Society Unites Online in the Wake of COVID-19


Abigail Jackson, Staffer

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pretty much everything has been moved online to virtual communication platforms. Businesses now use Zoom to host meetings, as do schools all across the world. Churches are live streaming their services on Facebook Live. Just a few months ago, people constantly criticized the use of social media for keeping up with friends or even just for pleasure, but now everyone must use it in order to interact with the world around them from the safety of their homes.

Social media used to be something I could use to keep tabs on my friends’ daily lives and catch up on all of my celebrity gossip, but now it’s proved to be so much more. Social media has evolved into a tool, efficiently used to spread the word on staying home. On Instagram, you can put an icon on your story that says “Stay at home” and it will automatically be the first story that people view. On other platforms, celebrities and news companies were able to get the word to a larger audience thanks to #stayhome. The news of the lockdown wouldn’t have spread so quickly if it weren’t for social media.

A lot of new social media trends have been created, too. On TikTok, people are making dances and doing them with their families, and on other platforms, the hashtag #chalkyourwalk has inspired people to write positive messages and draw designs on their driveways with sidewalk chalk. People have also posted videos of themselves making whipped coffee and cutting their own bangs, showing how social media fosters community in this time of crisis.

Additionally, social media has helped inform people on what is going on in other walks of life. Doctors and nurses have been sharing their stories of what it’s like working in a hospital filled with COVID-19 patients, and people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and were able to fight it off have been able to share their symptoms and advice with others online. Many have been sharing the small acts of kindness they’ve seen in the wake of the pandemic, and others have posted video messages thanking essential workers for all they’ve been doing. Without social media, we wouldn’t be able to share those stories and hear about all of the good going on in the world right now.

It’s also been really cool to see so many celebrities step up and use their platforms to encourage people to help. Harry Styles, who has 34 million followers on Twitter, posted multiple messages encouraging his fans to stay home and donated all of the profits from his merch to charities that are helping fight COVID-19. Kevin Bacon created the #istayhomefor challenge and shared why he is social distancing and other celebrities, such as Millie Bobby Brown, Elton John and Jimmy Fallon joined in. Some celebrities, however, haven’t used social media as proactively, such as Gal Gadot, who composed a video of her and other celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Many argued that while it was a nice video, it didn’t do anything to actually help make a difference in times like this. However, I feel that even a little bit of humor is something that can go a long way in making someone’s day slightly better during this pandemic.

Social media has really brought people together in these uncertain times. It’s crazy to think about how much life has changed in the past few weeks and how social media of all things could be crucial in spreading new information and helping to beat COVID-19. Staying home is critical in order to flatten the curve, and doing trends like dancing and drawing on your sidewalk can help beat the boredom that comes with self-quarantining.