Social Media During Social Isolation
Social media refers to a term used to describe websites and applications. It focuses on communication, community based input, interaction, content sharing, and collaboration. Many people use SM to stay in touch and interact with family and friends. Others use it to communicate with other communities. Many businesses use it as a platform to market and promote their products. SM has become larger and more accessible due to access to mobile phone applications.
Social media has changed the way we live our lives. From the way in which we get our news and the way we connect to our loved ones. Since 2004, SM has been growing intensively. Social media platforms are now a major source of news and content. Not only do they provide a platform for users to communicate but they also offer countless opportunities to share user generated content. With SM platforms growing exponentially, each platform has a different audience.
How many people use social media?
There are about 3.5 billion active social media users, which is about 45% of the world’s population. The use of SM around the world is ever increasing. It is one of the most used, popular online activities that users engage in. One of the reasons that there are so many active users is because of access to mobiles. Most SM networks are also available as mobile apps or have been optimized for mobile browsing, making it easier for users to access their favourite sites.
The Market Leader- Facebook.
Facebook remains the most used social platform. With over 2.32 billion monthly active users, it remains the most widely used social media platform.
Social media has been broken down by usage by generations. Youth continue to be the generation with the highest use of social media with the broadest access to smartphones.
Time spent on social media.
In this day and age, people are slowly becoming social media addicts. Whether it’s scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or posting the perfect photo, social media has become inescapable. A person spends an average of 3 hours every day on SM.
In this time of social isolation, staying connected is more crucial than ever. Consumers are relying on SM for health and safety updates, entertainment and a means of maintaining a well being by virtually interacting with friends and family. Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram had a 40% usage spike since the Coronavirus.
Accurate Content Promotion.
Twitter was amongst one of the first platforms to provide data on Coronavirus. It was decided that the platform would direct users searching for credible information to resources like CDC and WHO sites. Facebook is also busy working with WHO officials blocking messages from companies making false claims. The site has also increased its fact checking capabilities to reduce the spread of false information. TikTok is also letting WHO live stream on their sites so that experts can release prevention tips while answering users questions. Last month, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and Youtube joined forces with Google and Microsoft to announce their decision to fight the virus misinformation together. Furthermore, Google pledged 6.5 million in funding to fact checking and non profit organizations so that they can deliver the truth about Covid-19.
Paying Attention and Adapting.
Social sites are doing their best to respond to users’ needs. In the past few weeks, Pinterest experienced an exponential rise in searches for things like “kid-friendly recipes” (up 64%) , “home organization” (up 43%) and “spa day at home” (up 19%). In response, the platform introduced a new “Today” tab to show the users the trending posts and relevant editorial recommendations. They’ve also grown their mental awareness features so users can search for activities and advice related to stress relief or emotional well being in which they also offer CDC and WHO commentary. Moreover, LinkedIn who has seen a 55% engagement increase, published a report providing marketers data based insight on how brands can keep evolving. Social platforms that continue to channel accuracy and goodwill in this difficult time will continue to gain users’ confidence.
It is crucial that in this time of crisis, social media truly be a platform for everyone. It should be serving the best interests of users who may have no other way to connect with each other and the rest of the world. With a quarantine measure in place to contain the spread of the virus, social media is taking on an even greater importance which is serving its primary function of connecting friends and family who may be isolated from one another, either miles or continents apart. During this time, people will be turning to social media not only for news, but also for comfort, solidarity and connectivity. This pandemic should serve as a moment of unity and fortitude in which politics is put aside and transparency prevails online.