Americans are in medias res: the isolation and routine of quarantine are sinking in and people – working or not – are missing friends, activities, and hugs. As a result, hours spent on social media are up. Since the beginning of February, hours on social media increased to a quarter of Americans aged 13 and up.Looking at social media users by platform gives a clear picture of how people are feeling about the state of society and way of life at this time.

TikTok users are much more likely to say they would resume some normal activities if the government gave the go-ahead. In fact, a 20% of TikTok users said they would slip right back into whatever they were doing before the coronavirus. Forty-three percent said they would resume some of their usual things.Facebook users on the other hand were 46% less likely to say they would resume some of their normal activities. They were also 58% more likely than TikTok users to remain in quarantine, even if restrictions were lifted nationwide.Compared to the general population, TikTok users are 42% more likely to resume all their daily activities if quarantine was lifted tomorrow, while Facebook users were much more in line with the gen pop numbers (13%).While the coronavirus has no end in sight, its effects do. And while no one can definitively say when the dust will settle, there are some who are very optimistic. Within the general population, 31% predict two months or less before life is as it was, while 41% predict more than 4 months. Social media users show up on different sides of the fence.

TikTok users show a greater amount of optimism than the gen pop and people on Facebook. Forty-four percent believe everything will clear up in the next two months. Facebook users agree with the two month time frame, but only at a 29% rate.What we know about TikTok in general is that its user base is heavily dominated by Gen Z. Gen Z outpaces all other generations, even Millennials who often share habits and preferences with the generation below them. What’s most notable is that TikTok’s Gen Z user base is already more than half of Facebook’s Gen Z segment. Facebook users span all generations which means content on the platform is much more diverse: varying opinions, beliefs, sides to a story, and more. 

TikTok users have been steadily increasing since January 2020, and experienced little to no changes throughout the pandemic. Facebook on the other hand did experience some peaks and valleys these last few months.

All in all, the data suggest that TikTok is gaining steam and capturing the time and attention of a generation coming into its own. We know that 13- to 24-year-olds rely heavily on what they see and hear from friends and social connections, so what we could witness is a highly influential platform for a generation who already share a lot of the same views and opinions.