“When used to raise awareness and spread hope, social media can bring us together.”
Around the world, COVID-19 has drastically altered our daily lives as we implement new and restrictive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Through this stressful time, we have relied on a wide array of people to provide necessary and essential services – health care workers, grocery store staff, delivery workers, truckers, transit operators, to name just a few – selflessly giving of themselves for our collective benefit.
People have found creative ways – shared through social media – to show thanks to these workers and to help keep everyone’s spirits up.
Below are a few ways people are using social media to reach out to others, showing care, compassion, and creativity (while at the same time demonstrating how social media can actually have a positive purpose).
Besides the direct work to support the lives of people in hospital care, health care workers have also helped raise the awareness of the measures we can take to help them – chiefly staying at home and physical distancing.
Images like the above have been shared through countless personal Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts, as people use their own social media to inform friends and family of what they can do to help.
It started in Italy with people singing from their balconies and banging pots and pans together as a way of showing thanks to health care workers. Now, as the virus has spread, this nightly tribute – shared through social media – has been taken up in cities all over the world.
You need to stay home. And so do your friends and family members. Help spread the word with your own video – and tag your friends to remind them to stay home too. And together, we can #PlankTheCurve. @MichaelBuble and @VancityReynolds – can you help? #StayAtHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/f1PQQrzMIK
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 23, 2020
All over the world, celebrities and public figures are using their social media presence to raise awareness of COVID-19 and reinforce the need for everyone to take precautions to prevent the spread.
One example of this is in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau challenged Canadian celebrities to help raise awareness with a tweet and the hashtag #PlankTheCurve.
Adding their voices to his, the message was quickly shared by Ryan Renolds, Michael Bublé, Seth Rogan, Lilly Singh, Shawn Mendes, Shania Twain, Donovan Bailey, reaching hundreds of thousands of followers.
A little laughter in time like this can go a long way. Late night hosts like Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, and Jimmy Kimmel have figured out creative ways to film their shows and host Skype or Zoom interviews from home, to provide much needed humour in our lives.
Videos clips are being posted to YouTube and Facebook pages of respective shows. Some of these are now being shown on TV, during their regular time slots.
Coco just finished her final chemo treatment. On her way home, she was greeted by streets lined with neighbors welcoming her home and cheering for her (while socially distanced).
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) March 25, 2020
This young cancer survivor, Coco, just finished her final chemo treatment. On her way home, she was greeted by neighbours lining the street to cheer and welcome her back (while keeping physically distant).
The story posted to Twitter, has over four million views.
Many musicians have also stepped up to offer live performances and online concerts on platforms like Instagram to help fans stay entertained and inspired.
Yo-Yo Ma has also been posting videos – shared through social media – of short performances and encouraging musicians — of all levels — to join him in offering “Songs of Comfort.”
In this uncertain time, our growing global community has been a shining star of connection and encouragement. We’ve got your back and we’re in this together.
— Centr (@CentrFit) March 28, 2020
Staying physically active is crucial to your mental health during these stressful times. Many different people and groups have been posting free at home workouts, cycling videos, exercise videos, or live streaming classes through social media.
Chris Hemsworth, the actor who plays Thor, is also offering six weeks of free fitness classes with his new app Centr.
With all these free resources more people than ever are being physically active at home, which may help establish new healthy habits that could continue post-COVID-19.
Your physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated though, a simple walk and some fresh air in the morning is a great way to start your day (only if outdoor excursions are allowed in your community).
In every community affected by COVID-19, there are many individuals volunteering their time to help others in need. From grocery store pick-up for the elderly, to walking dogs, people are finding ways to help those around them make it through these trying times.
One great example recently circulating on social media was of professional runner Rebecca Mehra from Bend, Oregon, who shared her experience via Twitter of finding a couple in their 80s stuck in a car outside a grocery store, too “afraid” to get out and buy what they needed. She took $100 from them and a list of what they wanted, went into the store and purchased groceries for them, placed them in the trunk of their car and gave them back change.