The Unexpected Ways COVID-19 Has Affected Social Media


The Bite

Social media trends both old and new appear while people self-quarantine.

Julia Conant, Lifestyle Editor

As coronavirus abruptly took over our lives, certain effects on the media were expected. The heavier coverage on COVID-19 spreading would led to people voicing their concerns and even memes about how no one can find toilet paper. But there have also been some recent unexpected trends popping up on social media.

Many people back in 2016 and 2017 utilized the Instagram Stories feature for tags and challenges, such as posting a song for each day of the month, or simply posting information for their followers to get to know them better. While this trend never went away, it certainly slowed down in recent years.

However, they seem to be popping back up again, since some people are bored and are looking for something to do. New challenges are also appearing, such as tagging your friends to do ten pushups or to post a beautiful photo of themself.

One big trend that went around Instagram last week was the “Until tomorrow” photo challenge where people posted ugly photos of themselves with the caption “until tomorrow” and deleted them the next day. These are just some of the ways people are entertaining themselves now.

Another recent change for Instagram is a boom in the amount of livestreams. Many entertainers who had tours or other events cancelled are connecting with their fans by answering their questions and even performing songs live on Instagram.

The frontman of Canadian pop punk band Marianas Trench, Josh Ramsay is one of these people, chatting with his fans over Instagram Live while doing mundane activities such as cooking.

Another example is Connecticut artist Fiyabomb Olivia Nguyen’s virtual painting class, which was also held through Instagram Live. She told her followers what supplies they would need a few days in advance, and then held a free class where she painted a butterfly on a lightbulb.

These are great ways to still feel connected to people while everyone is stuck in their houses.

As obscure as it may seem, Youtube is becoming populated with videos of wives learning to cut their husband’s hair, or people cutting their own hair for the first time. It makes sense once you think about it, since no one is willing to leave their house and risk getting sick for a haircut.

Colleen Ballinger, A.K.A. internet character Miranda Sings, documented herself nervously cutting her husband Erik Stocklin’s hair on March 25. Julien Solomita followed suit two days later by uploading a video of his girlfriend, Jenna Mourey (better known as Jenna Marbles), cutting his hair.

And if you search the topic by upload date, several more recent videos of home haircuts will appear.

When it comes to Central, many clubs or organizations have taken advantage of social media in terms of keeping engagement up. Student Activities/Leadership Development held a giveaway for an Amazon gift card; the Student Center is asking students to send photos of their favorite Student Center memories; Central Activities Network now holds a weekly virtual cooking show.

These groups and several others are helping Central still feel like a tight community, despite not being able to access campus. 

While social distancing has been a challenge for most, social media has opened up a window of opportunity for people to still feel connected, maybe bringing us even closer than before.