The current Covid-19 pandemic continues to keep family members, friends and work colleagues apart (and for good reason #stayhome). These days however, keeping in touch whatever the physical distance has never been easier. Thanks to new apps such as Houseparty and old favourites such as WhatsApp, we can speak to and see relatives, colleagues and loved ones in real time wherever they are in the world. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are also helping us stay connected – and they’re also helping us keep abreast of the latest coronavirus updates. In this blog we take a look at how the sometimes criticised world of social media is proving a source for good.
Social movements and social media as a force for good
One of the most powerful messages to come from the fight Covid-19 campaign is ‘Stay Home.’ With the UK currently on lockdown and practicing social distancing social media has been playing its part to hammer the message home. Hashtags on the subject have been helping people seek comfort in others doing the same thing and gain ideas for ways to keep entertained at home. On Instagram, users are also able to add variations of Stay Home as their location on images uploaded to the site.
Another positive and mood boosting social media campaign is ‘clap for the carers.’ Thursday nights at 8pm people across the country have been clapping, cheering and celebrating the work of the NHS and the country’s key workers. The idea circulated on social media networks before making the news and becoming a weekly occurrence. Wishlists and Just Giving campaigns to help people most affected by Covid-19 have also been circulating via social networks, giving another reason social media has become such a positive force for good during this time.
Tackling fake news
Social media platforms have also been doing their part to tackle fake news during the crisis. Official government advice is linked on social media platforms to help separate official news from speculation. On Facebook’s menu a ‘Covid-19 information centre’ has been added which includes the latest updates and a link to the government website. Users on Twitter can explore tweets from the UK government on the discover and trending page too. Instagram adverts about coronavirus have also been spotted.
We’ve also seen brands getting involved in a big way. Beauty brands such as L’Occitane have pledged free hand creams for NHS workers, while blue light discounts have been offered across several sites. Thanks in part to social media petitions, supermarkets and stores have also pledged specific shopping hours for the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers. Prior to their closure, Pret-A-Manger, McDonalds and Caffè Nero were also advertising free drinks or discounts for NHS workers on social media.
As Virgin Media’s new ‘ Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Connected’ advert depicts, whether it’s funny and relatable memes, emotional videos or Tik Tok dances, people have been using a lull in work to get creative. Social media as a force for good is in full swing – from the viral ‘bored in the house’ videos to the footage of people across the world singing on their balconies, inspirational content has been shared in abundance, proving we really are all in it together.