Publication
Title
Scrolling TikTok to soothe and foster self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic
Author
Abstract
The coronavirus pandemic reinforced the burden of self-care, which was imperative to maintaining positivity and controlling discontent amid uncertainty. Burdened with caring for themselves in the absence of psychological support covered by social health care, individuals resorted to scrolling through algorithm-ridden social media feeds to contain their stress and anxiety. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 36 individuals, this research explores the extent to which TikTok scrolling, which users would "normally" consider a waste of time, became a modality of fostering mental well-being and self-care in Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study initially positions the coronavirus pandemic as a situation that compelled individuals to wait amid uncertainty. The argument weaves anthropological approaches to waiting, critical approaches to self-care, and research on continuous connection to argue distinctive waiting experiences generated different meanings ascribed to TikTok scrolling. The findings center on resorting to algorithmic coping in self-care pursuits and perceiving TikTok scrolling as conducive to gaining practical knowledge, sociality, and physical activity. These understandings are indebted to the pressures of containing discomfort under the uncertainty of the pandemic, which rendered TikTok scrolling useful and meaningful, reducing the guilt attached to the practice. Moreover, the efficacy of algorithms in detaching users from toxic content or delivering useful content constituted a healthy way of engaging with the platform. Both the perception of healthy usage and receiving algorithmic content as contributive to mental well-being marked a shift from wasting time on social media to making time for oneself.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Social Media + Society. - -
Publication
2023
ISSN
2056-3051
DOI
10.1177/20563051231213542
Volume/pages
9 :4 (2023) , p. 1-10
Article Reference
20563051231213542
ISI
001110072200001
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identifier
Creation 09.01.2024
Last edited 11.01.2024
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