TikTok’s most popular trends of 2023 – from the Roman Empire to Hot Girl Summer | Science & Tech News

TikTok has released its list of most viewed trends in 2023 among its over one billion users.

The social media network’s most popular trends have amassed more than 53.6 billion views worldwide.

Users and non-users alike may be hard-pressed to name them all – or comfortably explain how they work.

Here’s a look what each of them are.

The aged filter

While we don’t know exactly how many views aged filter TikToks have, we know that it’s been used for 24.6m videos across the world.

The app harnesses AI technology to give you an eerie look at your future through your own face.

It was nothing new in concept; Snapchat made a similar filter years ago, and apps offering virtual ageing services were available for download well over a decade ago.

But TikTok users this year were particularly impressed – and perhaps slightly alarmed – by how much the technology had progressed.

Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian were two of its highest-profile users.

“I don’t like it,” 25-year-old millionaire Jenner repeated as she looked at the newly-formed lines covering her face on the screen.

“I look good,” sister Kim said while laughing at herself in a separate video.

Bombastic side eye

Bombastic side eye – or ‘criminal offensive side eye’ – has become a staple of the internet after relatively unknown content creator Malaika Norman used the words in a post that subsequently blew up.

The side eye is a form of subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) judgement.

If you’re a receiver of the side eye treatment, its user, whether they are a stranger, a friend or, as in some TikToks, a pet, is essentially saying: “What’s the matter with you?”

Norman made that TikTok in response to a different TikTok she saw, in which someone had played out a (hopefully) fictional scenario where they saw someone attractive walking down the street, only to later realise it was their own brother.

“Ok, bombastic side eye,” Norman exclaimed during an interview with the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

“Because that’s a very strange thing to do!”

The Roman Empire

“How often do you think about the Roman Empire?”

It’s the question that inspired this massive trend to take off, particularly in Britain, with most videos aimed at asking men the vital question.

The TikTok trend saw women ask the men in their lives, seemingly out of nowhere, how frequently they find themselves thinking about the empire which ruled ancient Rome.

The general consensus for gentlemen both young and old seems to be – an awful lot.

It became such a prominent topic that even respected historian Dame Mary Beard weighed in on why it took over the internet.

Yearbook photobooth

This trend, yet again powered by AI, gave TikTokers of all ages the ability to live out their high school yearbook dreams.

It took whatever face you put into it and slotted it into a 90s style yearbook with more than 60 different personas; a spectrum ranging from dorky bookworm to athletic jock.

Wes Anderson

Texan film director Wes Anderson has had nothing short of an iconic career in Hollywood, with deeply stylised modern classics like Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Asteroid City, to name a few.

Wes Anderson at the venice film festival
Image:
Wes Anderson at the Venice Film Festival

His films are so stylised, in fact, that TikTokers began turning their lives into scenes that could be slotted into them with ease.

Perhaps we’re being a little generous to TikTok users – Anderson’s work is highbrow and no doubt takes an astonishing amount of work to pull off.

Some of these TikToks, though – which adopt the director’s use of people standing awkwardly in frame, autumnal colour palates, whimsical music and yellow text overlay – easily could have fooled us.

Girl dinner/boy dinner

Have you ever got to the end of a long, challenging day and decided to simply grab some cheese from the fridge and pick at it alongside some bread?

Maybe you just fancied some fruit and a little bowl of popcorn? Or some uncooked veg and houmous.

If that’s the case, congratulations: you’ve mastered the ‘girl dinner’.

Simply put, this massive trend details how women sometimes opt for an easy, stress free snack or two instead of cooking a challenging, all-out dinner.

The trend sounds harmless, but it was making headlines during its peak in the summer, with critics pointing out that girl dinners are often too low calorie to be considered nutritious.

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If a small, random, spontaneous little meal neatly plucked from the fridge or snack drawer is a girl dinner, can you guess what a boy dinner is?

Singer-songwriter Arkane Skye summed it up with his viral post, which got over a million likes. He can be seen entering his absolutely filthy bedroom and lifting his bedsheets to reveal a greasy pizza box, filled with a few leftover slices and smeared in mayonnaise.

“Same and opposite energy as girl dinner,” one commenter concluded.

Hot girl summer

Hot girl summer is a trend that can be traced back to American rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who released the hit tracks Hot Girls and Hot Girl Summer in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Megan Thee Stallion at GQ's Men of the Year Party. Pic: AP
Image:
Megan Thee Stallion. Pic: AP

The 28-year-old star explained the phenomenon to The Root in 2019, saying: “It’s just basically about women – and men – just being unapologetically them. You definitely have to be a person that can be the life of the party.”

Nowadays, the hot girl summer trend picks up in the lead-up to the hottest months of the year – and 2023 was no exception.

People posted TikTok videos to joke about restricting their diets to accommodate for their hot girl summer, give advice on how to make the most of their hot girl years and many simply posted about the kind of fun they were already having.

Delulu

Simply put, this is the hashtag you put on a TikTok that outlines how delusional – aka “delulu”- you are.

The TikTok at the top of this trend cooks up a scenario in which a man has stopped responding to texts from a woman, presumably one he is in a relationship with.

The woman subsequently pulls up a CCTV feed from 36 cameras, insinuating that she is tracking the man’s every move.

Relatable, right?

Beige flag, red flag, green flag

You’ve probably heard the term “red flag” in your everyday life.

It’s the go-to term for a warning sign; Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “a flag used as a sign of danger.”

TikToks generally use the term red flag in relation to dating. One of your red flags, for example, could be that you use TikTok far too often.

A green flag, then, is fairly self-explanatory – it’s a positive trait.

The beige flag phenomenon, however, is far less clear-cut. It seems to detail traits people have that aren’t quite red flags, but are perhaps slightly unusual or off-putting.

Some of the ones featured on TikTok’s beige flag filter, which predicts what the user’s own beige flags are, range from simply “always cold” to “looks better in person” and “picky eater”.


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