You know the game don’t let the balloon touch the ground? The game you played when you were like ten years old. Well, that’s my life now. I’m a balloon social media influencer, 165,000 followers strong on TikTok, and sometimes I don’t think it can get any crazier. As I’m sure you’re asking, “Antonio, how did a megacelebrity like you get it all started?” Well, astute reader, it was pretty simple.
Late in 2018, my sister Isa and I decided we wanted to play an extreme edition of don’t let the balloon touch the ground. We had a good upstairs for it and nothing better to do. We played a couple of rounds before we realized a problem: sometimes we had no idea if the balloon hit the ground or not. I would claim I hit it and my sister (Obviously in the wrong as I am always right) disagreed. We decided to call up our brother Diego to record us playing on a slo-mo camera so we could go back and check.
This progressed for about a year or so, playing with siblings or friends for fun every couple of months. I still hung on to the videos of our games, mainly because I never delete anything in my camera roll. Eventually, the game completely fizzled out of our lives, supposedly never to be seen again.
Fast forward a bit to April 2020. The world was falling apart, as this nastly little germ we were all sure “wasn’t even as bad as the flu” two months ago had decided to send me home from college. Bored out of my mind and not wanting to do a ton of schoolwork, I posted random videos from my camera onto TIkTok. I was trying to become famous, as Diego had one video from July 2019 get 230,000 likes. I needed to beat that.
On April 4th, I decided today’s TikTok upload would be a video of me and Isa playing balloons as it seemed like it could be cool. Unfortunately the video, like my 8 tries before it, failed to take off and sat at 37 views when I went to bed.
When I woke up, the social media world changed. I now sat at 50,000 views! I was ecstatic. My dumb video had 50k people who watched it. I was content with my 2000 likes from it, but the video had other ideas. 100k views came and went. 500k too. Soon, it was up to 2 MILLION VIEWS. What was going on?? Watching the views skyrocket instead of a wholesome dinner with my family, I had a bold idea: Let’s post another balloon video.
Sure enough, the next video clocked in at 500k views. How about a day 4? 1 million. Day 5? 2 million. Day 6? 400k. Day 7? Only 50k that day, a disappointment. With every day though, my followers grew. After Day 15, SportsCenter asked if they could post my videos on their Instagram. I had officially made it.
Flash forward to today, September 4, 2020. @tuwanrovio (that’s me, follow me and I’ll follow you back) has 165k FOLLOWERS. Why 20 people watch me hit a balloon with my family is beyond me, much less 165,000. Posts that get over 100k views don’t even phase me anymore. We have merch, Mountain Dew ads, a website, and income form TikTok. Basically, it’s the only thing that’s interesting about me. It’s my crown achievement, the thing that people mention if they recognize me. And I’m not sure why they love it, but, as my TikTok bio says, “I guess I’m the TikTok balloon guy now.”