Even if you don’t know what it is or how it works, you will have heard of TikTok, the social media channel that has very much taken over the world (well, the world of under 25 year olds anyway). It is immensely popular, and has also become famous due to the celebrity figures that regularly use it to catch up on the millions of views they haven’t gained on any particular day.
In recent times, the platform has become even more widely used. And this has generally been attributed to the fact that the vast majority of the world’s population is in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
There is obviously something about TikTok that makes it attractive to people who have to stay indoors for the majority of the day. But what is it?
It is fun, and it’s as simple as that. TikTok is attractive to teenagers because it allows them to engage in activities that they like to do. Teens love to laugh with friends for hours at a time while they are pretty much just hanging out.They also like to dance to their favourite music. It’s a crazy, fun time being a teenager, and that almost instant shot of fun that TikTok delivers fits into that life very easily.
TikTok is all about quick fixes. At the heart of the platform is music. You can have a TikTok video that has 15 seconds of music in it. During those 15 seconds you can lip-sync and dance, or just dance. This is where the real popularity of the platform has sprung up.
You can also have clips that are up to a minute long if you have no music in them. And that’s about it. No long-form stuff here.
When you are stuck inside for prolonged periods of time, at some point you will want to get silly and have fun doing it. So with the option to shoot a short video, and a further option to shoot the video to a favourite song, it makes perfect sense to fire up TikTok and just go crazy.
Between January and March of this year, as the virus raged and Lockdown was looming, the platform saw a 23% increase in average viewing time. In other words, it started to blow up in popularity as part of the impact of COVID-19.
Another key aspect of TikTok and its success is the community it creates. Throughout the centuries, people have wanted to fit in and to belong, and during Lockdown, users of TikTok have been regularly setting and completing dance challenges.
The impact of this ‘gamification’ cannot be ignored. People love being part of huge online community events (remember the ice bucket challenge?) and TikTok is really starting to become a focal point for people to come together and take part in such happenings.
Add to this the fact that a user can set up their own challenges or just dance along to something they and their friends like,and you can see why TikTok is the perfect platform for Lockdown conditions.
And what’s really important to remember here is that gaming is truly social. The COVID-19 outbreak has pulled people together on TikTok, allowing them to communicate with people they know (and don’t know), while essentially playing large-scale games.
And it’s fun
TikTok doesn’t release info on algorithms or usage, so the platform simply relies upon ‘what it does’ to bring value. Users experience it, and that experience alone is what builds it into their lives.
Facebook and Twitter may have a social element, but these platforms haven’t mastered (or they have left behind) the crucial element to TikTok that makes it one of the most popular platforms today. That element is simplicity.
To understand why TikTok is so big in lockdown and self-isolation, you only need to use it. It’s current prominence will last as long as it stays fun, easy to access, and capable of connecting isolated people with other isolated people.
This article first appeared on Locowise.com.
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