As COVID-19 has emerged and impacted people all around the world, the use of internet has significantly shifted too. The whole world entered into the beginning phases of what will be known as the virtual era. Facebook has released a statement at the beginning of quarantine in America that all of its employees could potentially work remotely for the long run. And Facebook is one of thousands and thousands of companies who decided to do the same. Before the pandemic, the internet was flirting between the lines of being a necessity or being a luxury in terms of facilitating human interactions and relationships. Some may argue that for more of a professional work setting, virtual calls or meetings maybe a necessity. Pertaining to creating friendships or pursuing romantic relationships, some may argue that the numerous amounts of online dating apps may be considered a luxury. Once the pandemic hit the news, the internet is now most definitely a necessity for every reason we could possibly think of – shopping, work, social relationships, entertainment, school, and much more. For all the reasons listed, the ways I have been using the Internet have changed significantly since the start of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, the Internet was a means for social connections and entertainment. Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, Gmail, and messaging platforms were most to all the internet services I was using – all to indulge in entertainment and to connect with people when I was not doing schoolwork. After the pandemic, there are three platforms I started using more than before – Amazon, Zoom, and TikTok.
Since social distancing practices came into motion at the start of quarantine, Amazon became a great necessity for purchasing items without having to be in close distance with people as the virus is going around. With that, Zoom came into play. For meeting up with friends, for company meetings, and for school lectures, Zoom became a crucial part of my daily routine – as well as for most people in America. And as quarantine boredom hit Americans, TikTok emerged as the one of the most used platforms across the world. I, as well as millions of other quarantined people, decided to download TikTok our curiosity and boredom and now I am on TikTok more than any other social media platform.
During the pandemic, TikTok became one of the fastest growing social media platforms with the platform now having about a billion active users. TikTok is a Chinese created video sharing platform where users can create and post videos up to 15 seconds. From creating lip-syncing, dancing, and singing videos, to creating comic videos, and to creating videos that address political and societal issues, TikTok is a platform that reaches out to a wide range of users. To me, TikTok serves to be a gateway for passing by time very quickly – like a fleeting cure for enduring through this strange time of quarantine. With the way the platform was structured, the single swipe up was just opening doors to a plethora of new videos every second. One video after another, my time on the platform always ends up being longer than I had expected. A part of the app’s algorithm is that the videos that will be a part of the main “For You Page” will be catered to the users’ personal interest. So, for me, my feed is filled with singing videos, comedic videos, cooking videos, and fashion and lifestyle videos. While others may have lots of niche interest videos, sports videos, dancing videos or more. Going onto TikTok, I look forward to getting a good laugh and to finding new tips about cooking. It was a platform that is filled with a lot anticipation and positive energy for a user like me who often gets very weary spending quarantine isolated from my best friends and regular community. I know that every single time I would go on TikTok I would not be disappointed in the content that I see and that it would be new and fresh. There is nothing generic nor repetitive about TikTok for me
On TikTok’s main web page, immediately users are introduced to the already created TikTok videos that capture your attention. It says in bold white, “Make Your Day. Real People. Real Videos. Watch Now,” with a working link that would lead you to the For You Page to watch all the videos posted. That is one unique thing about TikTok as a social media platform – a person does not have to be a registered user in order to view and search the content. From the get-go, TikTok is inviting people to explore the app without any sort of obligation to the app itself. In this very sense, it seems as if the app is proposing to gain users’ trust to really see and understand how exciting the app is. The bold invitation makes no indication that the app is for a certain group of people – rather, the app opens itself to be a place for all types of users from all over the world.
As many the use of the internet has changed significantly within a span of 6 months, TikTok has been integrated into the lives of millions and millions of people. The emerging app provided a brand-new form entertainment and, possibly, and space to seek advice/tips and to express oneself in his/her most creative way.
image from https://logos-world.net/tiktok-logo/