The internet has become an angry place.
Sure, we take to social media to share our thoughts, our goals, our lunches — but there’s also a lot of fighting over politics, societal dynamics or threads about which chicken chain has the ultimate chicken sandwich. Now that most of us across the world are staying at home to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, we’re spending up to 60% more time on our devices, consuming media and putting every daily thought on our feeds.
And as writer and professor Clay Shirkey noted in a 2012 Ted Talk, “The more ideas there are in circulation, the more ideas there are for any individual to disagree with. More media always leads to more arguing. That’s what happens when the media space expands.”
On top of the typical infighting, social media has proven to be a source of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and big names in social like Facebook and Twitter are taking steps to try to tamp down the sharing of those posts.
At the same time, more and more people are using social media not only as a way to pass the free time we all have now, but as a way to stay connected.
While 54% of social media users say they’ve participated in online arguments, the majority of users say that their number one reason for logging on is to catch up with friends or find news related to things they enjoy.
And brands are taking notice.
Rather than going dark against the uncertainty of our present-day situation and what lies in the weeks and months ahead, many brands are taking this opportunity to creatively interact with their audiences in meaningful ways that are positive, engaging and beneficial to them in these times.
The suspension of the sports world has left a lot of fans yearning for the family time and camaraderie watching games brought. The National Basketball Association recognized that void and responded with the hashtag #NBATogetherLive, created for live watch parties of classic games on their Twitter channel. They’re also utilizing #NBATogether to highlight the work the NBA, their players and fan communities are doing to help those in crisis.
In addition to donating $1 million to No Kid Hungry, Taco Bell has released Zoom backgrounds for their crunch wrap-devotees to make work a little tastier. They also created shareable, printable coloring book pages that can be used to keep grown-ups and kids alike entertained for hours.
New York City has seen their tourism fall flat as most arts attractions have closed their doors. To make sure they’re still supporting their local community and art lovers everywhere, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has started pushing content that not only engages their audiences — like their #MetAnywhere challenge to recreate masterworks in your own home — but also other arts institutions, like the virtual #MuseumScattergories game they’re playing with the Guggenheim and the Frick Collection.
Social media outlets themselves are even jumping on board. LinkedIn has opened up 16 of their online courses to help build and strengthen professional skills as many adjust to new workflows.
These are just a few examples of the great work that is being poured into our digital media outlets today by brands that are continuing to build on the in-person communities they’ve always fostered.
Curious what your brand can do to help foster better social communities? Take this unprecedented time as an opportunity. Examine what your audience loves about your brand, how they connect with your brand, and think how you can be useful to them as they stay home and stay online. The connections you make today can be lasting ones that are rooted in gratitude.
If you need a partner during this time for strategy, content creation or execution, (spark) is here to help. We are still hard at work to find solutions for both our clients and their audiences and have a variety of services to make your digital presence beneficial to your community.