Social media apps and websites, including video-sharing platform TikTok, saw a considerable surge in users last year amid national and international lockdowns, with millions turning to such platforms to express their creativity while stuck at home, as well as to raise awareness across a range of topics and trends.
TikTok, especially, has shown itself to be a communal hub for people of all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities to share their ideas, beliefs and culture. The platform itself hosts 689 million users, and Muslim charity the National Zakat Foundation (NZF) sees it as the ideal space to drive inclusivity.
Social media sites are used for 145 minutes per individual every single day on average, according to Statista. The significant global reach of such platforms makes them hugely beneficial for educating users on diverse cultures and religions.
New findings show that Muslim youth have been using their feeds to explain everything from the rules if Ramadan and religious prayers, as well as to share comedic videos to communicate their struggles with fasting.
As Mahboob Hussain, head of channel marketing at NZF, explained: “We analysed TikTok data and saw that #ramadan had over 14.2 billion views and #eidmubarak had 9 billion views, which is fantastic for driving awareness and inclusivity, whilst also helping the Muslim youth connect.”
With a 2017 survey by the Institute for Public Relations revealing that 40% of people believe social media to be influential in some way, the power and potential of such tools to spread information and ideas is unparalleled. Academics are recognising these platforms’ ability to present new ways of digesting information, with many acknowledging the advantages of using them within an educational setting.
“We analysed TikTok data and saw that #ramadan had over 14.2 billion views and #eidmubarak had 9 billion views, which is fantastic for driving awareness and inclusivity, whilst also helping the Muslim youth connect” – Mahoob Hussain, NZF
As such, experts predict that social media will form part of future teaching strategies, with users today seeming far more engaged by this form of content than any other. Previous studies have shown that visual learning boosts information retention by up to 42%, which is greatly beneficial when processing new facts and topics – such as those surrounding religion.
People are also using Instagram to share the principles of Islam, with #ramadan, #eidmubarak and #hajj being used a combined total of 21.9 million times across the platform.
Users are sharing various aspects of their faith, including traditional dress, wishes and quotes, food and even henna patterns. The widespread use of specific hashtags have provided further visibility, likely increasing the reach of these posts.
Gen Z are already known for their inclusive mindset, with 76% stating that brands should prioritise inclusivity and diversity, and almost 50% citing a desire to work in a culturally-varied environment.
NZF representatives are hopeful that, long-term, Gen Z attitudes and the alternative use of social media will feed into more culturally-aware and accepting future generations.
“It’s great to see young people exposed to cultures and religions outside of their own in their primary years,” added Hussain. “We hope that this will improve inclusivity moving forwards and will help to spread awareness of different communities.”