TikTok, coronavirus and the power of movement 

How international organisations and influencers are using the power of dance on TikTok to ‘move’ people in the battle against coronavirus. TikTok, a social media platform known for its viral video dance memes has joined Twitter, Facebook and YouTube by flagging reliable sources of information in a button at the bottom of all coronavirus content.

The platform, with it’s 500 million global monthly active users, is vital in the fight against coronavirus – especially when reaching younger audiences.

Here are some of my favourites which both stay true to the platform’s irreverent culture, while pushing important health messages.

@unicefFive ways to protect yourself and loved ones from ##coronavirus ##covid19.♬ Please Don’t Go(Snap Your Life) – Joel Adams

In a few slick dance moves, UNICEF has managed to condense all of the WHO’s key messages on coronavirus prevention into one extremely loopable TikTok.

@britishredcrossLess handshakes, more elbow bumps 🤝 ❌ 💪 ##coronavirus ##ohnanachallenge ##covid19 ##fyp ##foryoupage♬ NANANA – __liene__

The British Red Cross has linked the need to reduce contact by bumping elbows

@ifrcWhat can you do to lower your risk of ##coronavirus ? More hand washing, less face touching 🧼 🤲 ##covid19 ##edutok ##savealife♬ #Pikachu – saitejabølthe

The IFRC shows us how to wash hands properly.

@im.quangdangCùng nâng cao và bảo vệ sức khỏe bằng cách lan tỏa ##vudieuruatay Bạn sẵn sàng tham gia cùng Đăng chứ? 😉 ##quangdang ##tiktokvietnam♬ Ghen Cô Vy (Vũ Điệu Rửa Tay) – Khắc Hưng, MIN, ERIK

Vietnamese dancer, Quang Dang reinterpreted a popular coronavirus solidarity song into a dance – using WHO and UNICEF handwashing guidance. The dance quickly went viral, replicated on the American talk show, Tonight with John Oliver and individuals across the world using the hashtag #ghenvoychallenge. 

These viral videos show that the power of movement can really ‘move’ people into action if used in the right way. Of course, TikTok is not all all laughter and light. Many users are using the platform to post discriminatory videos targeted at people of Asian descent. Others are also spreading misinformation.

With the rise of TikTok as a genuine social media powerhouse, it’s more important than ever for trusted organisations to be present on the channel – and relay reliable information in creative ways.

Author: Samuel Waterton

Sam Waterton is a UNICEF Communications Officer in New York specialising in social media. His current campaigns advocate for the protection of children affected by conflict, natural disasters, public health emergencies and climate change. Previously, Sam worked as a Digital Editor in London at BBC Media Action. In addition to studying for a masters in Communication for Development, Sam holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations. He is interested in harnessing social media for C4D, environmental and social justice issues.

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