The Coronavirus pandemic has plunged the world into chaos as countries fight to reduce the spread of the disease COVID-19. Leaders from around the world have ordered citizens to remain in their homes and reduce social contact until we establish more control over the spread of the virus, meaning many people are isolated from friends and family.
Social media can be everyone’s lifeline
Thank goodness we have social media! Through all the apps and platforms available to us we can stay in touch with work, family, friends, the news globally and locally and access entertainment. Being able to jump onto FaceTime means that people no longer need to feel alone if they can’t physically be with someone. Granny’s can listen to grandchildren’s music practice and read a story at bedtime through technology, helping worried family stay in touch with older relatives needing to stay at home to stay safe.
Social Media is also proving to be a force for good helping those who are the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, to reach people locally more than willing to help them. Facebook groups have sprung up all over the country to support vulnerable people needing to isolate themselves due to their health issues or age, where they can message and interact with other people locally. They can share their phone number so they can be reached for a chat to keep their morale up or to sort out more practical help. Using Facebook, people wanting to help others are coming together as a community to help people they have never even met. Local groups for housing estates, clubs, villages and schools mean that lots of isolated people can send a call out for help and we’re seeing the kindness of others shine through as people respond.
Facebook is providing helpful and factual updates to combat fake news
Facebook has launched a new information panel at the top of all news feeds giving users the option to follow the COVID-19 information center for updates and notifications. Social media is usually where people go first to find out about updates in situations like this, sometimes this can lead to misinformation and fake news. But by hosting information centers, social media platforms are making sure they are presenting the correct information and not contributing to the panic caused by untrue stories.
Social media can help people share their skills in new ways
Many people face losing their jobs or income due to the negative effects on our economy of COVID-19. But with the power of social media, people can share their talents and skills online. There have been various cases of people finding freelance work as a result of sharing their story on social media and asking for help. There has also been a trend recently of teachers who are now being sent home, sharing their expertise on Facebook and offering help to any parents who don’t understand the syllabus their children follow.
Morale boosting stories and content is there to be found!
The morale of the country has taken a hit, with people being restricted to staying inside and the news constantly providing more doom and gloom stories. But through the use of social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, we can see communities coming together to spread kindness. There have been positivity threads on Twitter where users leave their Amazon Wishlist links and all buy one person from the thread a small gift. Threads like this have seen hundreds of people getting involved to spread the positivity and have done a great job of distracting us from our current situation.
Video is one of the most popular mediums to use on social media, so it’s no surprise that video content is being shared by the masses. This is in the form of funny videos that are designed to lift people’s spirits. Entertainers from Chris Martin of Coldplay to local groups are streaming content on Facebook or You tube to keep us positive and entertained. And of course, lots of people have been sharing videos of their pets now they are around the house more! All these contributions are helping create a sense of good will and positive community spirit in these challenging times.
Have a virtual party!
Netflix recently launched a Party feature where users can watch a show or film together at the same time, chat about it and pause it together so they’re always synced up. Simple features like these are what stops people feeling isolated and cut off from society. You may not be able to go to the cinema, or have a film night with friends, but you can now get as a close as possible to those things without leaving your house.
Social media has become commonly referred to as the anti-social media, but in times of a global crisis, we are seeing that in fact, it could be the very thing keeping us all connected and sane!