If you don't know what TikTok is, you better find out right now. "It's only for Gen Z", "I don't need to see videos of people dancing", or "It's just not for me" are all phrases that run through each newcomers head before then succumbing to the dark side.
Before lockdown, I can honestly say I didn't really know that much about TikTok (and those same questions ran through my head before I eventually succumbed, too). It took me a while to properly appreciate the original content for what it was. Why was that you ask? Because I hadn't yet begun to connect and empathise with TikTok'ers through shared experience.
Living alone in isolation can be tough, and videos of different people going through the same thing, made me feel less alone. "In it together", as they say. The icing on the cake? The ability to believe your situation to be a bit lighter with a bit of comedy. Laughing at ourselves, at a shared or relatable situation, is one of the most binding experiences (in my opinion, at least).
I agree with the below view - TikTok isn't popular because its a distraction - but connection. And it's connection in every sense of the word - across generations, across the world. Everyone needs to feel connection, no matter what generation you hail from. It's also a way for grandparents to connect with their grandkids in a new way, for family's to unite and do something together for social media (novel concept, no?).
The question is whether the TikTok hype will survive post lockdown. When we'll spend less time inside, return to work and meet up with friends in person. I can't speak for Gen Z, but its likely the Millennials and Boomers might abandon ship... but as a Millennial i'm not considering it anytime soon.
Throughout lockdown, headlines have been describing TikTok as a perfect distraction from lockdown conditions, but I don’t think that’s quite right. It doesn’t distract so much as reflect the conditions back to us. TikToks are often compelling precisely because they capture the experience of isolation – the creative ingenuity that can come of it; the drive to entertain ourselves and others; the desire for a tenuous connection to a generalised world.