TikTok And The Romanticisation Of Slow Living And Anti-Toxic Productivity.
To quote Phoebe Bridgers (a well-loved artist on TikTok) ‘romanticise a quiet life, there’s no place like my room’. This is the sentiment which has prevailed on a significant proportion of TikTok content within the past two years and refers to the dramatic shift which occurred in the type of content posted by users online around the time of covid 19.
Users have made the switch from posting about all the fun outgoing things they have been doing to posting morning routines, bad mental health days and mindfulness techniques. But why is this?
A popular critique of social media over the past years has been that it is only a highlight reel of life and doesn’t show a real representation of what goes on in people’s lives.
Instagram has especially played a big part in maintaining this illusion. The culture that has built up around the app has been one which encourages users to share an edited version of themselves and although posting ‘casually’ on Instagram has become more popular this is still an example of posting a curated version of what goes on in your life.
The change from hyper-curated content to more true-to-life content came about firstly from TikTok. As the world was drawn into their homes with the spread of Covid-19 users had no choice but to share content from their homes. This meant that users could no longer share a range of different types of content such as travel pictures, restaurant reviews and event content. This meant that for content creators who made a living off of the restaurant or events industry, the type of content that they now needed to post shifted to being inside.
Over the course of lockdown, the focus of content shifted from being about filling your life with as many events as possible and more about taking time to dedicate to yourself and spending the now free time on activities such as meditation and fitness.
For many young people who are not influencers. This meant a lot of time being spent in their rooms doing very little. To combat this, more online communities gained popularity and were starting to be seen over the for you pages of thousands of young people. These included #BookTok, #DIY and #HomeDecor. Focusing on activities such as crocheting and reading which take up significant amounts of time became especially attractive.
This change also came alongside a pushback against so-called ’toxic productivity’. Users are constantly presented with content from users who are showcasing their lives minute to minute as though they are productive all day and have no downtime. This has been especially prevalent within #DayInMyLife tiktok’s where users seem to be always on the go. This pushback as coming after many creators have pointed out that this way of living Is simply unattainable for viewers for a number of reasons. One of these is that individuals require time to relax and can’t always be productive. Users then started posting slow-living or ‘realistic’ content which involved them maybe waking up a bit later or not eating fully healthy meals. Pushing back on this traditional highlight reel of social media was important for users to feel connected to the people they were watching. Being transparent with their audiences caused many influencers to gain a large following. An example of this is @leahwatki who shares what she eats in a day and at the end states that ‘food is fuel’. These posts have continued to this day and continue to rack in thousands of views.
This content has clearly stood the test of time so it is important to recognise this when creating TikTok content. Audiences may be more drawn to content which is down-to-earth and realistic. As TikTok continues to change the social media game it will be interesting to see if this type of content leaks onto other social media platforms.
Finally, for our previous #SocialShort, click here.