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What the loss of TikTok would mean for Broadway

Phillip Hughes, group content director at Situation, addresses the potential TikTok ban and how Broadway should be using the social media app.

Phillip Hughes (Credit: Nakeia Taylor)

Whenever I open TikTok, which I do at least 10 times a day, it’s like playing a game of roulette. I have no idea what it’s going to show me, but I hope it’s good! I could be exposed to a public service announcement on Brooklyn Public Library funding cuts from my City Council Member Chi Osse, a lesson on which edible flowers I can find in my neighborhood by content creator and author Alexis Nikole, or Broadway performers I’ve worked with giving audiences a backstage look at the magic of theater. Shout out to the social captains across Broadway holding it down! 

TikTok had 1.5 billion monthly active users in 2023, including 170 million Americans, and is expected to reach 1.8 billion total monthly active users by the end of 2024. Yet, many people still see TikTok as an app for teens, dance challenges, and overzealous influencers. But the reality of the platform’s reach and influence is far greater than this perception. 

I see TikTok as an app that offers artistry, education, and authentic community connection, particularly for marginalized groups or isolated individuals. The queer and trans community have found friends and dates through the app when their real life is unaccepting, older folks have found an antidote to late-in-life loneliness and loss, and folks with disabilities have been able to build a vibrant community advocating for accessibility in new ways. Right about now, you may be asking, “So what’s the all hubbub about, Phil?”

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