Corecore: The Latest TikTok Trend That's Taking Aim At All Those 'Cores' On Your FYP

Years ago, TikTok was simply a place to watch silly cat videos and people dancing, but the app has recently been evolving into an increasingly complex platform. There are recipe videos, TikTok beauty trends, and even people telling how you should really be cleaning your bathroom. It is an endless stream of consciousness, where you never run out of content. You lay down to go to bed and tell yourself you'll only scroll for a few minutes, but then those minutes turn into hours. We've all been there.


A newer trend has taken the app by storm, and it is known as "corecore." The suffix "core" has been used over the years, mainly by Gen-Z, to describe various aesthetics, subcultures, or types of imagery. You may be familiar with the term "cottagecore" to describe someone's old-fashioned, crafty lifestyle. There seems to be a "core" for pretty much anything you can think of, from metalcore to rainbowcore to queercore, and the list goes on. But corecore appears to be drastically different from what we've seen so far on TikTok. Here, we will give you a bit of insight into this corner of the internet. 

What is corecore, exactly?

If you've ever made a collage out of magazine cut-outs and stickers to convey how you were feeling, or even a vision board, corecore is almost like a video version of that. Digital culture blogger Kieran Press-Reynolds tells Mashable that corecore videos are "like meme-poems, rife with short movie clips, music, and soundbites that are often somewhat nostalgic, nihilistic, or poignant." Video creators take multiple forms of media and splice them into a minute-long video to make the viewer feel something or raise awareness to a certain issue. A Time Magazine article described corecore as a form of visual poetry meant to capture and evoke specific emotions. Some argue that corecore is a small artistic movement on the internet.


Watching a corecore video is meant to be a bit disorienting, as the quick-cut editing style takes you on a journey through several video clips spliced into one with gloomy music playing in the background. It is also meant to be relatable. Each unique video aims to express a central idea about society, like the effects of phone addiction, sexism, feeling lonely and invisible, toxic masculinity, capitalism, and climate change. For instance, the video may start with someone talking about their fear of death, then somber music begins to play, and then there is a cut to a time-lapse video of a flower wilting. Each separate piece is all part of one big picture to tell a story.

When did corecore begin?

Throughout the years, people have started to use social media as a way to journal and capture specific moments, bringing people together into online communities. This is seen especially with the many "cores" or subcultures we can find online. The use of the "core" suffix has been part of internet culture for years, but Time Magazine reports that the TikTok corecore hashtag was first used in July of 2022 by user @heksensabbat. The trend was given its own page on the popular site for the chronically online, Know Your Meme, in December of the same year. 


Kieran Press-Reynolds also recalls that at first corecore wasn't "that deep" until it began to reach a wider audience. "When I found it, it was just a lot of video game footage and cats and weird internet music. I thought it was fun," he tells Vice. Since its humble beginnings, people have added a much deeper meaning to the trend. The corecore hashtag currently has approximately 767 million views on TikTok. 

A potential problem with corecore

While there is no doubting how popular corecore videos have become, people argue that this style of video is merely showing the many problems of our society without offering much hope or solutions. Most people already have too much screen time and, when coupled by videos that are made to sadden people, it leaves viewers with a sense of hopelessness. Stuck behind a screen and down a rabbit hole of doom-scrolling, these videos may not likely inspire someone to make changes their life but only cause them to ruminate on what is going wrong.


But even in dark corners of the internet, there is still some light. A subset of the corecore trend has recently surfaced, which is known as hopecore. Users who create hopecore content aim to take a more positive spin on the corecore trend, creating videos that inspire a sense of connectedness and hope for the future, rather than a sense of impending doom. Just know that somewhere online, there is a "core" for you.