Social media is a place where communities can come together. After the Los Angeles “Hype House” emerged, which was a house of young viral TikTok creators who posted videos together expanding their reach, the model was adapted in the last few months in Canada with the Ontario-based Canadian Clubhouse.
However, 26-year-old TikTok influencer Kayley Reed noticed Alberta wasn’t getting the same amount of representation, so started her own called the Calgary Clubhouse, where they meet at local businesses to hang out.
TikTok is a social media app where users can make short videos to share with their followers, and has now garnered over 1.5 billion downloads.
With an algorithm that can push videos to millions, it’s becoming increasingly easy to go viral at a young age and create content to cross post in their various feeds. The “for you” feature is a page that shares content it thinks you make like, and prioritizes videos that people spend more time watching, so can put anyone in front of the eyes of millions.
“It was all local people, being excited that you don’t have to be in Toronto or New York or L.A. to be doing something fun like this,” Reed says.
Reed works as a digital marketer with Calgary businesses, and has a special spot in her heart for supporting local initiatives. She jumped on the opportunity to merge an online community with potential profit and the opportunity to bring attention to the city.
“We want to be fostering those relationships between content creators and businesses so we can be having a good time [..] but also be promoting local businesses at the same time,” she says in reference to showing up and posting at local spots.
The house consists of 12 local individuals whose followings range from 10,000 to more than a million.
Juan Romero is a 20-year-old member of the Calgary Clubhouse, and does TikTok full time, with over a million followers. Though lots of people use the app for fun, he says for creators, a lot of time they need to treat it like a job.
“A few years ago, I told myself, ‘Okay, you need to take this more seriously, because this is my dream,’” Romero says.
After five years of creating videos on the platform, Romero is grateful for a community that understands the time and effort it takes to pursue this career.
“It takes four to five hours to make one fifteen second video,” Romero says, although the time can be more or less depending on the nature of the video.
For him, the clubhouse is really not as much about creating videos, but more about spending time in person with similar people.
“Maybe not now, but you’re going to need someone else, so you have to love everybody,” he says. “The Calgary Clubhouse is like family.”