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What Role is Social Media Playing?

Looking Six Months Back

This article is part of a series of articles that were written last school year but were never published due to the pandemic. The Norse Code has decided to publish these articles to give insight into how people were feeling at that time.

Everybody is quarantined and becoming more bored by the minute. Many people are looking for ways to get a taste of entertainment or excitement from something, and from movie theaters, to sports, to public gatherings being taken away from us the one thing that still remains is social media. It’s evidently one of the things that needs to stay with us because it is a huge source of communication, it also is the only consistent source of entertainment as well. 

 

What is Social Media Doing to Help 

Although most people look at social media for amusement, the most important thing about it is that it gives communication between anybody. Without social media many stories and reports would not be given to us. Many companies are stressing the importance of communication and accessibility with others by giving free internet and data plans. For instance, over 150 internet and service providers have signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge which basically gives reassurance to people who may get their service cut off. Companies such as T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T have all given customers who are unable to pay their cell-phone bill free coverage until mid-May. 

Social media apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Youtube are all trying to help by giving disclaimers on the app and alerting users of false information. The disclaimer gives viewers a site to access for information and gives people ways to stay safe during this time. With everybody having the capability of putting out any information apps, they want to make sure people aren’t getting worked up over fake news. TikTok, a specific social media platform has donated 10 million dollars to the World Health Organization to help with acquiring equipment and make sure health workers are safe. 

 

Entertainment

Entertainment is what most people are desperately looking at social media right now for. As you can assume the platforms have been receiving a lot more traffic and engagement from users. According to influencer agencies, Instagram specifically has gone up 30% in engagement, which can be considered as the amount of likes and views Instagram is getting. Entertainers and influencers themselves haven’t truly benefited from the virus because a lot of brand and sponsorship deals have been paused or cancelled. This has happened to around 50% of Instagram’s top influencers. This mainly applies to Instagram specifically which is an app that relies on ads more heavily than other apps. 

Other apps like TikTok have been successful in fact the app has grossed 2.9 million dollars from March 1-23 which is up 21% from February 1-23. Youtube is another platform that has benefitted from the isolation. Statistics from Youtube show that it’s had a 500% increase from views during this March compared to March of 2019. Ad revenue for Youtube is experiencing a slight dip in numbers but it may not be from the coronavirus like Instagram is. The isolation has also given many people more time to join other platforms and create on there so that also could be the reason for down numbers. 

 

The Bad of Social Media

Even if social media is a great source of entertainment and communication the information put out can be misleading or false altogether. More false information is being produced than accurate information during these times and although social media leaves everyone free to talk and interact with each other the discussion is putting unnecessary anxiety and confusion in most people’s heads. Another downside of social media is the immaturity that it can bring to a sensitive topic like coronavirus. For instance, many platforms do put warnings or disclaimers on inappropriate videos but it does not ban the viewer from seeing the video, which is potentially making a mockery or a false rumor about coronavirus.

 With social media everybody is looking at each other to see what is the next thing to do. Stockpiling food is an example of this, most people saw the idea of stockpiling on social media with tons of viral videos showing the extremity of people’s madness, and now almost every store is out of toilet paper. 

 

Overall social media can be a phenomenal source of entertainment and communication but it also can cause chaos and anxiety amongst communities. During pandemic we need to untap the positive and helpful side of social media so we can continue having it be a point of entertainment supply. Right now if social media is crowded with false information and negative rumors it only makes these times worse so be careful what you see on social media and use it appropriately. 

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