Pandemic Optimism: How Social Media Helped Us Stay Sane

Pandemic Optimism: How Social Media Helped Us Stay Sane

Last week I wrote about the dangers of social media and what a terrible place the internet can be.  This week, I’d like to take a more positive look at the ways in which social media have helped us get through the current coronavirus pandemic. 

In March 2020 our lives changed irrevocably.  Countries started to shut down, lockdowns were implemented, and people twiddled their thumbs and wondered what to do with all of the free time they suddenly had.  For some, the pandemic brought shock and dismay, for others it brought mild concern or confusion.  But for everyone, it led to a need for connection in a time of isolation and, miraculously, people used social media as a tool to connect with the world.

Taste the Rainbow

One of the early trends of the pandemic was the sudden appearance of rainbows in windows across the world.  The trend started in Italy within days of the lockdown starting.  Schoolchildren created colourful pictures with the message of hope andrà tutto bene (everything will be all right).  Pictures were posted online and before we knew it the rainbow had become the symbol of the pandemic.  Windows across the globe became adorned with colourful images and parents took the opportunity to take their children on walks to find as many rainbows as possible.  Some communities started to change up the pictures on a weekly basis to give local children something new to spot during their government mandated exercise time.  As the year progressed, rainbows came to symbolise support for healthcare workers and even became a fashion trend

Painted concrete slab, Ipswich, UK

Over time, people started coming up with more and more creative ways of keeping themselves, and their kids, entertained.  Although the rainbow trails were a global phenomenon, local efforts started popping up and diversifying.  In some places, people put teddy bears in their windows for children to find.  In others, elaborate scarecrows were constructed and placed outside of houses. 

Stay Home Scarecrows became a phenomenon across the UK which started in Widdrington Station in the North East of England and spread across the country.  This trend acted as a “thank you” to key workers who were the lifeblood of the communities while everyone else stayed at home in safety. 

I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing…

One of the earliest outbursts of creativity characteristic of the first lockdown was music.  From celebrity Zoom concerts to parody song lyrics, music took the world by storm and brightened up everybody’s day.  The Italians, forced into a rapid and extremely restrictive lockdown, again took the helm, and began an uplifting trend of singing to each other from their balconies.  Like the rainbows, this trend quickly spread and before you knew it there were arias and ABBA songs being exchanged in neighbourhoods everywhere.

Once people got bored enough, the creative juices really started to flow.  Parody songs became a huge hit, with Coronavirus Rhapsody appearing in several iterations and We Didn’t Start the Fire 2020 taking centre stage.  Some YouTubers decided to add in costumes and there were a rash of Disney parody songs, complete with over the top acting and outfits thrown together with whatever people could find in their homes.  For the kid inside all of us, this was certainly a way of keeping our spirits high.

If nothing else, this outpouring of creativity certainly kept YouTube in business and, in some cases, helped families to come together and collaborate on some great corona-content!

Unleash the Artist Within

As if dressing up as a Disney character weren’t enough, some people took it to a whole new level.  As I discussed in my blog post about museums’ responses to the pandemic, a trend that swept across social media in 2020 was to replicate famous artworks from the comfort of your lockdown home and post the pictures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  For those lacking in musical talent, but for whom art is a passion, this helped them to stave off the boredom and maintain their sanity while allowing their creativity to flourish. 

Although the trend seems to have died down now, searching on Instagram for #mettwinning#betweenartandquarantine, and #gettymuseumchallenge will bring up all of the pictures and will keep you entertained during the current lockdown.  Which is your favourite and who did the best job?  Maybe there should be an award…

Audience Participation

Despite the rash of songs, art, and rainbows, pandemic trends haven’t all been frivolous.  Communities have been coming together across the globe to support each other, our key workers, and the most vulnerable members of our society.  Almost every country has stories of neighbours bringing food and medicine to the elderly who are shielding at home, or providing urgent supplies to those who are self-isolating.  Those with sewing skills brought out their machines and turned their hand to making masks that could be sold locally at a time when PPE was in short supply.  In the UK, millions of people took to their doorsteps every Thursday night to clap for the healthcare workers in the NHS in support of their tireless efforts.  The Royal Canadian Mint even issued a wearable medal to thank our healthcare workers that can be given as a gift.

