How do people stay connected during social distancing?
Social distancing is something all of us have come to experience in the past weeks. The novel coronavirus has encouraged us to find other activities to keep us engaged while being at home. From hosting services like Netflix to individual activities, people are trying to attain new skills or take up activities long forgotten. Some found the opportunity to watch all those series they have waiting on their watching list, while others have taken upon painting or reading.
People have changed the way they interact on social media, as well. Our need to connect has become more evident during home isolation. For this reason, you can see more user-generated content like creative ideas of staying occupied at home and a variety of memes. Additionally, users create new hashtags to involve their friends and participate in collaborative activities.
Brett Goldstein on Twitter began a collaborative film movement by encouraging people to watch a certain film and comment about it with the appropriate hashtag on the platform.
On Instagram Hauskey, a musician who is part of the music program Unearthed, started covering other artists’ songs to help himself stay productive during quarantine and expose his audience to new music. After that, other participants of Unearthed continued this initiative forming a chain of collaborative art.
The hashtag #quarantinedanceoff has been trending on Instagram for the past weeks. Jessica Boyd is a 40-year-old dance instructor from Oregon and she began uploading videos with her friends and son.
I love to dance so I thought this would be a great way for people to interact, even though we can’t be in the same room
Due to coronavirus many businesses and individuals have searched for different ways to stay connected with each other. For this purpose, a couple of new apps and social media have gotten increased popularity. Those are TikTok, Houseparty, and Zoom.
TikTok has been around for a couple of years now. It is a video-sharing social media owned by a Chinese company, mainly comprising user generating content from teenagers and young content creators.
On its own merit, TikTok provided its userbase with the appropriate tools to upload funny content and collaborative initiatives even before the coronavirus outbreak. So users were already engaging in singing or dancing challenges and memes. During home isolation, this tendency increased significantly.
In the second week of March, the platform witnessed a 34% increase in its app downloads compared to the previous week. More users are downloading the app and start to experiment with the interactive features of the platform. Now you can find quarantine memes with references to the move “Parasite” and other bizarre and humourous posts relating to activities at home.
Houseparty is a video chat app that allows you to connect with your friends and play games all together while video calling. Since the coronavirus outbreak, the app’s downloads were 323 times higher than the previous month, claiming the first place on the charts for Portugal, Spain, and many other countries.
However, interactive video calling has already been available in the market through Facebook’s chatting feature, Messenger. So why is everybody so keen on getting another app?
After downloading the app myself I realized that Houseparty indeed provides a diverse variety of game options. Most of the good features, though, need inside app payment to be accessible. So ultimately, what is the point?
This mass downloading could be due to the increasing mentioning of the app online. After all, a product’s demand increases when it becomes popular and more people are talking about it. Even if that is the case, one thing is certain. For people that want to invest in an interactive video chatting app even after social distancing, then Houseparty is a perfect opportunity.
Zoom was already an established platform for professional video conferences and meetings since 2011. It has been widely used inside companies to connect employees globally. After the coronavirus crisis, however, the platform started to expand including also families and friends that want to stay connected.
Now it is used to hold teaching sessions and online courses with students of all ages. The platform’s ability to connect multiple screens at once has facilitated this. For this reason, it attracted massive popularity. New York Times reports that 600,000 people downloaded Zoom in just one day during March.
What the future holds
Social distancing has turned the tides of how people interact with each other. Online interactive platforms are blooming, while advertising has given its place to user-generated content. Social media have become more now a place for people to share personal experiences and struggles rather than a sales pitch for every product or service that has access to online advertising.
This scene will remain for a couple of months until the 1st of June when it is predicted that we will gradually start to regain our previous normality. But how will the world of communication be changed until that time? Will people get used to staying at home or be more assertive having realized the importance of being active?