My TikTok Journey

Marcus DiPaola
2 min readDec 27, 2020



Please read about my pre-TikTok life first. A link will redirect you back here at the end of the article. Here’s a link to my TikTok.

I got addicted to TikTok in February 2020 when I started watching YouTube compilations of the best COVID TikToks. I started watching TikToks using my desktop computer.

I added consulting for a digital media firm to my freelance work, which needed me to move to D.C. but I was miserable, and I eventually decided to take them off my client list. I gave my contractually obligated 30 days notice, bought, then started interviewing TikTokers I thought were interesting.

I downloaded TikTok on my phone for the first time in September 2020. I wanted to better understand what the people I was interviewing went through in order to ask better questions.

I made a couple videos trying to get comfortable on-camera again. Being comfortable on-camera is a skill that needs to be exercised. I used to work in TV, and being on-camera is a lot like riding a bike. Once you’re good at it, you don’t really forget how to do it, you’re just a little rusty if you haven’t done it in a while.

I started by teaching teenage boys about consent within relationships, and about open records requests. I got a lot of DMs along the lines of “I confessed my love for her and now she’s dry texting and leaving me on delivered, I’m so confused, why is this happening??” That’s about when I stopped answering most of my DMs and started covering the predictive models based on polling about the presidential election.

A couple hundred thousand people decided to follow me on election night 2020, and doing the news on TikTok was fun, so I decided to keep going.

I grew fast by being vicious about guarding my audience’s time from dumb shit they don’t absolutely need to know. If there’s nothing big happening, I don’t post. I’m aggressive covering stories that might be big but could also turn out to be nothing. I simplify politics by focusing on the actual real-life result, skipping process talk, and my scripts use a unique writing style.

I moved back to New Jersey to live in my mom’s basement, because I didn’t want to exhaust my savings on paying rent in a D.C. apartment. That brings us to today. I’m still doing TikTok for fun from my mom’s basement while I wait for the COVID vaccine and do freelance work.

I launched a Patreon in February to help me pay for equipment upgrades, living expenses, and travel expenses. My primary source of income is still my freelance work. It will take at least a couple years to fully replace my freelance work for news outlets with my Patreon income. If my spreadsheets are accurate, and they’re probably not, I’m looking at December 2024 at the earliest.



Marcus DiPaola