The Gist


If you have a platform to influence thousands of people, make sure you're influencing them to do the right and responsible things.

/ 2 December 2020

As TikTok continues to grow as a social media platform infused with bite-sized clips of entertainment, a new wave of personalities have grown in popularity alongside it. These are content creators that have garnered thousands of viewers for their dance covers, challenges, duet collaboration videos, and more—which are some of the most popular themes on the platform.

With the speed in which TikTok has grown, especially during quarantine when everybody’s constantly on their phones searching for distraction rabbit holes and such, many TikTokers have gotten their huge following with just a few viral and successful videos online. Perhaps because of this, the responsibility of having such a platform and following hasn’t been fully realized yet by some of these instant “influencers”.

Earlier this month, a particular TikTok video went viral on Twitter not because of a hypnotizing dance cover, or hilarious challenge, but because of the important message it presented with the in-app Duet feature. The video, on one side, showed around 10 local TikTok “influencers” meeting up for collaboration challenges, while on the other side, the camera was focused on one medical personnel decked out in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with text that says, “Is it really that hard to practice safety protocols?”

The quick video is a stark reminder of a battle we’re still fighting everyday. Even if to most of us who aren’t directly affected by the pandemic, it’s easy to forget why we’re under quarantine in the first place.

The video was shot as a Duet clip to the behind-the-scenes update of local TikToker Hazel Grace, more commonly known as @ queenluvs14, who was documenting a get-together with other creators with no observation of social distancing, or not even a face mask and face shield (which Filipinos are mandated to wear at all times outdoors). Realizing her mistake, Hazel immediately posted a series of apology videos and reminders for her young viewers to follow safety protocols.

But as the Tweet went viral, a lot of people online were emphasizing the danger of these types of content for young viewers, as Hazel and most of her friends are teen creators with followers that are just as young as them. The risk present in the situation doesn’t only lie on the possible spread of an untraced COVID-19 virus within the group, but also in the wide circulation of the false reality that social gatherings are perfectly acceptable now. When, in fact, the Philippines’ new active cases are still going up by the thousands per day, and the virus is still yet to be properly contained.

It’s understandable that a lot of us are growing restless in our homes because of the prolonged quarantine regulations, but it’s important to remember why we’re doing it to begin with, and that’s to prevent the wider spread of the virus. As more and more people are beginning to go back outside for non-essential travel and trips to the malls, it’s crucial to note that everyone should still wear the appropriate protective gear that now represents the so-called New Normal.

This is precisely why it’s imperative for individuals to promote the proper behavior expected at this time, especially those who have the platform to communicate and be heard by thousands of people with one video. As the cliché Spiderman quote says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” That’s the cold hard truth for everyone, and not just superheroes. It’s true for thought leaders, government officials, celebrities, teachers, doctors, lawyers, content creators, and even to us mere humans with seemingly no authority over anything.

In case you’ve forgotten, the world is still facing a global pandemic, with a lot of countries going back into lockdown after easing regulations because of a spike in new cases, or the “second wave.”

In the Philippines, we’ve had a total of 432,925 COVID cases as of writing, and the only way to stop further damages is to do our part in maintaining social distancing, regular washing of hands, and wearing face masks and face shields every time we come in contact with other people outside. We’re all required to follow these protocols, and no type of content—no matter how entertaining—excludes anyone from them.