Matt the Person: How a Tulsa-born TikTok star crafted an online persona based on comedy, relatability
The Instagram bio of social media star Matt Taylor (@matttheperson) reads: ‘idk what i’m doing :).’
Whatever Taylor is doing, however, clearly works. At the time of this article, the creator — who is also a Tulsa native — has amassed over six million followers on TikTok and nearly one million on Instagram. Catapulted to virality by short comedic videos, Taylor has a captive audience eager to engage with whatever they post next.
Because of their ability to create content that resonates with the masses, Taylor has turned social media into a viable career. But before moving to Los Angeles to pursue TikTok full time in May 2021, Taylor lived a normal life in Tulsa, attending school, scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins and serving drinks at Starbucks.
As a young student, Taylor initially used social media as a means of self-expression and to venture beyond their insular Christian school environment.
“I was never super extroverted, so I feel like that opened an outlet for me to express myself in online spaces more,” Taylor said. “I started doing social media when I was 16 because I was leaving the private Christian school era and moving into exploring my identity. It was an eye-opening and freeing experience — having an online space where I could reach a community that was similar to me.”
After being homeschooled at the beginning of high school, Taylor made the move to Tulsa Tech, studying photography among likeminded students. It was around this time Taylor started posting on TikTok consistently, steadily gaining a following on the platform, but not yet considering the idea of social media as a career path.
“We had YouTube stars before, but it wasn’t as common as it is now to say, ‘I’m going to do social media full time,’ so I was really resistant to the idea at first,” Taylor said.
Once they gained one million followers on TikTok and started to partner with brands, Taylor met with a team who offered to manage them. Deciding to take the leap and invest in themselves, Taylor quit their job at Starbucks and moved across the country to Los Angeles.
Since relocating to LA in 2021, Taylor’s career has continued to grow and flourish. They’ve partnered with huge brands like Google and Laneige and attended the American Music Awards and VidCon.
While being invited to influencer events initially made Taylor nervous, attending them has helped them connect with other young people in the digital space, allowing them to form a close-knit, supportive community.
“The most memorable moments I’ve had are just with my friends here, and learning and growing with these people more closely, and finding my community,” Taylor said. “I had great friends in Oklahoma, but it’s been crazy growing older and becoming close with people who not only have similar careers here, but also similar beliefs.”
Despite gaining massive success, Taylor’s process for creating videos is still very spontaneous and impromptu. They post when they feel like it and allow themselves to take breaks whenever needed to avoid burnout.
“I’m really a day-to-day person,” Taylor said. “Every day I just see what opportunities come up and go with the flow. I feel really privileged to have a job that lets me work on my own schedule.”
Taylor said they base many of the ideas for their videos on funny interactions with friends. This organic process helps Taylor create videos that are hilarious and very relatable, hitting on topics that feel niche, yet universal at the same time.
“I feel like there are so many experiences that we all go through that we don’t realize other people go through, too,” Taylor said. “It hit me when I filmed a video about something so random, and I was like, ‘I wonder if other people have experienced this?’ People really related to it, and it made me realize that we really are all connected in a way.”
Now that they’ve built a career as an online creator, Taylor’s biggest piece of advice for other people wanting to do the same is to be persistent, even if their content doesn’t take off immediately.
“It can be very difficult and discouraging at times, but the biggest thing is just to be consistent,” Taylor said. “Even if you’re getting no views and it feels like nobody cares, continue forward and keep posting what you’re passionate about and what you enjoy. Keep posting until other people see your passion and care about it, too.”