By Shavez Love
In the last few months, Covid-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) has rocked the global community and changed the framework of our everyday lives. In many places, travel is restricted, schools are closed for the foreseeable future and large gatherings are a thing of the past. Governments have imposed quarantines and stay-at-home orders, and, in turn, caused a previously unseen amount of public anxiety. During these trying times however, people are finding new and creative ways to occupy themselves.
The COVID-19 outbreak has seen a massive jump in internet usage as people have been forced to work from home or are just killing time as they search for other means of employment. The biggest names in streaming and social media have seen record numbers in traffic.
The virus has allowed social media giant Facebook to return to being a major source of news for many of its users. According to the New York Times, more than half the articles circulating on the app have been in relation to the Coronavirus. It has also seen a 50% increase in visitation.
The virus has also caused Google property YouTube to see an uptick in usage. Traffic has increased so much that it has decided to drop its video quality to deal with the high demand of streaming and viewership. As reported by Business Insider, the decision to do this (along with the likes of Netflix) came as a way to accommodate high usage numbers in order to lighten the strain on Internet Service Providers. The two services alone count for 50% of global internet traffic (YouTube bringing a whopping 35 percent and Netflix, 15 percent).
Sources of entertainment are not making all the gains, however. Twitter has reported seeing an increase in usage but a decrease in ad sales. Usage of the “blue bird app” has gone up 23 percent, but ad revenue has dropped by 20 percent. This proves that even though Twitter is not inherently a media company, it is heavily sustained by them.
The pandemic has given interesting life to a unique outlet in the meantime. Tiktok (much like the now defunct Vine) is an up-and-coming platform in which users create short videos to put out into the world. Oddly enough, though the app is of Chinese origin, that has not stopped users from making “challenges” or dance crazes, the latest of which superstar Drake has created a song for.
In addition to dance crazes, many gyms and person trainers have resorted to “work-ins” in which normal gym regimens have been tailored for a more practical and convenient approach, such as practicing things like cardio or using household items in the place of weights.
Covid-19 has shifted American culture in a way that seemingly no one could have ever predicted. It has changed everything from the way we get fast food to the way we communicate with one another. The things that we took for granted as leisure activities have now been cut back in the name of social distancing. We’ve been forced to make our technology our one-stop shop for communication, information and entertainment in a way that was previously a luxury. Only time will show us our new normal.