Social Distancing With Social Media Challenges Can Help Flatten The Curve
If you’re like me… you might be stuck at home with your dog who gives you puppy eyes every hour for walks around the neighborhood, turn a bi-annual attempt to cook with a microwaved hot dog for lunch, and getting a intense work out in with Wii sports that you dug out from the deep abyss of your garage.
Many of us are experiencing fear of health, financial hardship, discrimination, a break or full stop to our routine, disappointment in plans that are now cancelled or postponed, being away from others, and the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring.
In one way or another, we have been affected by COVID-19.
The Importance of COVID-19 Memes
Thanks to the internet and the power of social media, we have been bonding over a whole new genre of COVID-19 memes centered around following official instructions, washing your hands, and social distancing. Recently, scientists opened a portal for the public to share and catalog coronavirus memes. They are looking for the public to send them your dankest coronavirus memes — this is not a joke.
Mark Bouke, one of the researchers behind the study shares that crisis situations such as COVID-19 pandemic help to extenuate societal processes that normally may be less obvious.
“We can witness how people tend to communicate about public issues. In particular, the role of humor in stressful times as this is fascinating: How can people make an issue so heavy, still light enough to cope with it. Also, we hope to make something interesting and relevant out of this troublesome period.”
COVID-19 Memes to Social Media Challenges
Over the past week or so, I’ve noticed a boom of positive and creative Instagram challenges to encourage social distancing. After participating and engaging my friends and family, I understand how important these challenges are to spread the message of social distancing while also maintaining the feeling of being connected with others.
If you’re not familiar with these social media challenges, they are most similar to the ALS ice bucket challenge. There is a challenge, film and partake in it, share it on social media, and tag three or more friends to join.
Draw This Challenge
- If you want to start one: Upload a blank backdrop to your story > Choose a item you want to draw (ex. Orange, Banana, Pokemon, etc.) > tag 3–5 people to participate.
- If you’ve been tagged: Take a screenshot on the photo you have been tagged in > Upload that screenshot to a new story > Shrink it by zooming in and dragging it to the upper left corner of your screen > Leave enough white space to draw the item > tag 3–5 people to participate.
You can also do this for other categories such as:
- Support Local Artists Challenge: Tag 3–5 local artists you want to support.
- Song Challenge: Post a song with the first letter of your name.
- Baby Picture Challenge: Post your baby picture.
- Push-Up Challenge: Film yourself doing 10 push-ups.
- 10 Beautiful Women Challenge: Tag 10 beautiful women in your life.
When searching for Instagram filters, there are challenges and games that can be shared. I recommend searching these three for maximum fun:
- Gesture Challenge: Match the emoji gestures with your hands.
- Draw in 5 Seconds: With your nose, move and draw the given prompt.
- Flying Face: Blink to move the bird between the pipes.
Don’t forget to participate and tag others to join in. PRO TIP: If you find a filter you like, save it to your gallery by clicking the name of the filter up top and clicking the “save to my gallery.”
New ‘Stay Home’ Sticker
A new ‘Stay Home’ sticker was added Saturday to Instagram’s Stories interface, allowing users to tag their photos and videos from home with a badge of solidarity.
The ‘Stay Home’ sticker appears to have earned additional emphasis from the platform: stories tagged with the sticker are added to a custom story that compiles all uses of the sticker by accounts followed by a user. The ‘Stay Home’ has also been positioned atop of the menu of tools within the creative interface.
The curated story is particularly valuable because it appears ahead of all of a users’ friends posts, which are sorted by a sophisticated, secretive and highly personalized algorithm. So users are likely to see content from accounts whose story they might not ordinarily watch, if that content is tagged with ‘Stay Home.’ However, it appears that — for now — the curated story consists only of posts from accounts a user is already following.
Seeing us use social media platforms to raise awareness on the importance of social distancing and connecting together remotely gives me hope to what the upcoming months have in store for us.
I challenge us to ask ourselves:
- How will this evolve?
- How long will this continue?
- What will happen when all this is over?