Staying Connected: Battling Isolation During a Global Pandemic

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Staying Connected: Battling Isolation During a Global Pandemic

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This music note is the logo for Tik-Tok, the reigning social media outlet that allows account holders to both create and view content in the form of 15-120 second videos. As of 2020, there are an estimated 65.9 million monthly active Tik-Tok users in the United States alone (Statista). Although the app was created in 2016, it skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic and saw a 75% increase in weekly average users from January to September of 2020 (Forbes). I, among millions of others, joined those figures when I created my Tik-Tok account in late March of 2020. When school closed indefinitely earlier that month and my job followed a few weeks after, my meticulously structured daily routine was thrown into a state of disarray. As mounting uncertainty grew over whether it was safe to leave our homes at all, the four walls of my bedroom transformed into a prison. I was perpetually shackled to my bed, spending every day in a continuous cycle of sleep that lacked a beginning or an end. That was until I discovered Tik-Tok. Suddenly, I had a reason to wake up in the morning, anticipating the stream of new videos that would appear on my carefully crafted “for you page”. I spent hours glued to my phone screen, fascinated by the small glimpses into the lives of people who were just as bored as I was. I appreciate Tik-Tok for the fleeting but much needed moments of laughter and distraction it supplied me with throughout the pandemic, but the app holds value to me because it showed me that I was not alone. In the early weeks of quarantine, I spent countless nights in pure distress over what I believed was “wasted time”, and it felt as if I was on the fast track to loosing years of my life. However, Tik-Tok showed me that these feelings did not belong to me alone. Countless other people felt the same way I did, and this knowledge put into perspective the importance of staying connected. My cycle of isolation left me alone with my feelings in a vacuum, but once I opened myself up to the outside world through Tik-Tok, I found solace in the online community of people who shared the same sentiments I did but chose joy and laughter instead of sorrow and despair. Tik-Tok provided me with the support I needed by allowing me to witness the happiness of others, eventually prompting me to create my own.

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This item was submitted on September 16, 2021 by Grace Kevin-Aligah using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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