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TikTok Tech Influencers Divided Over Glossy Content

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Defoe told BuzzFeed News she believes stereotypes about non-technical roles and technical roles in the industry go both ways, which has also contributed to the drama. “In some of the videos, creators will write snarky things in the comments like, engineers need us because they can’t communicate, they don’t have social skills — trying to prove their worth while putting other people down” she said. “These stereotypes have existed for a long time. And it’s really divisive, because it’s not true. But I think it’s part of why this is all happening.”

And some are frustrated that the girlboss content is glossing over the challenges that women still face in STEM jobs. Women continue to be underrepresented in tech roles, and lumping every woman working at a tech company into #womenintech “kind of dilutes the struggles that women in tech specifically go through breaking into a male-dominated field,” Nhon said.

In some ways, Nhon said the vlogs have provided a positive bit of awareness, showing a realm of career possibilities that some viewers may not have been aware of. But she still believes there’s a “danger” of misinformation in the flood of #techtok vlogs, especially to an audience of young people who take the content at face value.

“Many influencers bring ‘working in tech’ up from a place of superiority or as a buzzword to prey on a vulnerable audience,” Nhon continued. “We want to break down barriers, not put up more, and that requires authenticity and accountability from both sides.”