Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/TikTok
Zaid Khan has spent most of his life on the internet, and though he considers himself optimistic by nature, doom-scrolling through news stories and being bombarded with fatalistic content online can make that natural positivity difficult to maintain. “I think that’s just a very easy rabbit hole to fall down when you’re using the internet—feeling like ‘Oh my god, everything sucks, we’re all doomed,’” Khan, 25, said.
But towards the end of 2022, he noticed a new trend emerge on TikTok, often accompanied by hashtags like #hopecore and #antinihilism, that offered a different perspective, promoting a kind of radical optimism.
The trend takes on many forms: a series of inspiring sports clips or video game scenes spliced together; a slide show of quotes, tweets or web comics; or front-facing camera videos expressing some hopeful idea. Like the corecore trend before it, the format uses images or videos to evoke an emotional reaction in the viewer, ranging from the profound to the sentimental.