The year 2020 will be definitely remembered as an epoch of unprecedented challenges causing fear, uncertainty and anxiety across the globe. In the efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, the government implemented protective measures such as community quarantines, the mandatory wearing of masks and PPEs, physical distancing, and travel restrictions. These mitigating measures on movement and social activities resulted in the closure of many businesses, disruption of transportation, and loss of jobs. With a lot going on, coping mechanisms were developed, which propel people to get accustomed to the digital world as transactions, in general, shifted towards it. People nowadays turn to social media not just to keep themselves abreast of the current news or to avail needed services but also to latch onto cheerful contents as their emotional outlet. This led the TikTok app to grow exponentially in terms of popularity.
This communal app has captivated people of all ages, interests, and abilities that even law professors joined in the “Pass the Codal” challenge along with their students. Other notable videos include artists showing the process of making their masterpieces, educators giving quick trivia facts with visual illustrations, Filipinos dancing to “Fight Song” to show their appreciation to the frontliners, celebrities starting a trend that people take as a challenge, and many more. This app has been creatively and strategically leveraged into many uses that help people keep their sanity intact amidst the pandemic blues with mind-nurturing, lighthearted and fun contents such as these viral TikTok challenges, comical skits, educational and motivational videos. Businesses fighting to thrive have also joined the wave by capitalising on the platform with their marketing content as they find it an effective avenue for brand building. These are the things that paved the way for TikTok to rise notches above its competitors.
Tiktok has encouraged creativity, active participation, and social engagement. Social isolation has never become a hindrance for people to connect, as participating in the trends somehow make people feel like they are part of something larger and the validating feeling of having a shared experience to discuss with others is something. It has undeniably become a destressing sanctuary as it helped us redirect our focus to other things for some time which is essential to our mental well-being. Although indulging in this app could never substitute professional help, little things could make a difference in a person’s life. The surge of users joining in only means that people at present have a common need, which is to have instant gratification to at least fight off the multiple stressors brought about by the pandemic.