Captain Sir Tom Moore

Perhaps one of the most internationally famous examples of community spirit was Captain Sir Tom Moore.  Captain Tom, as he became known as, was a British pensioner who set out to walk 100 lengths of his garden before his 100th birthday to raise money for an NHS charity.  His story went viral and by the end of his fundraising effort he had surpassed his original goal of £1,000 ($1,730) and had raised a staggering £32.79 million ($57 million) for the UK’s doctors and nurses.  For his efforts he received a knighthood and the love of the nation.  Unfortunately, in February 2021, Captain Sir Tom Moore succumbed to COVID-19 and died a national hero.  His perseverance and kindness have been immortalised in literature and his family have set up a foundation in his name. His story also inspired others around the world to raise funds in their own unique ways, mostly in support of the ongoing efforts of healthcare workers, who have been working so hard to keep us all safe.

How is all of this related to social media, you may ask.  Well, without social media, many of these community efforts would not have been possible.  Fundraising efforts, though sometimes featured on the news, often went viral on social media.  Facebook was used extensively by mask makers to advertise their products in their local areas.  Online community groups also helped to coordinate efforts to assist the elderly and vulnerable.  Although these efforts may not have kept us sane through entertainment, giving people a sense of purpose when they would otherwise be trapped in a situation where they felt powerless could only have good effects on their mental health.

The End is Nigh…

As we enter the second quarter of 2021 and the vaccine is slowly, but surely, making its way through our communities, we have to stand back and wonder: what next?  We have been living with this pandemic for over a year and, for many of us, this has become the “new normal”.  Despite our initial optimism and efforts to keep our spirits high, we are now entering our umpteenth lockdown and covid fatigue has well and truly set in.  What possible other trends could we see in the coming months and would you be likely to participate in them?  Let me know in the comments!

Facebook: Check out my latest blog on fun pandemic trends here: https://bit.ly/31UcP5e

Twitter: Pandemic optimism, a user’s guide: Take a look at my latest post here: https://bit.ly/31UcP5e

References

Addley, E. (2020, May 28). Clap for our carers: The very unbritish ritual that united the nation. Retrieved April 07, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/28/clap-for-our-carers-the-very-unbritish-ritual-that-united-the-nation

Ahlgrim, C. (2020, May 29). Artists are playing live concerts from their homes amid the coronavirus outbreak – here’s how to watch the best ones. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.insider.com/live-private-concerts-coronavirus-watch-online-music-streaming-2020-3

BBC. (2020, April 11). Coronavirus: Rainbow TRAIL success Surprises Ipswich mum. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-suffolk-52214965

The Captain Tom foundation. (2021). Retrieved April 07, 2021, from https://captaintom.org/

Cartner-Morley, J. (2020, November 12). Rainbow bright! how the symbol of optimism and Joy spread across our CLOTHES, homes and lives in 2020. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/nov/12/rainbow-bright-how-the-symbol-of-optimism-and-joy-spread-across-our-clothes-homes-and-lives-in-2020

Royal Canadian Mint. (2021). 2020 recognition medal & Magnet. Retrieved April 07, 2021, from https://www.mint.ca/store/coins/2020-recognition-medal–magnet-prod3670019

Waite-Taylor, E. (2021, February 03). Celebrate the life of Captain Tom Moore with these books. Retrieved April 07, 2021, from https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/books/captain-sir-tom-moore-100-steps-book-b1796847.html

Yancey-Bragg, N. (2021, February 02). Capt. Tom Moore, ‘HERO’ UK veteran who raised millions by walking in his GARDEN, dies at 100. Retrieved April 07, 2021, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/02/02/captain-sir-tom-moore-dies-100-uk-walked-raise-millions/4354527001/

You know the original, but these coronavirus song parodies are catchy too. (2020, April 02). Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2020-04-01/coronavirus-song-parodies-go-viral

Get The Kids To Decorate!

Photo from :https://sleepingshouldbeeasy.com/suffer-parental-boredom/

Are your kids bored ?

 The Covid-19 pandemic has kept us inside, but it has not stopped our artistic and creative side. All over Social media you can scroll through feeds after feeds of how parents are passing the time with their kids. Some are baking, cooking meals, gardening but how about redecorating? That’s right! How about getting your kids involved with sprucing up their own rooms?

