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Florida teen is the ’CEO of nice’ to his 1.7M TikTok followers

Sam Howard
Palm Beach Post

JUPITER — Even at 18 years old, Larry Scott is thinking about how to change the world for the better.

He’s worked toward that goal this summer, seconds at a time. And people — hundreds of thousands of them — are taking notice.

The recent Jupiter High grad has amassed 1.7 million followers on the burgeoning short video social media platform TikTok. Some of his videos have been watched millions of times over.

Recently profiled by BuzzFeed News and reviewed by a New York Times critic, Scott is known among many of his fans as the “CEO of nice.” The Times’s headline dubbed him the “Most Soothing Man on TikTok.” 

On TikTok, talented dancing and clever special effects often reign supreme. But Scott’s work follows a simple, recurring formula.

Larry Scott, 18, from Jupiter, who has 1.6 million followers on Tik Tok poses for a photograph at the West Jupiter Recreation Center Friday August 21, 2020 in Jupiter. Scott will play basketball at Keiser University. [MEGHAN MCCARTHY/palmbeachpost.com]

Using the platform’s duet feature that allows one user to record themselves alongside another video, Scott tapes himself offering restrained, but wholesome, words of encouragement to other users.

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The videos almost invariably entail Scott saying “Nice” or “Oh, nice.” He smiles and nods his head, sometimes giving a thumbs up. Maybe he’ll have a hand on his head and say “whoa.”

“The biggest thing is how positive he is,” said Holly Meyer Lucas, a local Realtor. “It’s so refreshing to see someone who isn’t trying to go viral.”

After coming across Scott’s videos, Meyer Lucas spoke with the teen this summer and pitched him an idea for a TikTok ad promoting her real estate business, Meyer Lucas Team at Compass Florida LLC.

Scott’s creative talent was so apparent, Meyer Lucas said “he took it and ran with it.” The video showed some of Scott’s classic reactions alongside images of a home for sale in Miami-Dade County. Posted to TikTok Aug. 11, the video has been watched more than 139,000 times.

Scott said he first joined TikTok in the summer of 2019. He was injured in a basketball tournament and had extra time on his hands.

But it wasn’t until this summer when he started filming reaction videos in earnest. From there, Scott said his account went “insanely viral.”

His reactions to cooking videos regularly draw more than 1 million views. For those, Scott said he tries to record himself watching the clips for the very first time, saying, “I want the reaction to be pure.” He estimates spending up to an hour a day looking for TikTok videos to react to.

There isn’t exactly a rigorous vetting process for videos he chooses. Scott said it more or less boils down to “if I find it interesting enough.”

Comments on Scott’s videos offer a glimpse of what fans think: “This man deserves everything in life.” “He is just pure happiness and good vibes.” “I want someone to look at me the way you just looked at that food.”

Scott’s mother, Terry Smith, said she isn’t surprised at her son’s popularity and online reputation. Smith said she hears compliments all the time about Scott’s kindly disposition.

“I wouldn’t have been shocked that he’d do something great, but this was a shocker because it was so unexpected,” she said. “Like TikTok, really?”

Scott, too, acknowledges some bafflement. He’s overwhelmed by the support.

“I wouldn’t be here without any of my followers,” Scott said. “They didn’t have to support me saying only three words and constantly loving it and loving it. I wouldn’t be here without them.“

TikTok has, of course, become part of the U.S. political discourse this summer. President Donald Trump’s administration has threatened to ban TikTok in the United States, calling the Chinese-owned platform a threat to personal data and national security.

Scott isn’t too worked up about the prospects of a ban or recent news that Microsoft could buy a portion of TikTok.

“I feel like it’s good and bad. It’s good because it protects our privacy,” Scott said. “But at the same thing, a lot of people, their livelihood depends on TikTok, so I feel like that’s also bad.”

Scott said he’s following a mantra of “whatever happens, happens” for his online presence. He might start a YouTube account after he starts this fall at Keiser University, where he plans to study sports medicine.

For now, Scott said he’s pursuing a dream of playing professional basketball. Playing since elementary school, the sport is his offline passion. Scott’s mom called basketball “truly his thing.” He garnered large school honorable mention recognition in The Palm Beach Post’s boys basketball Best of Preps list this year. Scott plans to play at Keiser.

But if that career route doesn’t pan out, Scott said social media has emerged as a worthy fallback.

Like basketball, he takes his TikTok account — specifically the positive outlook it offers his followers — seriously.

They see there’s still good people out there,“ Scott said. ”Especially with all the negativity and everything that’s going on in the world, especially during this year calendar year 2020. I feel like I can be that sense of motivation or inspiration to push them to be positive as well and then try to help change the world.“

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.