UT’s TikTok of the Month: The ‘shameless clout-chaser’ | Entertainment

UT senior Max Thompson’s TikTok went viral this month. While many of his videos have blown up, this video about controversial UT fashion trends received a particularly large amount of attention. So far, it has received 2.4 million views and close to 400,000 likes, but those numbers are still growing.

Originally from San Diego, California, Thompson is double majoring in marketing and business analytics. The former Daily Beacon columnist began interviewing UT students on the Ped Walkway during finals week in May 2022.

Students use the Ped Walkway to get practically everywhere on campus, so Thompson has had plenty of candidates to interview. In fact, students line up between classes to be featured in Thompson’s videos.

Max Thompson

KNOXVILLE, TN – UT Senior Max Thompson interviews passing students for Tiktok on the UT Pedestrian Walkway. Friday, Sep. 30, 2022.

The inspiration for these videos came from students on other college campuses. Thompson had seen other students’ videos be well appreciated. So, he decided he was the man to bring the activity to UT since he has years of experience making college based TikToks under the witty username @shamelesscloutchaser.

Thompson sets up his tripod on Ped Walkway to get students’ opinions, stories and ideas. He asks his interviewees a variety of questions ranging from “What is one of your hot takes?” to “What is the single biggest problem in your life right now?” Sometimes the responses are humorous, and sometimes they are insightful.

“These videos are all about the students. Everyone always asks me how I choose which interviews to post, and I always respond that I don’t have to choose. Every student I’ve spoken to has had an awesome story, and I just try to post all those conversations,” Thompson said.

In one of Thompson’s most viewed videos in September, he holds his signature banana as a pretend microphone and asks a student what fashion trend he has seen too much of this semester. Thompson chose this topic of fashion because he thought the average college student would find it relatable.

Max Thompson

KNOXVILLE, TN – UT Senior Max Thompson interviews passing students for Tiktok on the UT Pedestrian Walkway. Friday, Sep. 30, 2022.

The interviewee proceeds to explain why he hates seeing people wearing “high Nike socks.” The interviewee describes that his strong feelings toward the fashion trend are due to the imprints and tan lines the socks leave behind on those who wear them.

As the interviewee is expressing this opinion, freshman William Becker walks in the background of the video wearing the very socks being discussed. Becker gives the camera a nervous smile and a thumbs up as he sneaks in and out of the camera’s view.

Many viewers assumed that the incident was staged to give the video a comical twist. Yet, Becker was not aware that the socks he was wearing were the subject of conversation a few feet away from him.

“I honestly had no clue that they were talking about socks during the video. I was just trying to be in the video if I’m being completely honest,” Becker said.

Despite the video’s popularity, Becker affirmed that he has not received anything negative from it. Instead, he was just proud to be a part of something that became such a hit.

Thompson’s interviews have created a space on campus for students to share their opinions and anecdotes.

However, his platform doesn’t stop there. He also makes other college based TikToks that viewers enjoy. A popular one features Thompson being shown on the jumbotron at a UT football game. Instead of screaming or dancing, he just stares at the camera with a straight face and wide eyes.

His hope moving forward is that he will be able to continue entertaining others. It makes him happy to be able to provide others with amusement.

Thompson credits his present success to the students he has had the opportunity to speak with.

“This whole thing would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the fantastic students that have taken the time out of their day to speak to me,” Thompson said.

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