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West Elm Caleb TikTok tabloids – Source

If you don’t spend much time online, you may not recognize these names. But on TikTok, their stories became sensationalized, memeified, hashtagged and rehashed.

The most recent is “#WestElmCaleb.” Women took to TikTok to share their experiences of being peppered with affection, strung along and ultimately ghosted by a New York City-based designer named Caleb, who became the exemplar for the worst aspects of online dating culture.

Together, these stories represent the emergence of what I call the “TikTok tabloid,” in which users collectively manufacture and dramatize stories like an investigative gossip reel. Traditional tabloids place the lurid limelight on celebrities and public figures. But the TikTok tabloid targets everyday people.

How did we get to the age of the TikTok tabloid? As someone who studies digital consumer culture, I see it as an outgrowth of the dynamics of social surveillance: using digital technologies to keep a close watch on one another, while producing…

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