Prakriti Adhikari/The Lion's Roar
Several university departments and organizations have begun using the popular social media platform TikTok to better engage with students.
According to Sensor Tower, the platform has become one of the most downloaded apps over the past few months, with over 87 million downloads in June of 2020. Tik Tok has even gained the attention of the president, who is considering banning the app over foreign affairs.
The app’s rise in popularity has opened a new avenue of communication for university departments and organizations.
One of the most popular university accounts is the University Police Department’s TikTok account. The account has the largest following out of all the Division for Student Affairs departments, with over 33,000 followers, 265,000 likes and over 1 million video views as of Aug. 5.
UPD’s social media coordinator and communications supervisor, Tiffany Chavers-Edwards, manages the account. She explained that the platform’s rise in popularity with students encouraged the UPD to create an account.
“We noticed that we have a lot of students who are active on TikTok and decided this was a great tool to reach a large amount of our student population at one time,” said Chavers-Edwards.
Chavers-Edwards shared that she did not expect the account to become so popular in such a short amount of time.
“I have been the department’s social media coordinator for several years now and am very familiar with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” explained Chavers-Edwards. “I have learned all the ins and outs over the years of these platforms and thought TikTok would be no big deal. I wasn’t ready. TikTok is a whole new experience for me.”
The account’s large following has allowed the UPD to reach a massive audience and has helped the department build a better relationship with the student body.
“We always want our campus community to know that UPD is here for them, no matter what their need is,” explained Chavers-Edwards. “TikTok allows us to show our officers in their everyday work environment and how they interact with each other and with the community. Being active on a social media platform with such a large following allows us to reach people that we normally wouldn’t be able to reach on our other platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”
The UPD plans to continue to use the platform to reach students during the new semester.
“UPD will continue posting safety videos and information related to programming, such as RAD self defense classes and ‘Blue and You’ events, to get that information out to our campus community,” said Chavers-Edwards. “We want our students to know when events are happening, but we also want them to know how to keep themselves safe.”
The Pennington Student Activity Center also created a TikTok account in early February. Senior communication major and strategic communication specialist for the REC, Daniel “Emile” Stretcher explained that he created the account to expand their brand.
“I figured that doing something fun like creating a TikTok account would be something unique that would get us noticed around campus,” said Stretcher.
Stretcher shared that he believes the TikTok account allows students to see the fun side of working and visiting the REC. This semester, Stretcher plans to continue to use the account to promote the REC’s events and activities.
“We plan to be on the ball with the latest trends for the upcoming semester,” shared Stretcher. “We plan to create many more TikToks, and we hope that they go viral around campus. Putting a smile on someone’s face is the type of positive impact we love to make right here at the REC.”