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Video Goes Viral on TikTok

Rolling in with over 70,000 TikTok followers and more than 2 million likes, Ethan Mounts (tiktok.com/@ethanmountswv) is becoming a popular Monroe Countian reaching small town stardom through social media. We interviewed Ethan to get to know him, discuss TikTok, and his thoughts on this platform.  

Ethan is a self-described country guy and outdoor beardsman, born in Lewisburg and raised in Alderson (Greenbrier County). He tells us his online presence is accidental. “I was very new to the platform when I posted a video titled ‘YOU HONK WE DRINK’ and the video went viral. I posted the video on April 17, 2020, went to bed that night and woke up with over 2M views.” The video’s length is :14, John Denver’s “Country Roads” plays in the background, and in it Ethan and his friend are sitting on the side of the road drinking the Devil’s nectar. There’s a large wood sign in front of them that reads, “YOU HONK WE DRINK”. A state trooper is seen driving into the frame and Ethan’s friend says, “He’s gonna pull us over” Ethan responds, “No he’s not” The trooper slows down when passing and abruptly pulls a u-turn. The trooper proceeds to honk his horn three times.  

For the last couple of years, Ethan’s videos reflect his life in West Virginia. He goes on fun adventures, shares his fear of bees, talks to stray “cats“ aka possums in his yard, goes on fishing trips, walks horses, and shares thoughts in his car over his lunch break at work. Ethan confirms his account is definitely just for fun and that he has not mastered the whole “making money off of influencing thing just yet.” He also says there is no rhyme or reason behind any of his videos and they are posted randomly. “My videos are mainly a cease the moment type of thing” and when not producing videos, you can find him outside, hunting or fishing. He also shoots competitive archery which he says takes up a lot of his free time.  

@ethanmountswv

Well we had a visitor… state police in WV paid us a visit. #foryoupage #foryou #fyp #westvirginia #wv

♬ original sound – Ethan Mounts

He works at Collins Aerospace in Monroe County and graduated from Greenbrier East High School in 2010. He attended WVU for a year and when he came home for summer break, he was hired by the WVDOH, which made him realize college wasn’t for him. He then found his current job and has worked there the last 10 years. 

Ethan says his goal in the digital space is to connect with folks and make them laugh. He says, “There is so much negativity in the world today and I feel like if I make one person laugh, my job is done.” He tells us maybe one day he will build his brand but not today. He prefers to stay off his phone most of the time and “get out and live a little.” When the moment hits him though, he says his TikTok and Instagram accounts are easy ways to share his adventures and build his following. It’s also an escape from day to day life. “The majority of my following has never met me so day to day problems that are faced are nonexistent on social media.” 

When asked if he follows the “rule of the algorithm” on TikTok, Ethan responds, yes, to an extent. “I use all the latest trending hashtags when posting for sure, but I have had a ton of videos removed from my page and some don’t even make it to my page. TikTok really doesn’t like the hunting content and will give you the boot in a hurry over it.” But even with the challenges of content restrictions, Ethan gives praise to the platform because it stands apart from others. “It’s all video and it’s easier to gain attention and build a community. My videos, like most, are unfiltered and raw and so people really see what’s going on.” Ultimately, TikTok helps Ethan serve his purpose of sharing his outdoor journeys and making people have a chuckle.

If you are looking to build your following, Ethan has some helpful advice. “Just be yourself. Sure, you can dance and hop on the latest trend to gain a few followers but it’s more fulfilling when your following is there for YOU! Have fun with it because in today’s world social media is king, and everyone feels like they need to have a monster following or make money off of it but that just isn’t true. Post what you want, when you want and just wing it. Make it fun! But also make sure to not lose yourself in all the hype. Get outside and have fun. There is plenty of content to be made out there, find yours”

Any last words? “Well, I know this is a West Virginia themed paper, BUT… GO HOKIES, the Blackdiamond is coming back to Blacksburg this year where it belongs. HAHA”

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HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks. tiktok.com/@hashtagwv

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