How TikTok served as a platform for young people to share and cope with lived COVID-19 experiences


  • Daniel Klug Carnegie Mellon University
  • Morgan Evans Carnegie Mellon University
  • Geoff Kaufman Carnegie Mellon University



TikTok, social media, lived experiences, video creation, parasocial action


The short-video app TikTok saw a large increase in usage during the COVID-19 lockdown because it provided entertainment, distraction, and social interaction based on video content engagement. We present results from an interview study with 28 U.S. TikTok users on how they shared and engaged with lived pandemic experiences on TikTok to cope with and socialize after the U.S. imposed its first lockdown. Participants had already established TikTok as a peer community platform on which sharing lived experiences felt appropriate. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, participants started to look for TikTok videos of shared lived pandemic experiences to interact with others when physical interaction was made impossible. We find that TikTok videos facilitated communication and parasocial interaction based on known audiovisual styles. Participants were able to communicate through video creation based on shared ways of presenting short-video content during COVID-19 physical distancing.


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How to Cite

Klug, D., Evans, M., & Kaufman, G. (2023). How TikTok served as a platform for young people to share and cope with lived COVID-19 experiences. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 38(73), 152–170.