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4th Nov. 2021
Social Media Use During the Covid19 Pandemic
The use of social media is broad, and it significantly keeps growing. The onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) brought about the need for social distancing. Quarantines and lockdowns meant minimal physical interaction. The internet became the best option to fill this need, as It provides a means of exchange, obtaining, and sharing information. There is a good side t the use of social media and also an ugly side to it. This thesis will focus on the use of social media and show how beneficial and disastrous its use was during the covid-19 pandemic.
Social media has had a colossal influence on human interaction. Covid-19 brought a lot of social restrictions, especially major events, especially sporting events and general public gathering events. But with the invention of social media created an avenue for interaction including, sports. One abstract explains social media has had on sports, revealing that it has provided a platform for sports and interactions between athletes and fans (Hayes). The same abstract by Hayes also reveals a contradicting effect that social media has had on sports, citing that it also provided an avenue for bullying and harassment on athletes.
Social media played an important role in overcoming the stresses of quarantine and the lockdowns. It provided a means of interaction, an environment where bonds were created on social media platforms. Families who lost their loved ones could seek some comfort through the spaces provided. Organizations maintained their due diligence by creating awareness and togetherness through advertising the importance of caring for one another. The displays of togetherness on social media helped some overcome certain challenges brought by the virus. People took on campaigns to emphasize the awareness of good mental health, and taking personal care was also stressed to the public through social media.
Social media has harmed mental illness. In research done by Liew and Koh, they describe loneliness as a concern in public health that was anticipated to increase during the Covid-19 pandemic given the global quarantine policy (par. 1). Loneliness stood as the cause of many turning to social media to share their experiences and seek interaction during the pandemic. The research done by Liew and Koh focused on the use of Twitter as a social media application. Their findings concluded that the public sentiments during the pandemic showed the usefulness of social media in tracking growing mental health issues (par. 4). There is, however, the risk attached to this form of stress and anxiety relief through social media. One research even recommends using social networks in loneliness, stress, and anxiety management on its abstract (Boursier et al.). The same research also cites that it presents a risk and opportunities in managing mental issues (par. 1).
Increase in anxiety levels courtesy of social media. In certain survey participants not only reported an increase in social media use but an increase in stress and anxiety levels (Boursier et al. ch.5 ). Scholar’s point out that social media created an environment for fear-mongering ( Sahni ch.8). With uncertainties brought about by social media, many use it to encourage others and spread false information, and trigger others into fear. Many displayed signs of panic through social media and people with the intentions of misleading people create incorrect information and spread it. The spread of terror, in turn, gave rise to a new pandemic referred to as the “social media hysteria on covid-19,” which was now difficult and next to impossible to fight ( Sahni ch.8).
Information on social media. Information on social media spreads fast, making social media a valuable mode of getting information to the masses. However, with the presence of malicious people or simply people misunderstanding information, knowledge sometimes becomes distorted. “Social media became a rich resource for seeking news and information and a strong public awareness tool” ( Sahni ch.9). In this regard, governments and some organizations created social media pages for this purpose. Information is being shared thick and fast through this means. Scholars have regarded social media as a “useful tool that provides opportunities to disseminate and receive relevant information” (Garcia et al.).
In light of the usefulness of social media in fighting the virus: The use of social media facilitated the public knowledge on covid-19 combating preparations, means of spreading, awareness on health and sanitation. Many became aware of the stringent measures their states or countries had put in place through social media. The vaccine development was open to the public eye through social media. Many campaigns on the internet emphasized the importance of teamwork, and many acted accordingly due to receiving proper information through social media.
Social media is another loophole for spreading fear and misinformation. The coronavirus set people into an emotional rollercoaster as it caused the death of many people. Uncertainty and the need for information grew, and misinformation followed. There was a huge demand for information about the covid-19 mandates, death tolls, infection rates, and vaccine development stages. Although the internet is a good source of information, it also serves to propagate misinformation. Misinformation on covid-19 spread on major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is regulated. Posts that peddle false information about the disease can be monitored and censored on major media. The bigger problem would be controlling wrong news on micro platforms. It would be a breach of privacy if companies would be monitoring micro-platforms in search of false. The use of instant messaging applications like WhatsApp and Messenger is where most of the falsified facts about covid-19 circulated ” ( Sahni ch.9).
The creation of social networks is made easier through social media. The strict Covid-19 mandates broke so many social connections. Social media can, however, be beneficial in that regard. Users interact and build social relationships and working links through spaces such as social media applications and websites. Constructive internet utilization can be by springing the economy back to life by creating a useful working environment through such platforms. However, reviving the economies through this means is decided by how the users choose to use the given media (Clark et al.). Social media is beneficial if used in positive ways, such as creating functional communities that focus on the well-being of society. Harmful ways of using the internet include cybercrime and impersonation.
