The launch of Facebook in the early 2000s was a paradigm shift in the world of social media. The subsequent advent of WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other networking platforms have undoubtedly kept the folks on their feet.

In the year 2020, the worldwide crisis of COVID-19 birthed the unusual lockdown, resulting in a series of dramatic, psychological thrillers at everyone’s household. Man is facing a critical challenge during quarantine, but interacting over social networking has proved to be a reassuring antidote for those withering in solitude during such times.

Thus, social networking, while being a controversial medium of communication at times, has proved to be a boon in the lockdown period. Though the potentials of social media to connect people across continents are commendable, the negatives still elicit some repulsion. For the better utility of social media, as conscious citizens, it’s our responsibility to curb any malpractices.

Surge in Social Media Users-

With a medley of data broadcasted on Facebook, a plethora of opinions on Twitter, and interactions of celebs on Instagram, the brain surely has plenty of information to process. There has been an 87% spike in social media usage during this lockdown phase. In the first quarter of 2020, Facebook recorded a surge in users in their various platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, to an average of 2.60 billion monthly active users and still counting.

Benefits of Social Media During Lockdown-

Instagram is invoking a model shift in user-interface, leading to a huge rise in social interactions over these platforms. The worldwide sports fraternities are using social media to enliven us with various health hacks, fitness videos, and player interviews about their struggles and growth during tough times. This reflects that, like in a game, life too faces victory and defeat. Staying strong during difficult times and bracing each other will surely culminate into a bitter-sweet victory at the end of the day.

The mind has taken a major toll due to quarantine. Being locked up at home, sans any outside activity, is a daunting reality faced today. Stand-up comedians, celebrity conversations, lessons on culinary arts, and various other stress-busters have helped people maintain a positive mental environment. Self-help speakers like Robin Sharma and Sadhguru, are sending out inspiring messages, to maintain sanity and tranquility of the mind. The turmoil of healthcare workers, people who have lost their family and hunger-struck children, is globally acknowledged through social media. The voice of celebrities influencing the crowd to contribute to various charities has garnered massive responses over these platforms. As cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse escalate during this period, cricketers and Bollywood actors are spreading awareness via social media to check the situation.

Artists exploring different facets of writing, painting, photography, music, and drama have entertained us, spreading hope and joy across the internet world. Information cards on businesses, politics and geography, have widened the horizons of the knowledge-hungry youth. Brands have adapted novel marketing strategies to advertise their products by promoting social distancing via the benefits of social networking. Platforms like LinkedIn are helping the professionals to seek jobs, gain internships and keep the employment market abreast, thus helping the job-seekers to find a streak of financial hope in times of global crisis.

The Negative Face of Social Media-

Every invention has a flip side, and social networking is no exception. From leaking nude photos of people, tarnishing their reputation, online stalking and harassment, to excessive exposure of one’s private life, the negatives have also found their way in the cyber world. The way out is to keep such elements at bay and intensify cyber-safety. The vulnerable face of social media has been checked to make it safer for the mass users. Various safety features and measures have to be taken both from the programming and user end. You can enhance your online safety by using a strong password, logging in and out every single time, limiting your account viewing to only the desired people, and refraining from excessively exposing your private life. This safety string should be held taut by both the netizens and the media companies in order to maximize the positive impact of these inventions.

Radical Social Change-

A society needs to progress indefinitely. We cannot regress even if a killer virus ceases our day-to-day activities. Even though physical contact is curtailed during COVID-19, social media has drawn us closer and has diminished all physical barriers. We must utilize this virtual platform to stay connected and remain sane. Man being a social animal requires interactions, be it physically or virtually. Social networking has therefore proved to be the front-runner in ameliorating health issues and keeping us united while maintaining self-isolation. It’s a mega feat achieved by social media, where the entire globe is threaded together to facilitate the smooth functioning of worldly matters. https://pixabay.com/images/id-1917737/

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and/or student and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of United 4 Social Change Inc., its board members, or officers.
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