Spring is the perfect time to spruce up your children’s room. Whether a nursey or a tween’s room. Ask your kids what they think? Do they like their current bedspread? Do they like their dresser? Get the conversation started and get creating. What makes the perfect kid room to you?

If you need some inspiration and help. I have put together my favourite room ideas for Spring 2020. Check them out below!

Colour and more colour! Be bold this spring!

Use as much pastel as you wish. This simple light blue paint brings pop to all the pink and purple accents. Try a bright throw pillow as a start!

Flower power!

This is a great idea for the tween in your home. The mix of light and bold colors brings a pop to any space. Try this style by adding a floral prints to great area rug.

http://www.lorsworld.com

Let’s talk about the colour green. It is the must have colour for spring 2020. From the gorgeous mint green to forest green. It adds pop to any multi-colored or pastel room. It’s gender neutral and perfect for any nursery because it adds a bit of calm to the room.
www.housetohome.co.uk

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcToye_ykdvPxnm42I8iGRS6aFzdU4SlU6zGE8LSYurEEO36uvKpog

Indugly.com

 Got a superhero in the making? You will be the coolest parents on the whole block by adding a his or her favourite comic heroes to their room. Create this look by adding wall paper comic book stripes. This superhero themed fits any kind of space.

 Storage solutions!

Kids and toys go hand in hand but that doesn’t mean you need to compromise space. Adding simple totes and roll away storages underneath the bed leaves ample amount of room for imagination.
 

Get creative with these ideas and spring into a new look! Share these ideas on Social media. Use this hashtag  #KIDSDECORTETOO

Facebook- “Get the kids to decorate!”- Check out our latest blog here:

Twitter: “Kids bored? We can help with that, check out our blog:”

Blog 4- COM 1014 Find your Hotel with Trivago!

Trivago is a B2C business many people either love or hate and a lot of the hate has to do with the Trivago guy who dances around telling you how you can get the best deal on hotels by using their site. But no matter how you feel about the commercials, people use the service and Trivago has made a business model work for them.

credit: Trivago

Trivago has the usual Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube accounts that seem to be the norm for most businesses today but they all seem to have a different types of messaging mixed with the core goal of driving people to use their services for all their vacation and hotel travel needs.

Their social media channels are all about promoting their product and the engagement they seem to get on them is not particularity positive. It doesn’t seem to matter what they post on, there is usually someone interrupting the message with how they used Trivago and had bad service or how the spokesperson they have on their commercials is a drunk and should be fired. I noticed that on the Facebook page specifically that Trivago doesn’t seem to respond to questions or comments.

The Linkedin account is about recruiting so the messaging on that site is about how great the company is to work for. They are positive and upbeat and encouraging because they want to make their place of business look good to potential employees. They have current staff on YouTube videos telling people what a great place it is to work for and inviting people to apply.

The Twitter account seems to be the most active and seems to be monitored better than their other social media accounts and their messaging is more thoughtful questions about what people can expect in the evolution of hospitality and accommodations, interspersed with great places to stay. They make an effort to respond to comments and questions but it almost seems a little prefunctory.

I personally think that Trivago could do a better job of interacting with potential customers. They seem to have a good following on their sites (ex. Facebook has 13,414,151 followers, Twitter has 115.8K followers) but the engagement is low from them and their followers. I don’t know if this is because of the nature of their business in that people only follow them because they are looking for the best deals or if the content they post isn’t relevant to their followers. They have quite a few negative comments on their pages that have nothing to do with the posts and I know sometimes it’s best not to engage people but they also don’t respond to any comments and that gives the impression they don’t care what people say about them and that their social media sites are just an item they can mark off on a list of doing a job.

I definitely think that with all the social sites that Trivago manages, they could beef up their postings and engage a bit more and maybe the Trivago guy wouldn’t be the only thing that people focus on.

