Well, this week, users found a new subject to fixate on: election analysts.
TikTok users are uploading videos of the two on-air personalities, complete with upbeat, catchy songs as the backdrop.
A simple search on TikTok highlights just how popular these famcams have become.
The hashtag #johnking has 2.5 million views; #stevekornacki has 81,600 views; and #election2020 — which of course encompasses more than just election analyst-related videos — has 1.1 billion views. (TikTok did not immediately respond to a CNN Business request for comment.)
“These fancams are a way for users to redirect their anxiety,” said Ioana Literat, an assistant professor at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. She researches youth, political expression and social media.
“This stanning, even sexualizing, is so much more lightheartened than just doom scrolling,” she told CNN Business.
Fun + respect = fancam
By Thursday afternoon, Emma Kraft had been watching King’s recap of the presidential race with her friends for hours.
“I’m just very impressed with him,” Kraft, a political science major at Mercer University in metro Atlanta, told CNN Business. “I think he’s a very respectable figure.”
“I’m not surprised at all that other people are making fancams for him,” Kraft said. “I don’t think what we’re doing is having a direct impact, but it’s a way to have fun with the election.”
Maya Beydoun is 17, too young to vote. But she still wanted to show her appreciation for Kornacki.
“I remember just watching and thinking ‘I’m going to make an edit,'” she told CNN Business. “He’s just been working so hard. He deserves it.”
They’re not the typical cable news consumers
Literat likens these fancams to attention that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has also received from Gen Z and millennials on social media.
“There’s a respect for knowledge and working towards social good,” Literat said. “Young people are looking at these individuals as symbols of hope.”
Also, fancams for election analysts follow a larger trend of TikTok users engaging in politics.
“TikTok is seen as their turf, it’s their public sphere,” Literat said. “But these practices precede TikTok. This is a way that (Gen Z and millennials) feel connected to their peers, and it’s shaping how the political discourse is happening. These practices are going to continue.”
It’s not just TikTok; fancams are everywhere
The fancam trend isn’t exclusive to TikTok.
“[My family and I] were all just sitting there, waiting for the results and just watching him with the map,” she told CNN Business. “Making the fancam was just a really good distraction from anxiously waiting for more results.”
The analysts are digging it
So what do the election analysts think of these fancams?
“You may not recognize me, there’s no giant touch screen behind me,” he says in the video. “I just wanted to say, I saw after I finally left the studio all these incredibly kind and friendly and nice messages everybody had on social media.”
“I have a 9 year old son who is a TikTok fan and user, and so having fancams is an honor and gives me a little credibility now with my son,” King said.
“But more importantly, it is proof people are engaged in the election and looking for ways to connect to the story.”
He also thanked his new fans and left them with a message.
“My message to any new ‘fans’ is to channel that interest and energy into the issues they care about — beginning in your local community. “