TikTok spreads joy in dark times

By Evalyn Soungpanya, Advocate Staff

The coronavirus has taken its toll on everyone. No open movie theaters, restaurants or in-person classes. Some are working from home or doing school from home. It feels like life will not get back to normal anytime soon.

Yet one way people are coping through the shelter-in-place is using the TikTok app, a video-sharing platform where people post short videos of whatever they want. From pranks and story times to memes, it’s become a well-known platform worldwide.

Ever since the stay-at-home order was put in place in mid-March, there has been a limit on entertainment and ways to not go brain-dead staying inside. The sheltering order has also imposed great limitations on social interaction.

Websites and platforms like TikTok have become more relevant when looking for methods of amusement to pass the time in our homes. In the United States, TikTok has seen a rise in weekly plus monthly revenue and downloads.

Analytics firm Sensor Towers reported a 34% rise in revenue and the total number of downloads in the previous month of February to March rose by 27%.

An ongoing trend in the community is the #quarantine, with over 8 billion views on videos using the tag on TikTok. Users are posting videos to explain their dilemmas and ways they are managing life at home across the country in videos for others to see. These videos make it seem like we’re not the only ones stuck inside our homes.

As high schoolers in the app are telling stories of canceled proms, sports seasons and graduations, they’re sharing their disappointment and blame the coronavirus for their canceled events. Adults have also talked about being laid off due to the virus, while others express their concern for their families being away during the lockdown.

But the virus has also brought more goofy and cute videos of families being cooped up and spending time with one another. There’s also a collection of do-it-yourself (DIY) videos on the TikTok platform of crafts to do to keep yourself entertained. Also there has been a rise of cooking videos to do from home.

The app also brought a series of people customizing their hair  to satisfy their boredom — people shaving their heads, dying hair and cutting bangs for the first time ever. It brings something new to the table and maybe you would enjoy doing something new you’ve never tried before. After all, no one is going to see you for a while if you shave your head during the shelter-in-place.

TikTok also launched #HappyAtHome: Live!, a video series where the goal is to “share in a bit of levity, provide some comfort, and embrace the responsibility that we all have to do the right thing by staying inside and stopping the spread,” according to Greg Justice, head of content programming for TikTok U.S.

It’s a program that runs Monday through Friday that viewers can watch every evening at 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time where they’ve partnered with a wide range of celebrities and creators to bring viewers content to enjoy live from the comfort of their homes.

Use the TikTok app on the Discover page and click the #HappyAtHome: Live! banner to watch the program.

Nurses are also going to TikTok. Nurse Kala Baker was on “Good Morning America” sharing about using TikTok  an attempt to bring happiness to others online amid the coronavirus outbreak. The video of her with her colleagues dancing has gained millions of views on the app.

“It’s been amazing to see all the people around the world watching them and sending us their love and support,” Baker said on the show of their work amid the coronavirus outbreak.

While the coronavirus has separated everyone physically, TikTok has been a place where people connect with each other digitally to share their coronavirus experiences, making staying at home not as lonely.