Due to the unexpected global pandemic which hit the globe early February 2020. Most countries have been forced to go into a lockdown, observing social distancing. Most lucrative activities have been temporally halted pending the decrease in the virus’ spread, though it is natural for a human’s inability to completely comply to, the “stay home” order given by most governments of countries affected with the pandemic.
The stay home order issued by governments of different nations in other to dim the spread of the virus, has in no doubt left individuals in very tight ordeals forcing them to relive themselves of boredom most especially in recreation and communication. The use of Chinese developed, social networking service, Tiktok around the globe has become notable as more and more teenagers around the world continue to download and register into its broad community. Most contemporary celebrities have queued up to its services making its demand more pressing than that of top social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook within the past two years. The perks involved in the tiktok application is obviously what is drawing teens, children and even adults to itself.
The COVID – 19 scenario has been an unlikely advantage to the massive rise of tiktok, we shall therefore know more about its inception and its journey from the Chinese domestic market to the global village today, and its thrive in spite of the COVID – 19 pandemic.
HISTORY & DEVELOPMENT
Tiktok is a social networking service that involves the sharing of short videos which take 15 to 60 seconds and usually have music or sounds in the video background, at the discretion of the user. The social network was made and launched in 2017 by Chinese tech company, BYTEDANCE. Its release was meant for international access outside China, in accordance with the Chinese internet laws, meant for protecting the privacy of users on the interface and private information is non-accessible to the Chinese government. Reason for tiktok’s use outside the Chinese populace was because, the bytedance company, had earlier established a social media interface in 2012, similar to tiktok, known as DOUYIN [est.2016].
The app was accessible only in the Chinese digital market. With the high demand and interest shown in douyin by the Chinese populace, bytedance then sought to create a similar interface that would serve the same purpose as douyin, but meant for the international market.
Between the intervals of 2018 and 2019, tiktok was declared as the 7th most downloaded app of the decade; from 2010 to 2019, prior to its release in 2017. After it merged in August, 2018 with a quite similar start up, based in China but with an office in the US, called MUSICAL.LY, in which bytedance spent $1 billion to purchase. Tiktok then became the most downloaded app in the US. Musical.ly was also a social media platform that allowed users to create short lip sync videos and comedy videos. Its official release was in August 2014. The merger was able to build a larger video community and thus its users continued to grow in numbers with an estimate of 800 million users, word wide and continues to increase at a very rapid rate.
Tiktok holds the number 1 spot in top downloaded apps on the IOS app store with 104 million downloads, has been downloaded 80 million times in the US and 800 million times word wide. But as earlier said, the perks involved in the app is what captivates almost 50% of the world’s population, most especially teenagers. That is why its consonance with the pandemic is something to converse about. Its history and development, does indeed show its glide throughout the world of social media and video communication, considering the fact that its statics shows that the app continues to grow on a daily basis.
The video sharing platform is known for its challenges; which often involves trending songs, comedy skits, filter challenges and so much more. Apart from these, one other feature that really gets users going is the lip sync perk; it allows most users to sync with funny voices from prominent movie scenes and even comedy videos so as to create an interesting visage of what is being illustrated by the user.
Its home page does involve two sections: for you & following pages. For you page, showcases contents from users not followed and contents shown are based on the choices made by a user upon registry to the service. The following page is quite a private page, since contents are viewed from the user’s followers, as the name implies.
There are so much more features which the app possesses which clearly makes it so distinguished from other existing social networks like Instagram and Facebook.
TIKTOK & QUARANTINE
With the history and development of tiktok and some features explained, lets now go on to see how the network and its relationship with the quarantine have fueled its drive to glory so far, including opinions from a tiktok user, who has taken a personal relationship with the app, after he joined only three weeks ago.
With lockdowns in major countries like the US, UK, Spain etc. Don’t be surprised that economic analysis, have shown that more people have turned to TV, video games and tiktok since they have less or no jobs to engage in, but sit in their home all day observing quarantine. The amount of video contents created in a day by tiktok’s million users could well be up to millions depending though.
The apps robust community sees a collection of creative ideas at almost every second. Many entertainment industries maybe locked down but still entertainers like musical and comedy artistes still set the balls rolling from their homes and making trends which are highly circulated on tiktok.
Most celebrities are now registering massively to the app making it a lot more lucrative and activity filled as they seek to keep their popularity and ego up. Artistes such as; record producer donjazzy, US R&B singer, Jason Derolu, rapper Tyga and so many others have been involved with the app, mostly shooting videos that depict their stay at home state. Even sportsmen, most especially footballers have joined the trend, whiling away time as they stay home without football. The likes of Vinicius Junior, Paul Pogba, Neymar Jr, Zlatan Ibrahimovic etc. have all been participating in most of the challenges put forth by the network.
In an interview with fellow Nigerian “tiktoker”, Yima Tarhemba [tiktok user ID: @yeemah_]. He applauded the app for its ability to bring out creativity in diverse contents. According to him he had only joined the social network three weeks ago, and has been shooting his own contents ever since. Although he joined a few weeks ago, he has been able to bag himself quite a large amount of followers within this short period of time. Yima did also give his opinion about the networks high ratings and reviews over the years and whether it could surpass the existing platforms which have been at the top for quite some time. “For me, I will say yes it deserves such record”, he said “it is so fun. From tiktok you will know that human beings are so creative to come up with such interesting videos”. “It actually deserves a lot of accolades”.
Tiktok does prove to be a measure relief for the citizens of the world, most especially to those in total lockdown due to the COVID- 19 pandemic. It’s fun – filled atmosphere really keeps the users on their toes for something new and creativity driven. Nevertheless, the apps database has a lot of privacy concerns that users who are part of its community should take note of, for their safety. They should also be careful the type of information they give into the tiktok database.
With everything learned about this fast growing social network, it is reassuring that with an app like tiktok, who knows what to expect? As technology and software interfacing continue to revolutionize the social standards between humans changing the way we relate every step of the way. The world pandemic is in a divergent means, changing the modes of communication since social distancing brings you back to your screen, where in as much as socialization is important it could be the only logical way to dim the spread of the the corona virus.
Tiktok’s compelling features and environment is indeed an eminent step in promoting digital creativity and should be utilized well by individuals most especially younger ones in other not to create a web of misunderstanding and misinformation amongst users and non- users.