University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Wyatt Eiden’s social media presence has grown considerably in the last year, mainly on TikTok. With 1.7 million followers and 28.3 million likes on the platform, Eiden is known for his trivia videos where he asks people he meets on the street a series of questions for a chance to win a cash prize.
Off of TikTok, Eiden is graduating this spring with a chemistry degree and plans to go to medical school.
The Daily Cardinal recently sat down with Wyatt Eiden to chat about his social media presence, inspiration, goals and plans for growing his brand.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.
How did your presence on social media come about?
I started in March of 2020. I knew TikTok was a new platform and it would probably be easy to grow on (it). I started by posting a video every single day until I gained some traction and followers — the rest is history.
Before I was doing interviews, I probably had about 230,000 followers. I built a zipline in my backyard during quarantine and would just ride random things down the zipline, like a lawnmower, a pool, a couch. You name it, I rode it down my zipline.
A lot of my followers kept giving me different ideas, and I just ran with it.
When did you start doing trivia interviews on TikTok?
A brand wanted to work with me on TikTok, and I had been doing other content at the time that wasn’t interpersonal content. They wanted me to make a few videos to see how I was with a microphone and interacting with others.
During Mifflin of 2021, I went out and I did interviews where I asked people 10 questions to win ten dollars as draft videos for this sponsor that wanted to work with me. I posted them, they did well, I enjoyed them and the people that watched them enjoyed them. Over time, I changed the concept to “five questions, win five dollars” which is what I’m doing now.
Do you have a strategy for choosing filming locations?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific strategy. I do try to go for younger audience areas, like universities or beach areas, because my videos tend to resonate with those people. My audience is built off a lot of college-age people, so I try to build my content around that.
How do you come up with questions?
In the past, I’ve used questions that I’ve thought of myself. It’s really easy to find trivia questions online and to change them to be more appropriate for my videos. Sometimes I use questions from applications like Trivia Crack. I also use questions from board games like “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. I also ask my followers to recommend questions.
How do you fund the cash prizes offered in your videos?
There are a few ways I make money on social media. First, I get paid per video that I post on TikTok because I am part of the creator fund, and secondly I also make money through brand deals or sponsorships.
The creator fund is a way to help creators on TikTok keep making great content by paying them for the work they do. When I post a video, I’ll get paid for that video based on how many views it has. Say I get 100,000 views on a video, I’d get paid a certain amount of money. Any time I work with a brand, I try to make enough money to give away to the contestants to make it worth their while.
Is there anything particularly memorable that comes to mind when you think of your time on TikTok?
I’d say what’s memorable is my reach. I mainly make videos in Wisconsin, so you’d expect a large part of my audience to be Wisconsin-based. But actually, Wisconsin isn’t even one of the top three states that I reach. Texas, California and New York are where the majority of my viewers are.
I recently traveled down to Georgia to visit a friend and to film some videos at their university, and without even filming people would recognize me and tell me how much they loved my content. I was getting people asking to take pictures with me. I just really like being able to meet the people that like the content I make.
What’s something you’ve learned through filming?
Probably to stick up for myself. I have a lot of people reaching out to me with requests or wanting to be in videos, and as much as I’d like to give everyone an opportunity, I also want to make good content. I’m not trying to be rude or anything, but I want to make good content and can’t have everything in every video.
What’s your least favorite part of filming?
Because most of my content is based on being where a lot of young people are, I end up filming outside of bars oftentimes. I usually film on Friday or Saturday outside of bars and I usually meet a lot of drunk people. Sometimes they can be a lot, so I just try to be polite with them. Sometimes they don’t mean the things they say. But if that’s my biggest complaint, that’s fine with me because there could be much worse things to complain about.
Has the success of your social media changed your career aspirations?
I don’t think so. I still want to go into the medical field, but I do want to give this a try. I want to help people. Whether that be through TikTok doing short videos where I can give them money or medically, I’m just striving for a career where I can help other people. I’m just going to give social media a try and see where it takes me.
What are your hopes for the future?
After graduation, my current plan is to take a gap year and spend that time studying for any medical exams, trying to build up medical hours and focusing on my social media presence. I want to further my TikTok and get my other platforms up to speed. I feel like with this opportunity, I don’t need to be in one single place. I want to take this opportunity and see what I can do with it. I’ll be traveling, both by myself and with friends that do similar things.
I would like to try new types of videos. I’m mainly doing trivia videos, but I’d like to try videos asking people questions about their life or interests. I’ve thought about doing life advice videos from people of different ages. But as far as my accounts, it would be cool to be able to turn this into a job that could support me full time. More broadly, I’d like to get this to a point where I can help others in bigger ways than I currently am.