These are undeniably weird times. In a matter of two weeks, life as we knew it changed. While the world is adjusting to an unsettling new “normal,” we’re also witnessing a new era of human resilience; an era that fosters community and creativity in unexpected ways.
These recent events are changing the way we create, engage with, and ingest content forever.
Social Media Trends
The original intention of social media was to bring people together—to form a virtual community. It allows us to stay in touch with friends living hundreds of miles away, and to share photos with relatives across borders.
As different apps and websites were created, that goal of community and togetherness got lost amongst the need for “likes” and a sense of competition amongst users, making social media the center of criticism for years. Enter Coronavirus:
These past few weeks, as we’ve seen our communities struggle more than ever before, have proven to me that the initial intention of social media holds true. People are coming together on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok like never before. *Technically* no one should be out doing unnecessary things, so the need to post the most beautiful or adventurous picture isn’t there. Instead, people are choosing to post more light-hearted, raw, unedited photos. For example, the Until Tomorrow Challenge was created to inspire people to post old, sometimes cringy, photos to get others to laugh. The catch? They can only keep it online until the next day. The switch has flipped — what once was beautifully curated photos on our feed is now a platform for unfiltered expression.
Another common thread for social media is story challenges. A long list of creative and heartwarming stories have filled our Instagram feeds: See a pup send a pup, pushup challenge, highlight, and bingo challenges. These were created with the intention to uplift shared experiences and hobbies, while focusing on that togetherness, even apart. Simple things that wouldn’t normally be shared on social media have now helped harness normality that everyone is craving at the moment. It’s an opportunity to feel heard and relevant.
Even Tik Tok has evolved throughout all of this. Once an app catered towards teenagers, we’re now seeing families collectively trying new things (like the below dance challenge). Again, these are all ways where even apart, we can do something together, and utilize the benefits of social media to help us stay connected.
Previously Recorded Ads
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time watching television. In the short time that this pandemic has changed American life, companies have already altered their commercial messaging. Only 10% of consumers disapprove of companies addressing the Coronavirus crisis. Companies are quickly shifting their messaging, using previously shot footage or graphic text videos, to appropriately respond to and address the current climate.
Ford, for example, has pulled all national tv ads and are replacing them with more up-to-date content. This includes special promotions and payment plans in the wake of Coronavirus. Guinness has also altered its message by encouraging customers to social distance and avoid “toasting together.” They also pledged $500,000 to communities affected after running their “St. Patrick’s Day” ad. Hyundai and Toyota have also altered their ads to show support for both their employees and customers.
There’s been a necessary flux of government advertisements as well. These commercials stress the importance and impacts of social distancing and encourage viewers to take these warnings seriously in order to protect themselves and others.
Gyms, yoga studios, and cycle bars are all closed. As of right now, we don’t know when they’ll be reopening. This forces us to abandon our normal routine and get creative on how to stay healthy. Many people have taken to nature, utilizing the springtime weather to take more walks, go on runs, even break out the old bikes from the garage.
There has also been an increase in online workout classes. Large corporations such as LuLu Lemon, Peleton, Planet Fitness, and the YMCA have all transitioned to online classes in order to have members still feel healthy and involved. Even smaller, local gyms have had to pivot during this time — utilizing video, private Facebook groups, and online engagement, some for the first time, in order to keep their clients from freezing memberships.
Celebrities and Musicians
We’ve all seen it. The user-generated video of celebrities singing Imagine by John Lennon. Say what you want about it, but this is an example of how even celebrity interactions are changing. Ellen Degeneres has used her quarantine time to catch up with other celebrity friends and has posted her conversations in hopes to make her viewers smile.
Instead of selling out arenas, many musicians have taken to playing (free) concerts from their basements or recording studios, like the one iHeartRadio and Fox partnered up to air last week. It featured huge stars such as Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish, Backstreet Boys, and more. Sure, it takes away the excitement of physically going to a venue to see your favorite artists, but it brings it back to the most important thing: the music. Viewers can listen to a live recording of artists from the comfort of their home, and still feel involved.
In an attempt to help those bored at home, Dua Lipa has decided to release her album early. Following that lead, the show Killing Eve and Disney’s Frozen II have done the same. This is the entertainment industry seeing a need and responding.
The Point is…
It’s important to remember that, above all, the entire world is trying to find a sense of normality and support for each other. Although the virus itself is devastating, we’ve seen human resilience like never before, and have proven that creativity and positivity can come from difficult times.
This virus has and will continue to change content forever. It has brought businesses back to the customers and social media back to the virtual community. It has reminded us of our human need to feel heard and supported. It has encouraged a positive community where people can feel safe, entertained, and creative. It has taken away a lot, but has shown our resistance and adaptability as human beings.
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