Dance routines, dark humour, and a battle against fake news are blowing up across the platform
Coronavirus is here (ICYMI) and it’s shutting down pretty much everything, from Coachella to Greta Thunberg’s climate strikes (although she’s taking the movement online) and tour dates from big names including BTS and Billie Eilish. That’s not to mention the whole cities on lockdown in places such as Italy and China.
As a result, the internet has become pretty much the only place that people can gather and communicate without getting paranoid about touching someone’s cough droplets and getting infected.
Even those that are infected and have to self-isolate aren’t completely stranded when there are thousands of other people going through the same thing, who are available at the tap of a thoroughly-sanitised thumb (or un-sanitised, for that matter). As always, you have to wonder: what did people do before the internet?
TikTok is, of course, the hub for the coronavirus conversation, generally veering away from the hysteria of mums panic-buying toilet roll (Facebook) and threads containing blatant misinformation (Donald Trump’s Twitter).
Here, we look at a few of the ways that TikTokers are coping with the pandemic.
WITH DARK HUMOUR, OF COURSE
Extreme measures such as stockpiling food and self-quarantine have become increasingly normal as coronavirus spreads across the world, but predictably the internet’s sense of humour hasn’t gone away. Cue TikTok users dancing while they survey their family’s extensive food and toilet paper reserves, or memeing the possibility of catching the virus.
There’s also the tongue-in-cheek discussion of some of the dark conspiracy theories that have been liberally thrown around on the internet (to a track titled “Overthinker”, no less). Honestly, though? A good laugh at a time like this isn’t to be underestimated.
WITH DANCE ROUTINES
It’s not like TikTokers are just in it for the memes, either. A movement sharing handy hygiene tips (no pun intended) and advice on how to avoid catching coronavirus is helping people stay alert and safe.
See: a viral hand-washing-based dance choreographed by Vietnamese dancer Quang Dang and set to a PSA song by lyricist Khac Hun, with Vietnam’s National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health. Since being shared on TikTok, the song has blown up, with the hashtag gaining over 80 million views as users share their own takes.
WITH UNOFFICIAL CORONAVIRUS THEME SONGS
Lipsyncing videos are a mainstay on TikTok, which encourages users to borrow and rework other users’ audio, so it’s really not surprising that a few coronavirus bops have taken off. Probably the most notable example of these is “It’s Corona Time” – a sound clip that’s based on “Don’t Stop the Rock” by Freestyle – which features in over 630,000 videos so far.
AND INFORMATION HELPING TO DISPEL FAKE NEWS
When it comes to keeping informed on coronavirus, a hot take on Twitter (or at your own dining table, unless your mum’s an epidemiologist or something) probably isn’t going to cut it. However, it’s pretty difficult to escape the overwhelming amount of opinions on the virus, and even more difficult to know what to believe.
We’ve already seen the World Health Organisation take advantage of TikTok to offer advice and combat misinformation, after the platform came under fire for hosting a series of hoax videos on the outbreak.
Other users have since taken audio from the WHO’s TikTok to soundtrack scenes of cities on lockdown and empty supermarket shelves. And to dance to, ofc. Either way, at least the message is getting around (wash your hands, people).
Read Dazed’s guide for more advice on stopping the spread of coronavirus lies and misinformation.