Challenge accepted!

TikTok Challenge

Matthew Prince, a Taco Bell PR executive who also teaches marketing at Chapman University in California, challenged his 80 students: for just one of them could create a viral TikTok video that received at least one million views, The New York Times reports.

If they were to succeed, Prince would cancel the final exam, a worthy prize for going viral — and a creative use of social media in a classroom setting preparing students for a terminally online world.

Students almost immediately jumped into action, with Sylvie Bastardo, a 20-year-old sophomore, trying to gain traction by filming Prince outlining his "TikTok Influencer Challenge" in which the "first to reach viral status wins," from the back of the class during a January lecture.

Hilariously, Bastardo's video went viral almost immediately, shooting past one million likes — not just views — and blasting through Prince's goal, currently standing at over 4.9 million views.

Power of Influence

Prince immediately responded to the video by duetting it on TikTok.

"That's me, I'm the professor," he said in his reaction video. "I gave this challenge on Tuesday, it's been less than 48 hours. My goal was to showcase the power of influence and influencer marketing on social media, and it's true."

"They really did it," Prince admitted, announcing the final was canceled. "They actually did it in less than 48 hours."

"I was just trying to think of new ways to help support some of the teaching that I’m trying to get across over the course of the semester," he later told the NYT. "Mainly, the thought of just how democratized virality and influence is within social media, specifically on TikTok, and that you really don’t have to be a celebrity to drive it."

It's an interesting example of the use of social media in the classroom. Is TikTok just a pointless distraction, or can students actually learn about the "power of influence" by posting on the video platform?

If there's one takeaway, though, it's that Gen Z students should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to social media.

More on TikTok: Clueless Congressman Bewildered That TikTok Connects Using WiFi

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