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TikTok goes the clock I Maureen Good

The internet is historically unprecedented. The technological age and the world-wide-web have revolutionised the way we communicate, creating an online society where space and time become condensed, with a world of information available at a second’s notice.

With it emerged the culture of social media, with the younger generations adopting this new language as if it were their mother tongue. Of all these platforms, the newest social media phenomenon is one that remains puzzling for a wide proportion of the population. TikTok, a sixty second video sharing application, has taken the world by storm by adopting and furthering central tenets of social media: sharing content has never been so easy in this endless scroll format. Thousands of content creators have taken to this new app to communicate their ideas with thousands more users, combining the brevity of Instagram stories with the editing complexity of YouTube videos.

The question must be posed, however, of the interest of such platforms – as the argument goes, social media and its short-content format can be mind-numbing, stifling independent thought and alertness. And indeed, TikTok can seem overly superficial, its primary function being entertainment, with dance trends and funny voice-overs going viral and attracting widespread attention. However, the value of such platforms lies not in their capacity for distraction but in their ability to spread awareness of sociological issues: through TikTok’s ‘for you’ feature, content is catered to users for them to deepen their understanding of various issues in concise explanations, grabbing the user’s attention in brief bursts. Thus, if TikTok seems superficial, its short format also makes for an accessible way to communicate, connect, and educate – a quality needed now more than ever during these trying times.

Have you found social media to be a resource for social interaction and education?

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