hilarious videos of themselves at home enjoying quarantine student-free or poking fun at their teaching methods. Many shared teaching hacks to help parents, proving they are truly heroes.

Of course, social media always breeds trolls, so some used the hashtag to share their worst teacher stories, highlighting teachers they didn't appreciate or who had traumatized them, too. When all was said and done, #TeachersofTikTok carried into 2021 as the social media app's most popular hashtag, and new videos continue to be uploaded every day. 

Can you fight your 2018 self? TikTok wants to know

One of the most fun trends on TikTok in 2021 has been the hashtag #2018vs2021. The trend poses the question: who would win in a fight between yourself from 2018 or 2021? 

User videos have ranged from hilarious to sentimental, with users from the trans community proudly showing their gender transformations or those in the LGBTQ community envisioning their closeted selves fighting their out-and-proud versions. Many video creators claim their 2018 versions would wreck their 2021 counterparts, displaying younger photos of themselves made up for a night on the town versus images of their sloppier selves now performing such mundane tasks as knitting. 

With 377 million views, the 2018 vs 2021 challenge doesn't seem to be loosing steam, with new videos being uploaded daily. Whether you feel stronger having survived a worldwide pandemic or look back on your younger self with fondness, there's still plenty of time to share your 2018 vs 2021 video to TikTok.

Users are showing off their COVID-19 vaccination badges

Another hashtag created by @TikTokForGood is #VaccinatedFor, and users are taking the social media app up on its challenge. With almost 149 million views, videos have shown users showing off their vaccine bandages and cards while detailing personal stories of why they wanted to be vaccinated. 

One user shared a video of their baby and dog, writing "I get #vaccinatedfor moments like this with my littlest best friend." Broadway Fit Coach Joe Rosko shared a video of dancers in masks preparing for their return to Broadway shows. Another user shared an emotional tribute to the husband she lost to COVID-19, encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Videos claim numerous reasons — from wanting to see family to hopes of traveling — making it clear that 2021 has brought a level of optimism to those who've been social distancing and self-isolating per CDC guidelines. No matter what your reason is for getting vaccinated, TikTok wants to hear about it.

Asian-American and Pacific Islanders are speaking up against hate

The hashtag #HateIsaVirus was started by the nonprofit organization of the same name to mobilize social media users and activists to fight racism and hate. The hashtag saw a rise in uploads following attacks on members of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in 2021. 

Studies have found that anti-Asian sentiment is a growing threat in the United States following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CNN, and many Asians uploaded video testimonials sharing their fears and personal stories. Other marginalized users latched onto the hashtag, too, as Blacks, Muslims, and members of the LGBTQ community used the hashtag to share personal stories of being victimized.

With 79.4 million views, the videos have provided an outlet for underrepresented people to share their thoughts, stories, and tips for better relations. Some videos have captured violence on camera and uploaded them in small clips to illustrate the dangers some people are facing, proving TikTok isn't only for entertainment. It can be a powerful tool for social issues, too.

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.