As most of us are stuck at home during this pandemic, it comes as no surprise that our screen time is also increasing by the second — literally. If you’re an iPhone user or have downloaded a tracker, you probably get reminded with a weekly report on your average hours spent the week before — not a good sight, I presume?
But don’t worry, that’s not what we’re talking about today. You see, not only are we spending more time staring at our screens, but more content is also being uploaded and shared across social media platforms too. In fact, content creation has accelerated with 3 in 10 Gen Z-ers admitting to creating more videos since the pandemic began as a lot of us are also relying more on social media to keep us from feeling lonely due to isolation.
And that brings us to the topic at hand — the social media trends that have gone viral since the COVID-19 outbreak.
We’ve seen the devastation the pandemic has brought — amongst which is the shutting of many small, local businesses. As businesses had to close their physical doors to operate online and send their goods via home delivery services, Instagram’s ‘Support Small Business’ sticker helped to give some spotlight to local businesses on Instagram (IG). It’s definitely a handy tool as Instagram users immediately began making use of the sticker to promote local businesses such as restaurants, bakeries, art and crafts, and clothing stores.
By using this sticker when you post on your story, you’ll be able to share a small preview of the business on your IG Story. This Instagram initiative is a brilliant one as it helps businesses reach out to more customers. Be sure to use the sticker the next time you show support to your fav local brands!
Image: Official #KitaJagaKita website
The world may be in turmoil, but humanity isn’t. The funny thing about Malaysians is that though we may have varying political views, when push comes to shove, we’d still help those in need within a heartbeat regardless of our background.
And with this exact Malaysian spirit, many fundraisers were set up and shared across all social media platforms to raise funds for the communities who are struggling to make ends meet as well as equip our steadfast frontliners with necessary COVID-19 protective gears and medical supplies when they were running low. This was when #KitaJagaKita began to trend as it was made popular by Malaysian author, none other than Hanna Alkaf! Till today, the trend is still going strong and to date, there are over 3.9million posts using the KitaJagaKita hashtag on Instagram!
If there weren’t already enough content circling the net, as mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has drastically spurred more content online — even the least active social media user would’ve noticed. With more than half the world now connected to social media, users also began to make use of their IG to share topics related to, of course, COVID-19 itself, mental health, self-care, racism and discrimination (eg. Black Lives Matter), kindness, and many more!
But that’s not all, Instagram also reported more people are spending time watching LIVE sessions as many users started creating LIVE sessions to curb boredom. For many artists, fitness instructors, and chefs, this became a way to keep their fans connected. Some also use the LIVE feature to share tips, give advice, and keep their followers motivated throughout the lockdown.
PS: Check out Taylor’s College Instagram for updates, cool videos, fun tips and general life advice!
Both Instagrammers and TikTokers have been pretty busy themselves having to keep up with the multiple challenges that rose during the pandemic. From becoming a barista at home with the #DalgonaCoffee challenge, to makeover challenges with #PassTheBrush, and even becoming dance experts with challenges like #Savage and #Renegade.
While there were many positive trends on social media since the outbreak, we don’t deny the bad apples in the basket. As expected, many #FakeNews regarding the devil COVID-19 itself, MCO implementations, and the MCO SOPs, were circulated by irresponsible citizens through social networks like WhatsApp and Telegram.
Other negative trends include the rise in ignorant and racist content churned out by oblivious content creators that touched on sensitive issues like Blackface/Brownface. Earlier in January 2021, a Malaysian singer released a music video that portrayed a brown-skinned woman who was bullied. However, after using a certain beauty product, she turns fair and was then praised by the initial bullies — perpetuating the notion that people with dark skin tones are inferior (major facepalm please). And this was only ONE among the many other Blackface contents that garnered attention.
Perhaps it was the lack of creativity or genuine ignorance, but there were also myriads of content which propagate cultural appropriation such as the Fox Eye makeup trend which is insensitive towards Asians, the redesign of Chinese mahjong by 3 white women (like why even?), and a local actress who was called out for culturally appropriating Indian culture to promote contact lenses.
You’d think that in 2020/21 people would be more woke, wouldn’t you?
Well, clearly, the social media realm knows no bounds! At the end of the day, what we do online is up to us and it’s our responsibility to make sure we consume and share content responsibly.
If you’re feeling drained and overwhelmed, remember to pause and stop scrolling! And if you’re generating content for your audience, remember to think twice before sharing it — you never know who you might end up hurting for the sake of creativity and going viral.
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