What is TikTok’s new ‘hopecore’ trend and is it exactly what we need right now?

There are a few statements and quotes that crop up a lot in TikTok’s new ‘hopecore’ trend.

Life is beautiful. I’m so proud of you. Relax, keep going. Success is on the other side. You’re doing good. Let go of the stuff from the past. Be kind for no reason…

But, what exactly is it all about, and could TikTok’s latest buzzy hashtag be exactly what we all need right now?

What is TikTok’s hopecore trend?

For India Black, who posts a lot of hopecore content on the video app, the trend is TikTok’s name for videos dedicated to curating messages of optimism.

“It’s where people post content centring around amplifying positive connections; appreciation for the world around them; self-care; making peace with themselves and promoting feelings of hopefulness that can put a stop to a bedtime doom-scrolling session,” says Black.

“Hopecore is a celebration of both little and big things in life, and reminds us that a person’s mindset will boil down to discerning between seeking out the good or the bad in every situation they face, and better days will come out of their choice to seek the good.”

Are there any rules when it comes to hopecore?

There are no concrete rules about how creators should or shouldn’t interact with this wholesome trend.

“The content itself is a combination of this scrapbook-style slide shows of motivational quotes, illustrations, images, poetry and screenshots. The most popular form of hopecore content uses the photo mode feature on TikTok – where you upload up to 35 different images, and which is very static image-led content that provides a slide show of wholesome content,” says Louisa McGillicuddy, the trends lead at TikTok.

“The videos are quite creative and drawn from many different sources. For instance, it could be a text message between you and a friend, or a line from a poem in a book.

“With actual hopecore videos that don’t incorporate photo mode, the most common ones we have seen are quotes from interview clips that are just inspiring and optimistic. This could be old clips with public figures, celebrities, or people who are impressive – for instance, a NASA scientist or a brilliant viral clip from years and years ago.

“But there are a couple of exceptions,” McGillicuddy admits. “Sometimes people could be doing something. There’s one particular video, where someone is going for a run, but the audio was a compilation of great inspiring quotes and moments from interviews. In general, some of the voices that come up repeatedly are people like The Rock, Kevin Hart, and Morgan Freeman, ultimate Hollywood hype men who always give energising quotes in their day-to-day lives.”

When did the trend start to pick up?

Hopecore only recently started to gain traction on TikTok, and there is no sign of it slowing down, McGillicuddy explains.

“Last week, the number of creations was 180,000, but after looking again today, it’s now at 200,000. The fact that there are 20,000 more creations in the space of the week, is crazy.

“And also if you contextualise it with other cores – core is a term widely used (beyond TikTok too) to describe a particular aesthetic or attitude in fashion, beauty, design and more. There are a lot of different #cores that the TikTok community has got involved with over the years, from cottagecore to balletcore, gorpcore and even corecore – it’s much bigger, even though 200,000 may not sound like a lot.

“If you look at Barbiecore – it was all over my ‘for you’ page last year – it’s at 71,000, and balletcore is at 60,000, so it’s a lot bigger than some of these trendy cores that have popped up.”

Why is it proving so popular?

Everyone loves a bit of positivity, don’t they? Plus, with so many scary things happening in the world, and stress levels high, it makes sense people might be turning towards more feelgood messages.

“When you look at the number of likes and comments, you will notice that the saves are high too. It’s not how people typically engage with aesthetics or cores, which might be like a make-up tutorial. They’re interacting with these videos in a very specific way; saving them to come back to when they are feeling down and need a pick me up. It’s almost like stockpiling affirmations,” says McGillicuddy

“Another thing that sets it apart from your usual motivational content – like getting up at 5am, going to the gym and eating your egg whites and vegetables – it’s more about being softer with yourself. They [the posts] are comforting, warm, self-aware and not as intense.”

Black believes hopecore content is definitely what we need right now.

“Through [the] excessive use of social media, our society has seemed to become quite disconnected from the immediate world around them; just look around as you walk or shop or go out for dinner, and you’ll notice just how many people are always on their phones,” says Black.

“I don’t think there will be a decline in usage of social media any time soon, but what people can do is start filling their feeds with things that inspire them to reconnect, re-ignite a spark of hope, and remind them that no matter how overwhelming other things in life may be, there is a whole world of beauty around them – to access it, they need only choose to look.”

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