Twitter in Times of Coronavirus Pandemic: New 2020 Trends

 - Sakshi Post

The twenty-first century’s second decade ends huge. At the beginning of 2020 everyone watched in concern how the Chinese city of Wuhan became the cradle of a new, mysterious and deadly dangerous disease, which has a name COVID-19. Soon enough, the whole world was petrified with the unbelievably fast transition of this virus, and enormous numbers of people fell ill and carried the disease on without even knowing it. Trying to diminish the possible consequences and in fear for people’s lives, the world governments have sacrificed the economics and locked the absolute majority of the population at their homes, hoping that this would stop or at least slow down the tempo of the virus spreading. The greatest quarantine that was ever seen in the modern world, changed our lives forever. 

And this truly hard time has become a triumph of social media. Social distancing saved our health and lives, and social platforms helped us to keep in touch with our friends, family, and colleagues. The World Health Organization’s overall course before the pandemic was to lessen the time people spend online in favor of real life. But now, the risks are too high, and WHO encourages people to communicate through social networks that they prefer. 

Particularly for Twitter, the time of pandemic turned out to be the chance to get back the popularity that was recently decreasing. In this article, we want to highlight the main Twitter trends that are related to the pandemic and its consequences.

Following The Prominent Topic

One of the most discussed Twitter themes in 2020 was the pandemic itself, of course. This is why since the situation escalated, many projects that had a purpose to highlight the recent events in the world were raised. The range of profiles that covered COVID-19 was huge - from small local news channels to grand projects that explored the situation through the whole continents. For a long time, Twitter remained the most suitable media channel for spreading the information, news and streaming the local events. And when a horrible disease struck, many people started sharing what they saw or heard about it, how they experienced the restrictions and new protocols for traveling, work, and leisure. Twitter is also a way to express for people who suffered from the illness and could share their experience. 

At the same time, Twitter is a place to stop the misinformation that led to panicking and chaos among people. Since the beginning of the pandemic, #coronavirus holds second place in terms of usage on the platform. It means that a fresh tweet about the disease appears even more often than every second. To fight the chaos, Twitter rolled out a prompt that helped to find only credible and trustworthy information about the pandemic. They also made their fraud policy more strict - by now, any information that is considered suspicious is labeled to warn potential readers.

#Black Lives Matter

This wave of social activism hit Twitter shortly after the death of George Floyd on 25th of May - unarmed and ready to surrender, he was strangled to death by a police officer during the process of his arrest. As May ends, the number of tweets mentioning the BLM hashtag reached 8.8 million mark. The social resonance that the movement created was huge. Besides the George Floyd incident, which ignited the fire, there were cases of Breonna Taylor who was killed by policemen in her own home, also unarmed and innocent, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was simply jogging when he was confronted by two white people on the truck, who shot him to death without no particular reason. These and many other cases have encouraged people of color to break the rules of quarantine and strike out on the streets, in an attempt to reform the police and reconsider their abilities.

The BLM movement and protests are considered to be decentralized, and social media, especially Twitter due to the speed or spreading, are the coordinating tools for protestants and activists. They are promoting hashtags and highlighting the main movement goals on social platforms. 

The Content That Disappears

Instagram Stories have captured the world. This format of the content is now one of the most popular. And this year, during the pandemic, Twitter announces its own form of stories that are called Fleets. This is a form of impermanent content that would be specific to the platform. There will not be an opportunity to like or repost such posts, yet users will be able to slide to DM by swiping. The developers of Twitter explain the urge to launch such a feature with a high amount of drafts. People often hesitate to share their thoughts, especially the ones that come at the spur of the moment. By engaging the content that will not last more than 24 hours, the team hopes to increase the posting on-site and stimulate users to forget about the Drafts folder. The experience of Instagram shows that disappearing content can bring a fresh breath to the platform and create a new trend in social media.

Health And Medicine

Of course, due to the rise of this disease that frightened the world, people started concerning their healthy habits. The lockdowns and stay-at-home doctrines throughout the globe turned our attention to the problems we might have. Coronavirus has a bad ability to enhance the chronic diseases that a person already has. It also impacts the immune system severely, so one of the main quarantine trends on Twitter was health tips and advice. Also, many doctors, paramedics, and scientists started their blogs to share their knowledge, experience, and thoughts about the pandemic. Although their opinions could differ depending on the region and position, it was a massive push of the public towards the theme of health and improving it. 

For Twitter users, it is a possibility to express gratitude to the medical workers and support them, organize help and provision if it was needed. The period of a pandemic is also a step forward for mental health matters. As lots of people experienced fear and anxiety, they found support and communication through Twitter. This is a good place not only to share the fears but to receive warm attitudes and help too.

Back To The Screens Of Our TV’s:

As people had nowhere to go, they have obviously turned their attention to movies, series, and other sorts of entertainment that can be transmitted to the TV screen. Users re-watched popular titles, discovered new favorites, and spent their time like back in the nineties - watching a movie. On Twitter, this has ended up with a great rise of movie-related topics. Nostalgia on TV was one of the hottest themes to drop in your microblog. Twitter has to be thankful for streaming services like Netflix that included iconic movies and series to their choice on the platform. During the pandemic, people were able to tweet about “Dirty Dancing”, “Home Alone”, and “Die Hard”, while watching the fresh documentary about these. 

Another quarantine present from Netflix was the release of all Studio Ghibli animated movies. The overall position of Japanese culture, anime, for instance, has also gained back the high rating for discussion on Twitter. Classic titles like Pokemon, Sailor Moon, and Dragon Ball Z were also playing the strings of nostalgia among Twitter users.

One of the latest popular titles that is called Attack On Titan will be having its last season released this fall. Fun fact to know - the author of the original Attack On Titan manga, Hajime Isayama, is actively using Twitter to talk with the fans of his creation. He often posts sketches and ranobe (a kind of user-generated content within the anime communities) about Attack On Titan, and talks with his fans a lot, thus making a good example of relation between fans and the author. 

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