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Interview 2021

Samuel Weidenhofer
Finding common ground during covid times
tiktok/@itssozer

Covid might be a distant view in the wing mirror of our lives but the impact of this global pandemic will be felt for years to come. Rather than focus on the devastating affect that Covid has had people around the world have used this time to explore human connection and how, since Covid, we have come to reconnect with one another in ways we never thought possible.

 

On TikTok Samuel Weidenhofer (itssozer) used his time to build genuine connections through humour, understanding and appreciation of strangers. In each of his videos Samuel's manages to surprise people by being true and sharing his honesty with them that has allowed those he comes into contact with to share their own truth.

 

After watching many of Samuel's videos TikTok we reached out to him for a chat to talk about the impact that his videos have had on him as well as his audiences.

Hi Sam thank you for taking the time to talk with TNC, I would normally ask how these Covid times have helped you creatively but it's clear you've had quite an interesting journey, where did the inspiration behind your viral videos come from? 

 

The inspiration, came from my childhood and how kids treated me in primary school. I used to get bullied growing up, a lot and told I couldn’t go anywhere. I was born with a speech impediment, meaning I used to mumble words and not talk very clearly. This led to a lot of kids, laughing and making fun of my voice. However I realised I can use that same voice, to change the world and spread kindness everywhere.

 

Did you ever imagine they would take off the way that they have?

 

I never expected, my social media career to take off like this. At the start of 2021 I had 180k TikTok followers and I said my goal was to hit 250k by the end of the year. It’s only may and I’ve already achieved a huge following of just under 2 million. 

Was there any nerves before you started filming your first video and did you have any apprehensions about how people would react to you?

 

At first we were terrified, and scared of how people would react. Especially how and if we would get bullied by kids in high school. I remember going out with my best mate, to film an interview and the first ever response we got was the most angry state and we got told to go away. After politely asking, (I started with interviews) however we always look back on that moment to show how far we’ve truly come.

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"An old lady said to me what you're doing for the world is amazing, we need more people like you, you're just beautiful." 

As well as handing our flowers and chocolates you also offer people hugs and the reaction/comments you get from people seems very genuine, why do you think people have responded so well to your project?

 

Firstly all my videos, at least over the last 2-3 months are genuine! I believe spreading kindness is so important, but you need to be genuine to do this. The reason I spread kindness is to make a worldwide impact, not to gain followers or make money. People really respect me for that, and I’ve realised so many people in this world need a simple hug or some flowers/chocolate. You never know what a stranger is going through. 

 

Do you ever let the few instances when someone just isn't into it get to you?

 

There’s been a few scenarios, where I’ve simply been nice to people and been sworn at, abused and even nearly punched. At first, it effects me a little bit however I don’t want someone who’s negative towards me to effect the amount of positivity I can spread. So I do my best to ignore it and beat it by being positive. 

 

In some of the videos you ask people how they're doing and if they're OK how have you been able to manage your own metal wellbeing during the making of your videos?

 

Luckily, over the past few months my mental state has never been better. This allows me to manage my own mental well-being, however if I’m not having the best day I try and relax and look at how many lives I’ve changed and saved. 

 

Are you going to continue to make your videos?

 

I’m never going to spread kindness, I’ve got big goals as well as to form a brand that will help out mental health companies. I believe, kindness will never get old. No matter how many times you do it, it can leave an everlasting impact on someone’s life. 

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What has been the best reaction you've gotten from the public (I really liked your Mothers Day video)?

 

I’ve had so many amazing responses from the public. I’d have to say I’ve got a few favourites. One of them was in my heartbroken or struggling talk/hug me video. An old lady said to me what you're doing for the world is amazing, we need more people like you, your just beautiful. I’ve always taken that advice into my filming and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. Those words have touched me and now I live by them everyday. This video was also one of my most viral videos and reached about 30 million people. 

 

And finally, what has been the most important lesson you have taken away from this experience? 

 

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that you never know what someone’s going through. A small act of kindness can literally save and change a life. As well as the fact, kindness is never ending if you do one act it travels all around the world and will always come back to you.