In order to maintain safety during this pandemic many people have turned to social media more to get a sense of human interaction, in a world where social distancing exists. With the increase of time spent at home, social media has become many people’s only way to get away from their four walls — providing a “home away from home” experience.
Finding effective coping mechanisms for not being able to be around loved ones, has led to the increase in social media presence for many Americans. A Harris Poll, between late March and May found that between 46% and 51% of adults in the United States have started using social media more since the first outbreak.
“Since we are unable to really get together with people in person, social media has made it easier to interact and keep up with what everyone has going on,” said Joye Martin, a real-estate agent. “It has truly helped to cope. It is great to be able to talk to people throughout the day via social media posts. I feel like I interact with them more now than before.”
Whether people are attending a wedding through Zoom or loving graduation pictures on Facebook, social media platforms remove the barrier of disconnect between family and friends through interactivity. We each long to be able to celebrate our loved one’s victories and accomplishments while being surrounded by family and friends. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has shifted the way people are allowed to celebrate, and people have to adjust how they are able to express gratitude. Prior to COVID-19, many imagined that they would be able to spend every important moment surrounded by family and friends, but in the midst of a global pandemic the way people are able to celebrate and express their gratitude has shifted.
While some individuals use social media as a means to stay updated with the lives of their loved ones, others use social media to help maintain a balance with their mental health through positive posts.
“I actually track my screen time, and it’s increased so much since the pandemic,” said Tamesha Bolden, an accounting major. “I get on it multiple times a day, everyday, simply to keep up with my friends and family and also to read inspirational quotes and watch videos about self-improvement.”
There are Ted-Talks, inspirational quotes, statuses and motivational posts that can be found online. Sometimes, those posts can be exactly the boost of motivation that some users are looking for.
Social media is not tailored towards one source of utilization. There are some people who use it to remain connected to people and some people who are looking to find inspiration. It does not always have to be a serious platform, sometimes social media can just be social. There are comedians flooded on timelines, each of which can spread joy and laughter in these unprecedented times.
“I typically only get on social media when I’m taking a break at work or when I get home,” said Kim Brown, an early childhood development major. “I get on Instagram to go on the Shade Room to laugh or go on other pages to laugh and keep up with what’s going on in the world.”
Each social media platform allows everyone to experience the world around them at their fingertips, making it the most accessible way to interact with other people while remaining safe.
Using social media as a coping mechanism has been one of the healthiest ways to deal with the lack of face to face experiences. Whether you are in need of motivation, familiar connection, or laughs, there are a vast set of opportunities to obtain a sense of human interaction through social media.