Assignment 1; Blog#4 B2C Case Study

From B To Shining C

Bee flying to Sea (B2C)

H&M

An explosion of fashion and a phenomenal number of social media, dazzling advertisements, movies, tips, trips, cultural promotion, and an array of entry points inclusive of customer service, store locations, and environmental responsibility. This fashion giant, H&M, seems to have the glimmering photographs, splendid navigation, and discounts where appropriate. Nonetheless, there is lacking when compared to some competitors and oddly it is right at the Business to Customer (B2C) level despite all the glory and fireworks when attending their website and social media. Customer engagement is imperative.

brunette woman, sitting, holding credit card in air while looking at laptop to purchase
Customer engaging for online purchase

Customer Engagement

H&M do a phenomenal job at consumer engagement. At every turn on social media there is a cornucopia of delightful models, blouses, pants, shirts, shoes, men, women, children, exotic travel scenes and the like. They are colourful, fashionable, light, heavy, seasonable, and they know their accessories. However, they are not approachable due to some issues that become obvious and their respective use of social media is more for product promotion than customer engagement.

a computer screen or smartphone screen with a myriad of social media applications
Social Media Apps

Social Media and H&M

H&M uses a bounty of social media. They employ YouTube extremely well. It encourages viewership by the breadth of topics of fashionable concern. Beauty, swimwear, makeup, designers, back to school matters and travel. There is little interaction by consumers and each video seems to be well scripted and uses models. Thus far, there is a perception that no consumers are interviewed about the product at hand. Very professional, but not customer interactive.

Facebook is well utilized for promotion, but any customer complaint is dismissive and relegated in the language used. Instagram, though colourful and robust, again, has no customer pictures, nor community. Their “Your Stories” is a ruse by nature of every Instagram photo is a given reflection of a fit model without blemish or overweight persons as reflected in the real world.

Twitter reflects the above. It is an ad nauseam of advertisements and a few seemingly directed comments by alleged consumers.  On two social media sights, the Community pages read as “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now”. They also use a magazine format for a blog, but purely for advertising. Where is the communication?

man in brown jacket apparently screaming into the receiver of a telephone which is several inches away from his face. Glasses posed on the white desk
What we have here is a failure to communicate

There is little to no customer communicative interaction. There seems to be no real back and forth as is indicative in B2C. It must affect sales as “social Media is not a one-way street and it requires you to listen and interact (Ryan, 2019).

Nordstrom is an excellent model to follow. Through all their social media there are appropriate and well worded responses to customers and effective email marketing that ensues. They deal with customers diplomatically, make appropriate referrals and point them to an array of clubs and discount points where needed. A good blog is in place to facilitate changes in customer and fashion activity (King, 2015).

https://bit.ly/188dxN0
https://bit.ly/1ckcXew

References:

Barker, Shane, The Most Effective B2C Social Media Marketing Channels to Grow Your Business, Media, Jul 25, 2018, https://medium.com/swlh/the-most-effective-b2c-social-media-marketing-channels-to-grow-your-business-32d4052210f9

Coca-Cola | Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://www.facebook.com/cocacolacanada/?brand_redir=40796308305

Creative Commons Photos:

“at sea” by tamaki is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/e7de3a13-eacc-4456-8f28-eae09182eff8

“Bee visiting for a breakfast” by Theo Lagendijk is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/345c203c-3b08-490d-8a38-2f6553741baa

Dalenberg, Alex Inside Tucson Business, TucsonLikes seeks to corral social media for businesses,JUNE 8. 2012, Wick Communications

De Pelsmacker, Patrick, Geuens, Joeri, Van den Bergh, Maggie,   MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS Fifth Edition, Maggie Geuens Joeri Van den Bergh, © Pearson Education Limited 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 , Edinburgh Gate, Harlow CM20 2JE, United Kingdom

H&M, https://www2.hm.com/en_ca/index.html

Harris, Jess, Sales & Service Excellence Essentials, 7 Best Marketing Tools For Small Businesses, How technology can help you increase customer base, HR.com Inc., 2016

King, Kim Ann, The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing New Tactics, Tools, and Techniques to Compete in the Digital Economy, © 2015 by Kim Ann King Published by Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458

NAC Podcasts. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://nac-cna.ca/en/podcasts

Perry, Patsy,   The environmental costs of fast fashion; Water pollution, toxic chemical use and textile waste: fast fashion comes at a huge cost to the environment, , Independent,  8 January 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/environment-costs-fast-fashion-pollution-waste-sustainability-a8139386.html

