Impact of TikTok Ban on UCO Campus

Jiwoo Han

Contributing Writer

The Tiktok Ban at UCO is now a year old. (SAM ROYKA/THE VISTA)

Oklahoma statewide ban of the social media app TikTok on state government and university networks and devices has stirred discussions about its impact on campus life and communication strategies since the ban went into effect in 2022.

As UCO students and faculty grapple with the absence of this popular social media platform, questions arise about its implications for engagement, creativity, and connectivity within the university community.

At the heart of the matter lies Gov; Kevin Stitt’s December 2022 executive order, which prohibits TikTok usage for state government entities due to concerns about cybersecurity and data privacy. UCO’s decision to enforce this ban on campus devices and wifi networks reflects a broader commitment to compliance with governmental directives and safeguarding sensitive information.

From a strategic communication standpoint, Professor Megan Cox offers valuable insights into the shifting landscape of digital media and its implications for engagement strategies. Cox said the evolution of social media platforms and the emergence of alternatives like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, which provide avenues for creative expression and audience engagement, have helped fill the void.

“Instagram Reels is still that for this population — it is really number one, I would say. I don’t see them making big migrations from Instagram and YouTube yet, I think it will be interesting to see the next breakout platform,” Cox said.

For students like Chris Meyer, a senior majoring in strategic communications, the ban prompts reflection on TikTok’s role in campus life and communication practices. While Chris acknowledges TikTok’s popularity and its potential for engagement, he also recognizes the importance of balancing online interactions with real-life experiences.

“I don’t want to say old school but just for the sake of this, I will use like AP News or Twitter as a means of getting news and learning what’s going on because you know, you want to be able to hear it from different sources not just one necessarily from like TikTok,” Meyers said.

The ban’s impact extends beyond individual preferences to broader considerations of communication dynamics and access to information. The prohibition limits access to TikTok’s vast content library and creative potential within academic settings. For students accustomed to leveraging TikTok as a means of expression and connection, its absence may necessitate adaptation and exploration of alternative platforms.

The ban raises questions about the integration of digital media into academic curricula and professional development. With TikTok serving as a platform for content creation and audience engagement, its exclusion from campus networks may pose challenges for students and faculty seeking to hone their digital communication skills and explore emerging trends in media consumption.

As students and faculty adjust to the TikTok ban, it becomes evident that the impact transcends mere access to a social media platform. It underscores broader themes of digital citizenship, privacy, and the evolving nature of communication in the digital age.

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