TikTok's 'hottest' creator on how to engage audiences about the environment

·Environment Editor
·3-min read

TikTok creator Paris Nicholson is gaining millions of views for a string of uplifting videos about what's normally a depressing subject — the environment.

Famous for his Top 5 Hottest series of videos on social media which cover pop culture topics like Pokemon and Harry Potter, Mr Nicholson recently turned his attention to ranking species of flora and fauna.

These videos have reached an audience far wider than his established fanbase, particularly after his hottest birds video was “unexpectedly” shared by environmentalist Emily Atkin on Twitter, sending the video viral and gaining it 2.1 million views.

Video creator Paris Nicholson is engaging TikTok users with videos about the environment. Source: TikTok
Video creator Paris Nicholson is engaging TikTok users with videos about the environment. Source: TikTok

“This TikToTok singlehandedly renewed my passion for the environment,” Ms Atkin wrote.

How to use TikTok to help the environment

Speaking from his studio in the United States, Mr Nicholson believes his success comes from his positive and clear messaging.

“I think you have to make it easy to digest for people,” he said.

“Ultimately the attention span on TikTok is like: If you don’t grab them in five seconds you might as well have not made anything.”

Top 5 tips for making environment content for social media:

  • Make it fun

  • Make it clear

  • Make it easy to digest

  • Don’t make it depressing

  • Grab your audience fast

From marine biology to social media star

Mr Nicholson once considered science as a career, but midway into his studies he concluded it wasn’t for him.

“I was kind of learning that half of the job is begging for funding, and a tiny part of the job is doing the science, which is the fun part,” he said.

“Then the rest of the job is begging people to care about the science. So you do all this hard work and then it’s like: Well why should we care?”

Despite now working in social media Mr Nicholson still urgently wanted to do something to help the environment.

“I was like I have an audience (on TikTok) watching my silly videos, why not plug a little environmentalism in there, a little knowledge, a little science, and see how people respond,” he said.

The fight is not over

Through content creation and a healthy dose of therapy, Mr Nicholson has learned a key lesson when thinking about what he calls “the hopeless state of the world”, particularly when it comes to the environment.

“I was really putting the burden of that on myself… now I’m able to fully recognise that I can have an impact, but I can’t hold myself completely accountable for the entire planet,” he said.

He believes it’s important to focus on the things that we can do individually to give others hope.

“I mean, we’re still here. The fight is not over,” he said.

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