Five TikToks with actual substance

Cute animal videos are great but sometimes a person just needs some random lake facts

Image credit: @iXimus / Pixabay

By: Meera Eragoda, Copy Editor


Screenshot courtesy of Sara Wong via TikTok

One of my favourite accounts on TikTok is Dane Nakama’s. They’re an artist based in Hawaii and the video which got me hooked is one about renowned artists (namely Picasso, Dali, and Gauguin) being horrendous misogynists. 

Nakama profiles various historic and contemporary artists and pieces, giving short, accessible art history lessons on each topic. I love that Nakama’s approach to art history is non-judgemental and that they are not afraid to be critical of the art world — such as when they are examining whether some art should be priced as high as it is.

It’s clear they understand that, at first glance, some art may seem confusing or too simple, such as contemporary art or the work of Jackson Pollock, respectively. But they also realize that art needs to be viewed through a certain lens to be understood and are trying to give us the tools to be able to do just that.

Other art history accounts: @caseylanderkin, @_theiconoclass, @arthistoryminutes


Screenshot courtesy of Sara Wong via TikTok

Even though it feels like I’ve been trying to watch everything that’s on Netflix and Crave, I’m definitely not film-literate enough to understand everything I’m consuming. That’s where Daejah Woolery comes in. She has taught me so much about various TV tropes, genres, and different cinematic techniques. 

Woolery occasionally takes requests on movies, which she then deconstructs. She’s examined topics such as whether Enola Holmes can be considered a feminist film and what prestige TV is. 

If you, too, want to go deeper on the shows and movies you’ve been consuming during the pandemic, Woolery’s account is the place to go. She also ends many TikToks saying, “You’re more than your last mistake,” which is always nice to hear after eating too many sugary holiday treats in one sitting.

Other accounts examining TV/movies: @momoiscariot, @human_espresso, @tayyy.jpeg, @bobacommie


Screenshot courtesy of Sara Wong via TikTok

“Umm yes, hello” is how Geo Rutherford begins each video before hitting you with hard facts about lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water. Although it’s hard to pigeonhole them because they’ve also talked about fungus, dinosaurs, and road salt.

I’ve learned about dead zones in water where life can’t survive (many because of our use of fertilizer), the mystery zone in Lake Michigan which seems a lot like the Bermuda Triangle, braided rivers (these look seriously cool), and that there’s a lava lake in Antarctica (how? why?).

This may truly be the most unique account I’ve come across on TikTok.

Other science-y accounts: @science_is_real, @chuckdarwin


Screenshot courtesy of Sara Wong via TikTok

Last semester, The Peak ran a couple of pieces about thrifting and whether it was a genuinely sustainable practice. This TikTok dives deeper into the topic. The creator, Lily Fang, talks a lot about thrift stores, fast fashion, and sustainability and it’s worth a watch. 

Fang also gives tips on conscious consumption and often stresses that while there may not be ethical consumption under capitalism, some options are more ethical than others. That being said, while she does advocate for being as ethical as possible, she doesn’t preach perfection or shame people for not always being able to buy sustainably.

@mediumnoah @failedviner @jakethelinguist 

Screenshot courtesy of Sara Wong via TikTok

Everything I’ve learned on linguistics TikTok has confirmed that the English language is truly bizarre. It’s also taught me that language is always evolving which means there’s no reason to get hung up on vocabulary changes. All these creators have accounts that talk about the random little quirks of language and they’re all fascinating to watch. I’ve learned about the phenomenon of self-censorship on TikTok and now know that “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is a grammatically correct sentence.

Bonus accounts: 

@crutches_and_spice (disability activism/education)

@medievallauren (medieval history) 

@harrisonhow (basics of drawing) 

@alexisnikole (foraging) 

@songpsych (music theory) 

@lemonl1ght3r (architecture)