How One Social Platform is Helping People Cope with COVID-19
When the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) first hit Wuhan, China in late 2019, the entire world could never have predicted that this seemingly mild epidemic would become a global pandemic that would ultimately change the way humans work, travel, live and socialize.
At the start of March 2020, the need for a nationwide lock-down became mandatory for several countries around the world. Governments across Asia, Europe, and North America began closing their borders and enforcing social distancing in a bid to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Tourists and business travellers in countries that were already experiencing the devastating impact of COVID-19 were required to make an immediate exit. The eerie quietness that now surrounds major cities and previously booming tourist hot spots has left a lot of people in a dismal state. A world that once seemed large and open now seems more constricted than ever.
For a long time, social media has played a vital role in connecting people around the world. With the enforcement of social distancing, humans now have to predominantly rely on virtual connections in order to socialize or stay in touch with friends and colleagues. More so than ever, social media has become a necessary tool for survival. Aside from being a mode of connection, it also provides a much needed distraction for several internet users. As more people stay at home or work from home, we can expect a heavier reliance on social media for both news updates and entertainment.
From observation, users who have expressed that they find the news to be a cause of stress and anxiety are now shifting their attention to more light-hearted content on platforms such as Tik Tok and Instagram. Apparently, sharing and consuming such content has become more of a coping mechanism for such users.
Popular video sharing app, Tik Tok initially launched in China in 2016. By late 2017, its parent company, ByteDance had purchased Musical.ly, a platform where users created and shared short lip-sync videos. While this platform was already well known and used among Gen Zers, it wasn’t until the emergence of Tik Tok as we know it that more millennials began to join in.
These days, current users share highly entertaining content centred on not just lip-syncing but also dance, comedy and even fashion/ lifestyle. The app, which is powered by some of the most cutting edge artificial intelligence technology, has grown to about 800 million monthly active users worldwide.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Tik Tok users are observing social distancing and passing time by sharing entertaining videos from their living rooms. Celebrities and influencers alike are at the forefront of some of the trending content being shared on the platform. From creating outfit of the day/styling videos to cooking videos and even fun make up tutorials, we’re seeing more possibilities with Tik Tok videos than ever before. However, the core of the app still very much remains music and dance-related content. Several users are creating and re-creating fun dance routines with their families in a bid to keep themselves and their social media community entertained while practicing social distancing.
At a time when a lot of individuals feel pressured to scroll through other social platforms for news updates surrounding the Coronavirus, entertaining apps like TikTok provide a healthy and much needed distraction. As a matter of fact, several research studies have shown that dancing can significantly impact a person’s mood and lower stress and anxiety. This could be why so many people are not only sharing but also consuming a lot more dance-related content from the platform.
As the world waits for the Coronavirus to pass, we can expect more users on the social video app to emerge; at the very least, we will see a significant increase in the number of people who watch Tik Tok videos or share them on other social media platforms. It’s great to see the power of video content and more specifically how Tik Tok is helping the world dance its way through a very difficult time.