Have you ever tried to make a TikTok because you feel bored at home in these two months? Or, did you suddenly become “Tik Tok famous?” If the answer is “yes”, you are not alone.
Despite the difficulties it causes, the coronavirus has some positive effects on the social media environment. Due to the state quarantine policies and school cancellations, more and more people are forced to stay at home, having a hard time adjusting and learning to cope with an unprecedented amount of free time. And social media, many people find, becomes the easiest way to stay entertained at home. Social media are experiencing huge growths: Tik Tok users in the US have increased from 20 million in November 2019 to 65 million in March 2020, three-folding the user population; while Instagram is also experiencing a huge spike on average time spent on the app with a 14% growth. With the huge spike of social media, usage comes more entertainment and creating content and feeds. This creates increasingly more value online. Social media, in addition, provide a platform for advocates, aspired to help restaurants and the frontier workers, to promote and organize fundraisers to reduce the influence of COVID-19 and help out the local economy.
However, there are also negative changes on social media because of the coronavirus situation. With the political “blame war” happening between China and the US, the general hostility between people in the two countries increases tremendously. There is an increasing amount of racist and hating speeches on media such as Instagram and Facebook. The tension becomes a worsening cycle where the friction between the two countries is accelerated rapidly by the internet. On the bright side, there are also comments about hope and love. People show support and care for each other through donations and campaigns, helping institutions and organizations worldwide.
Under the current situation, social media have become an essential part of communication between individuals. Just like any other tool, it can be used to spread love or to show hatred. But if everyone can be a little more positive and loving, the internet world would become a much better place.