With people stuck at home self-isolating, TikTok has seen a spike in users and downloads as more people try to get their videos to go as viral as COVID-19. Sorry, the joke had to be made.
According to Music Business Worldwide, the video app saw an 18 percent increase in downloads, and was downloaded 2 million times between March 16 and 22, an increase from the previous week’s 1.7 million, Sensor Tower reported. The app also saw a 27 percent increase in the first 23 days of March compared to February with 6.2 million downloads.
As even more folks suck it and stay housebound, it appears that they’re both looking for some distraction from the world outside and nothing is scratching that itch like trying to go viral (for real, are we still allowed to call them that?) themselves.
Even people that may not have normally downloaded TikTok have taken to the app (myself included) to try their hand at the short form videos that have taken the world by storm. Many people have created content making light of COVID-19 and the precautions many people take as they self-isolate, such as comedian Chrissie Mayr, who created a video of herself wiping down her apartment, bestowing on herself the mantle of the “CoronAvenger.”
Another trend on TikTok is the #DistanceDance, which are simple, lighthearted videos of people dancing while self-isolating, started by Charli d’Amelio.
Other users used the hashtag #boredathome to show just how they’re passing the time, while bored stuck in the house. The trend uses Curtis Roach’s all too relatable song “Bored in the House,” an earworm that just repeats what so many of us feel, which is bored.
Conversely, #happyathome shows other ways people are staying busy while quarantined at passing the time either amusingly or positively like Garden Marcus, who said he’s taking the time to work on mental health and physical fitness.
Other platforms have seen major increases in usage as more people search for an online escape. Video streaming platform Twitch saw a 31 percent increase in viewership over the last two weeks, according to StreamElements. In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook executives Alex Schultz (VP of Analytics) and Jay Parikh (VP of Engineering) revealed that usage has increased over 50 percent in countries hit hardest by the virus, and video messaging on apps like Messenger and WhatsApp has doubled.
Word to the wise: read TikTok’s community guidelines before you start trying your hand at making funny videos, because some content, like that which may be dubbed sexually explicit, will automatically get flagged on the platform. So raunchy, blue humor is not suggested, even if people on Instagram think it’s hilarious. Not that I learned that firsthand…or anything.