16.6 Million … that is the amount of times the hashtag “#corona” has been used on Instagram when I started writing this article … and that number doesn’t even include other related hashtags. Think about that, COVID-19 hasn’t only influenced our day to day lives, but it has also had a huge influence on social media, how much time we spend on our phones, how we engage with content and the type of content we share & reshare. I’m sharing 5 ways in which COVID-19 has changed Social Media!

1. Our screen time & engagement has increased

Anyone else get a shock when they saw their Screen Time stats lately? Because we’re all in lockdown, everyone is spending a lot more time on social media, and this also means that we’re engaging a whole lot more! 

Most of our “non-digital” interactions outside of the people we share a home with have been removed, leaving engagement on social media channels, like WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, as one of the few opportunities we have left to connect with the outside world.

This means that even though all of us were commenting, liking and sharing long before COVID-19, content that give people the opportunity to engage will most likely be getting even more results than usual.

2. Raise your hand if you had to learn how to use a new digital tool since the lockdown started

Did you need to learn how to use Zoom or Teams, how to create an online course, how to use Tik Tok 😉 or even how to go live on Instagram?

Since social media has replaced any way of communicating with the outside world, a lot of us had to learn to use a new tool in order to “survive” …

Some of these may even change our lives post-Corona. Since some of us may have been “forced” to learn new skills that we previously didn’t need or were nervous of, perhaps this may lead to new opportunities for you like using your new skills to conduct virtual meetings & demos or even to develop virtual products and services in addition to your physical ones.

3. Pandemic or infodemic?

In addition to the pandemic the world is facing, we’re also facing an infodemic. Social media is based on the notion of people sharing information, however the quality of the information cannot be controlled. In some ways people started panicking, panic-buying and sharing news long before all the facts were available. Everyday I see at least four different posts/articles and announcements about the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, not one of them having the same “facts”. Knowing what news is fake or not is difficult, but it is our responsibility to make sure that a piece of information has accurate sources before forwarding it to all our contacts.

4. This is my favourite one … Everyone is showing up and giving back instead of “social distancing”

Yes, physically we’re all social distancing, however it’s amazing to see how this has brought us all together. We are finding ourselves in the very rare situation where almost the entire world is literally in the same boat and going through many of the same emotions. People and businesses have come together to support one another, to support local, to create free resources for people to use, and to create free entertainment and just generally to show up for those around them.

Despite all the uncertainty around is, I hope that this sense of community will continue once the lockdown is over. Thank you to everyone who have been showing up and supporting those around them even though you’re going through the same uncertainty.

5. We have been creatively challenged

Limited to our homes, our pets and our families … finding ways to connect, share, inspire and (let’s face it) do business, we’ve all been challenged to make due with what we have with us and whatever we can utilise on our phones, computers and the internet. So even though we have new limits we are all definitely finding more creative ways to achieve our goals.

What changes have you noticed? Are you Zooming (is that a word?) with friends, building an online course/shop or engaging on platforms you never would have before? Share your questions and comments below!

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