Online social relationships pose a potential problem. As discussed, social media presents a much simpler means of creating networks, especially during a pandemic. But this online social relationship may pose a threat to the traditional means of human bonding. Physical interactions are crucial to one’s development, and the creation of online social circles could cause heightened loneliness (Ryan par. 1). This idea raises the question of whether online companionships’ invention has a positive or negative impact on society. We can not disregard the inherent solution of social media in solving the need for interaction.
People are trying to revive the economy through social media. The coronavirus disease pandemic impact on the economies of many countries was catastrophic. Scholars cite that the stringent measures to curb the disease brought about the collapse of major economies around the globe (Mohammed et al. 1). However, a solution to this lies in taking advantage of social media and creating an online presence for businesses. In an article, a scholar cites that getting into online marketing and social platforms during the pandemic is a productive way of utilizing social media in forming good inter-organizational relationships ( Gruner). In the same article, Gruner explains that using social media platforms creates an effective platform where managers can interact with trading partners in a less costly and manageable way.
Contrary to the above, organizations that have poor social media management are more likely to fail. An article gives examples of businesses that ended up on the wrong side of social rights movements due to bad social media management ( “Bad Social Media Marketing Examples”). Some companies also went downhill after using coronavirus as a marketing strategy, as given in another article ( Jarboe). Social media is a lucrative environment in terms of marketing, but if used in a not so strategic manner especially using the pandemic could be detrimental to a business.
Social media has influenced the work-from-home environment. The demanding covid-19 mandates pushed many businesses to adapt to new working methods such as the work from home policy. Social media has helped in terms of making communication between working mates easier. The social network plays a critical part in every organization because workers need to communicate and finish the task required (Sathish et al. sec. 2). The problem lies within the actual use of social media. Scholars have described the use of smartphones while working as “ problematic” and that it has consistently proved to behaviors that are a disfunction such as procrastination ( Rozzgonjuk et al.). Given that working from home is work with minimal to no supervision slacking is a problem to many companies working on that basis. Social media encourages laziness and procrastination, which creates a problem for organizations as employees do not meet their targets.
Online dating during the pandemic. Social media dating has also been on the rise due to restrictions. Its usefulness in helping people maintain not only their friendships but also create new romantic relationships. This is a huge benefit of social media on the dating scene, but the demerits of social media dating are also significant. People are using social media to create false identities of themselves. Tiggemann and Anderberg cite that people make illusions and images of seemingly perfect people, and for instance, Instagram is one such place (1). Individuals use these tactics also on dating sites and dupe other individuals into believing false information. This is a form of impersonation, which is the wrong thing to do. These set standards also cause people to think that the individuals they see on social media are better than them.
Social media addiction. Too much of something is truly poisonous. Social media has a major impact on one’s brain. The use of social media may lead to addiction. The content there is very enticing and given the state of being in quarantine predisposes one to idleness. Using social media fills that need, and one gets a rush of dopamine when browsing through the internet. Addiction leads to low productivity and low interest in carrying out any physical activity. Social media addiction is also linked closely to depression in many young people. A study concluded that depression predicted social media addiction (Haand 5). Another research done by Longstreet and Brooks also reveals that social media addiction is a strong cause of unhappiness and stress (44). Social media is indeed being used as a means of escapism by many young people and points out a larger problem in dealing with depression during the pandemic as many would turn to social media instead of focusing on their real issues.
In conclusion, Covid-19 influenced social and social media and impacted the situation surrounding the virus. Covid-19 both positively and negatively affected the global environment during the pandemic. However, if social media users take proper care, How we use the platforms determines its effect on society, especially during tough times like the pandemic. It is upon every individual to take responsibility in using social media and combating the virus.
Hayes, Michelle. “Social Media and Inspiring Physical Activity During COVID-19 and Beyond.” Taylor & Francis, 18 July 2020, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23750472.2020.1794939.
Garcia, Carlos et al. “ Social Media Can Have an Impact on How We Manage and Investigate the Covid-19 Pandemic. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 27 June 2020. https://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(20)30652-1/fulltextRozgonjuk, Dmitri et al. “Social Media Use in Lectures Mediates the Relationship Between Procrastination and Problematic Smartphone use.” Computers in Human Behavior, December 2018. 89, 191-198.
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Bousier, Valentina et al. “Facing Loneliness and Anxiety During the COVID-19 Isolation: The Role of Excessive Social Media Use in a Sample of Italian Adults.” Frontiers In Psychiatry, 8 December 2020.
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Haand, Rahmatulla and Shuwang, Zhao. “The Relationship Between Social Media Addiction and Depression: a Quantitative Study Among University Students in Khost, Afghanistan.” International Journal of Adolescence and Youth,20 March 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673843.2020.1741407
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