A social media entrepreneur is celebrating twice this week as he graduates from the University of Dundee as well as marking the two-year anniversary of his now-viral TikTok account.
Italian Davide Patron jumped in popularity online by sharing English language tips which especially gained traction amongst his followers from his home country.
Two years on, the 22-year-old amasses ten million views per month on the video-sharing platform and has gained over one million followers across both TikTok and Instagram.
The finance graduand, from Mogliano Veneto, is fluent in English, but it’s his received pronunciation that has made him a popular online teacher of the language.
In conversation, Mr Patron leaves no traces of his Italian accent and he found that friends, family and strangers wanted to learn this way of speaking the language.
During the first lockdown in 2020, his friends encouraged him to start posting on TikTok, a time when the app’s download stats had boomed.
“During lockdown I was in Barcelona on Erasmus,” he said, “I was already helping my friends with English, giving some tips and tricks on how to pronounce words and phrases, things that I’ve learnt throughout the years.
“At that time my friends were using TikTok for fun and I thought it had great potential. I thought I’d use it for something positive, educational in this case, and started posting my tips and tricks. Within a week, one of the videos exploded and went viral. Lots of people loved my content and the feedback was very positive. People said I made learning fun, so I carried on.
“I never thought this venture would grow as far as it has. I started it just for fun and because I wanted to help people learn English in a relatively fun way.”
Over the past couple of years, he has turned his online success into a business, publishing a book titled English Survival Kit, and selling online courses to those eager to learn how to perfect their English pronunciation.
Although he has found great success online and has plans to continue the mini lessons, the TikTokker has decided to also explore other career options.
He added: “I’m definitely going to carry on doing what I’m doing.
“But there’s a few other things I want to explore too. My parents are supportive but slightly sceptical of my online success and how it will work in the long run. Luckily for them I have a grad scheme lined up.
“My plan after graduating is to move to Glasgow. I really like Scotland and want to stay in the country.”
Despite his love for Scotland, Davide is yet to film a video introducing Scottish phrases to his fellow Italians.
“I do have plans for a ‘Scottish week’ on my accounts,” he said, “I’ll look at pronunciation and slang, but I need my friends’ help for those videos!”
Dundee University’s graduation ceremonies take place from June 22 until 24.
Thousands of 2020 and 2021 graduates will also return to Dundee from June 28 until July 1 for special ceremonies in lieu of their original graduations, which were unable to be held in person due to Covid-19 restrictions.