TikTok is the marmite of social media. You either know how to dance to Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’, or you quickly swipe past every TikTok video that pops up on your feed. Although I know a fair share of people who find TikTok videos to be a little too cringy, it was the second-most downloaded app of 2019, so it obviously has some appeal.
TikTok’s popularity has certainly not died down under lockdown. Our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds see TikTok trends and videos circulating daily. Like other social media, users can tag their videos with hashtags, with the videos under tagged #lockdown currently adding up 12.3 billion views. Why has TikTok been so successful in lockdown and how is it helping us cope with the current situation?
Unlike other apps, TikTok does not require its users to follow people to start accessing content. The ‘For You’ page features trending and popular videos and begins to show you videos that you might like based on your consumption, such as the videos you like and hashtags you follow. Having these popular videos show up straight away makes the app easy to use.
TikTok hosts a range of different video styles
TikTok trends are also fairly easy to get on board with. The dances require just enough effort to take the time to learn them, but they’re not impossible for beginners. According to my mum, a teacher, TikTok dances have become a language of the playground that most teachers have no understanding of and continue to let children, teenagers, and adults alike connect over social media.
While the dance routines tend to be the most popular videos on the app, TikTok hosts a range of different video styles. I get inspiration from all sorts of accounts – from tours of Animal Crossing islands to meal inspiration from the quick-paced cooking videos. As a language student, I like to watch videos in my target language whether they be educational or just for fun, with my favourite user being @repetezsilvousplait.
A lot of the criticism that comes with social media is that people are simply doing things for the sake of their social media presence to gain followers. However, at a time when we don’t have much to do, creating videos in lockdown is simply another way to keep yourself entertained.
Sometimes all we need is some time to relax and watch funny videos
Yes, I could simply bake myself some brownies and enjoy myself but creating a video along the way provides another sense of purpose. Not only can you enjoy baking itself, but you get the enjoyment of finding a good angle to film from, adding a voiceover or finding the perfect song, and editing the video ready for TikTok. This process goes for anything; creating art, dancing, redecorating your room, dying your hair, or even more niche hobbies like hula hopping or roller-skating.
Not only is TikTok a creative outlet for showcasing hobbies and gaining inspiration, but it is also a minefield of comedy. I would agree that it will never quite compare to Vine, but you can find a whole host of entertaining and sometimes bizarre humour on this app. A couple of popular accounts of this description include @frankiesfun and @brittany_broski. Sometimes all we need is some time to relax and watch funny videos without the looming pressure of lockdown productivity over our heads. This is the great thing about TikTok, it gives us the best of both worlds.
It may not be for everyone, but for those who do enjoy it, TikTok is making lockdown that little bit easier. Social media in all its forms is allowing us to connect at a time when it is not so easy to, with TikTok trends being no exception.