Social media has revolutionized communication in the past decade and a half, to the extent that it has become impossible to imagine life without social media.
During pandemic, the impact of social media has seen a quantum jump. It opened up avenues for social engagement at a time when the world was going through an unprecedented shutdown.
Social media tools serve the purpose of information, education, networking, promotion, branding, advertising, outreach, and campaign.
At the time of writing this article, there are over 25,414,603 active Covid-19 cases in the world. Covid-19 has worsened the economic slowdown and has brought to the surface several fault lines that have widened inequality around the world. Most importantly, it has led to a dramatic loss of human life.
When the pandemic was at its peak, the whole world was under lockdown. The only saving grace was that all of us were in this together. Be it parents, students, children, housewives, professionals, elderly, or daily wage workers, every section of society was severely affected by the pandemic. Besides the financial hardships, the pandemic had its impact on their mental wellbeing. People were not prepared for the prolonged closure of schools, colleges, university workspaces, and hangout places.
When everyone was facing an existential crisis the only source of comfort that people could reach out was social media. From connecting with their loved ones to actually operating their business, the entire world went online. With zero outdoor activity boredom became another major problem during the lockdown. During the pandemic, social media acted as a necessary distraction and a tool where people could pass time without violating the rules of social distancing.
Every section of society found its creative way of using social media to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Parents used social media for both social support and information seeking. They attended online counselling services which helped them deal with their anxieties as a parent. They also got involved in social media for learning good parenting skills during the crisis.
Students and children used social media for engaging in activities that were fun and entertaining for them. Apart from that the entire education system went online thus keeping them thoroughly engaged in their online classes.
For housewives, social media has become a site for sisterhood during the time of the pandemic. Social media has turned into a place of solitude for women. They have connected with each other on social media groups, which they consider as a safe space and where they are learning to deal with their stress during the lockdown.
Webinars and online conferences were being conducted for maintaining professional connections and contacts and for carrying out uninterrupted business proceedings. For working professionals zoom meetings became a new normal as people started working from home. From government to private and non-government organizations, all routine business was brought online to help the economic growth of the country. The whole system collectively tried to recover the business deficit that was created because of Covid-19 by going online.
Social media became a big source of comfort for elderly people as well. With the enforcement of sudden lockdown people got stuck where they were, which resulted in a lot of elderly people living alone. Here as well social media acted as a mitigating factor and turned out to be a blessing for the separated families. By connecting elderly people with their families through video calls and chats social media gained traction amongst elderly people.
Social media has also helped people to come together to reach out to the needy ones. It has played a vital role in garnering support for the cause of the migrant crisis. Post partition this was the largest migration crisis that our country faced and with the help of social media, the grievances of the migrant workers got public attention and the attention of the administration.
People started doing crowdsourcing to help the families of daily wage earners, labourers, waiters, taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers and others who depend on their everyday earnings for survival.
Many NGO’s and self-help groups have used social media to share images of the happy faces and to tell how a small donation has put a smile on someone’s face.
Apparently social media has turned out to be a true blessing for many during the time of the pandemic.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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