Nordstrom, https://shop.nordstrom.com/content/canada-department-stores?origin=tab-logo

Pexel:

https://www.pexels.com/search/customer/

https://www.pexels.com/search/social%20media/

https://www.pexels.com/search/no%20communication/

Ryan, J., Digital Communication, Lesson 4: Choosing the Correct Storytelling Tools for Your Audience, Lesson Content, Readings, Lesson Notes, B2B vs B2C vs B2G, Algonquin College, 2019

Scollon, Ron, and Wong, Suzanne, LANGUAGE IN SOCIETY 21, Intercultural Communication, A Discourse Approach Second Edition, Chapters 2. Language and Social Networks (second edition)Lesley Milroy, 17. The Language of the News Media, Allan Bell, 2001, Second edition published Blackwell Publishers Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden, Massachusetts 02148, USA

Sibley, A. (n.d.). 10 Things That Take a Webinar From Good to Great. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/webinar-planning-list#sm.000vynto11461f7ossw2rl26phqxt

Wang, Cheng Lu, Exploring the Rise of Fandom in Contemporary Consumer Culture, University of New Haven, USA, Chapter 8, Charging Fandom in the Digital Age: The Rise of Social Media p. 147 Shuojia Guo, College of Staten Island, USA, Chapter 9,Diversity of Fans on Social Media: The Case of Entertainment Celebrity in China p.163Xinming Jia, Zhejiang International Studies University, China, Kineta Hung, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, Ke Zhang, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kon, Copyright © 2018 by IGI Global

Wilson II, Clint C., Gutiérrez, Félix F, Chao, Lena M, Racism, Sexism and the Media, 4th Edition, 2013, SAGE Publications, Inc., 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, California 91320

Yates, S. (n.d.). 13 B2B Newsletters That Really Shine. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/b2b-newsletter-examples

The Down Side of Online Dating: 3 Things That Do Happen

 

online-dating-570216_1280As a single millenial, I have spent my fair amount of time perusing the various online dating sites and apps available. I have encountered some nice and decent people and others who, well, I wouldn’t want to come across again.

These aren’t experiences from just one site. I have spent time on eHarmony (paid membership,) Tinder, OkCupid, POF, Zoosk, Match along with a few others. Many of my friends are also registered to some of these services and have had other experiences, some better, some worse. However, these are the 3 things I have had happen to me personally and have heard of happening to others the most.

I have to say, while all these sites do offer different services and have different people registered, I would generally get bored with one and move on to another.

Catfish

Let’s start with catfishing (and no, not the one that swims.) Catfish, in this instance refers to someone pretending to be someone they aren’t online.

channel-catfish-86584_1920Yes, it is real, and not just on TV like the popular show Catfish. I had it happen once, that I made plans to meet with someone I had been chatting with online for a while. I made my way to the meeting place to find out the person wasn’t who I thought I had been talking too. He had used pictures of one of his friends and lied about most his interests. Needless to say I ran out of there pretty quickly.

As you can tell, the catfish isn’t exactly the most attractive creature on the planet. (Urk!)

Ghosts

Have you ever started to see someone and take a bit of a liking to them only to have them completely stop responding to you without any rhyme of reason that you know of? It is quite common. Ghosting is something that has happened to me, my friends and I am not proud to admit, but I have done it before too. I don’t want to excuse the act, but usually if I stop talking to someone it’s because something about the way they talk gives me the creeps.

spirit-1775547_1280

Stood Up

Similar to ghosting, but this one feels a little more personal. I have arranged to meet someone before but the guy never showed. I waited about a half-hour before he messaged me saying he was stuck at work and couldn’t make it. We arranged a second meeting time and once again he didn’t show, only this time there was no message. When I tried to contact him, I never received a response.

I think I’ll stick to meeting people the old fashioned way from now on, maybe experience a meet-cute like in the movies. 🙂nature-1790142_1920

*All pictures used under the creative commons CC01 License.

Facebook:

Do you ever wonder about online dating? Will you meet the right person, will there be a creep on the other end or will it lead to absolutely nothing? Click here to read about 3 things that can go wrong.online-dating-570216_1280

Twitter:

Online dating woes? Click here to read about common misgivings of the phenomenon. #onlinedating #nope #ghost #catfish #datenight #alone #foreversingle