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The social media platform TikTok exploded during the pandemic as thousands of new users turned to the site to help combat boredom and feelings of isolation. Along with the well-known influencers, such as Charli D’amelio and Addison Rae, I began to follow a more niche group of users: political science experts and people working in that field. I discovered that there were professors turning to the platform to share their knowledge on different topics in easy to digest one minute videos, with recommendations for further reading. Throughout these short videos I learned different schools of thought that were not touched upon in my classes. As I liked more of these videos, my FYP quickly caught on.

Soon I began to see people working in political science and international relations (my fields of interest) share what a day in their life was like. Through these videos, creators created networking opportunities and made it possible for students all around the country to connect with them and ask questions. A small but mighty corner of TikTok was formed.

It isn’t just political science – there are nurses, engineers, and computer scientists sharing their expertise for people trapped at home or who simply want to learn more. Internships and scholarships for a wide range of backgrounds are frequently posted to help students. It’s amazing how a simple video sharing app can bring so much information to the table.

So, this raises the question: Can TikTok become a professional platform, equal to the likes of LinkedIn?

Looking at the information that is available and the possibility of meeting new people on the app, I would say it’s a valuable resource. The different positions and points of views on relevant topics are hard to find elsewhere, where information is more uniform.

However, it is difficult to show just how invaluable TikTok can be to those not on the app. Given that the majority of creators are young and that the app is not solely for professional advice, I find it hard to imagine it being taken as seriously as it should be in the work environment.

So no, TikTok is not likely to become the next LinkedIn. However, I think that’s the beauty of TikTok – it’s an informal look into people’s lives that can allow a new wave of experts to come into their own. I look forward to seeing it continue to explode, and can’t want to see what else I learn.

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Elizabeth began writing for HerCampus in Spring 2021 and is currently a Sophomore Political Science major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Outside of HerCampus, Elizabeth is a member of the Delta Mu Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega and an intern with MASSPIRG. She is interested in foreign policy and the world at large.