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Why new ‘Hype Simulator’ app could be harmful to Gen Z

Hype Simulator is the new app giving everyday folk a taste of social media virality akin to that of super influencers like Kylie Jenner and Dixie D’Amelio. Should we be concerned?

Everyone has wondered at some stage what it would be like to become an internet sensation overnight while trawling through Instagram or TikTok. Earning millions of devoted followers is a modern fascination, particularly as far as Gen Zers are concerned.

We all have the odd post that bangs on our timelines and gets us a few shares or likes, but the prospect of being hit with thousands of comments and DMs every day is totally alien to most of us.

It may not be an unattainable pipe dream for much longer, however, thanks to a new app called ‘Hype Simulator’ that artificially transforms your social media profile into a mega influencer juggernaut – for all of 15 minutes, at least.

What is Hype Simulator?

Giving people a brief taste of the life of a social media celeb and the influx of notifications they’re accustomed to 24/7, Hype Simulator – currently ranked 7th on Apple’s Photo & Video charts – creates a mock version of your personal account on either TikTok or Instagram and transforms it into an absolute clout machine.

Within seconds of signing up on the app, follower notifications start to pour in along with an overwhelming number of private messages, proclaiming things like ‘I’m your biggest fan,’ or ironically asking what you’d be doing if you weren’t famous.

Obviously, there are no real-life users behind the follower count, which becomes painfully obvious when you actually reply to your new entourage, triggering generic responses like, ‘I can’t believe you answered,’ or ‘I can’t even!’

Around the five-minute mark you’ll hit 100k followers, which will prompt the much-coveted blue tick verification next to your name, but those who partake will only have 10 minutes to marvel at it before the cut-off period. From here, the only option (bar living your actual life) is to hit restart and again choose from the dystopian ‘celebrity’ or ‘going viral’ simulations on offer.


#hypesimulator #fyp y’all have got to try this it’s kinda scary

♬ original sound – emma 🙂

The problematic urge for clout

While most will take Hype Simulator at face value as a novel app, a bit of a laugh, and a tool to prank friends for actual content on TikTok or Reels, it’s reasonable to suggest that the mechanics have the potential to do more harm than good to its target demographic, Gen Z.

The title page for the app proudly displays Andy Warhol’s famous quote: ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes,’ and ironically, this is where the red flags start to crop up. Gen Z is by and large the loneliest and most anxious generation to ever exist, and research continues to point to social media as a significant factor.

While our online personas provide us with a means of expressing our opinions and creativity, they can also become a habitual hunting ground for validation and seeking out that much craved dopamine rush.

By providing young people with their 15 minutes of fame (or the pretence of) and then abruptly stripping it away, apps like Hype Simulator have the potential to exacerbate any existing feelings of loneliness or exclusion by direct contrast against users’ genuine levels of interaction. Intentionally or not, it promotes a mindset focused on figures, and therefore encourages already susceptible teens to further compare their profiles against friends or even celebrities.

The app is clearly well intentioned, but when you consider that the most desirable job amongst teens today is to become a social media influencer, it hardly takes a genius to identify the potential problems Hype Simulator could cause.


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Against the grain of social tech

Being locked indoors throughout 2020 has promoted record levels of engagement on social media sites, with people turning to tech to maintain some semblance of a social life. But before the pandemic, a large percentage of young people had started to limit their use of social media platforms on a day-to-day basis.

Numerous studies suggested that this regulating of time on social media had a big benefit for the mental health of young people, who could instead focus their energy on forming meaningful relationships and social interactions in the real world.

Social tech in general has also become more mindful of the potential pitfalls of social media. In terms of free resources for emotional support online, there’s more to choose from now than ever before – check our recent stories on AI-based app WYSA and Facebook’s ‘Emotional Support Center.’

Snapchat’s take on vertical video and clear rival to TikTok, Spotlight, has been extremely conscious of the current landscape too, eliminating any sort of disadvantage in terms of getting views. Those with hefty follower counts will have to jump through the same hurdles as first-time posters, meaning all original ideas have an equal chance to go viral.

There’s no doubting that the overall consciousness of the industry is shifting to become more sensitive and considerate to all ramifications of products or updates before roll out, and in that sense, Hype Simulator is lacking tact and sticks out like a bit of a sore thumb.