Online Social Behaviors Changed Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns
by Matt Fuller
Did you know that more than 3 billion people all over the world are under the COVID-19 lockdowns? More and more countries are instituting lockdowns every day to try and contain the spread of the Coronavirus. Now, the New York Times reports that news sites are experiencing an increase in the number of minutes readers spend on their websites by 46%. This clearly shows that online social behaviors are changing rapidly amid the COVID-19 lockdowns.
To put this in perspective, let’s start with how your online social behavior is changing. You are spending more time on news websites, social apps like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There are certain new online platforms gaining momentum that you may have started picking up in the last few days or weeks like participating in local online chat groups such as ChatRooms.org.au.
These various shifts in online social behavior are quite interesting to look at especially when you consider the long-term impacts. According to Forbes, workplace experts are projecting that working from home will change how businesses will approach their operations since there are increased online engagement groups. The social chat groups are expected to grow even bigger due to the connectivity elements.
The Guardian recently reported that just in the UK alone, Facebook has led to the creation of about 300 local support groups for the Coronavirus pandemic. The combined membership of these Facebook groups is estimated at more than a million people. The COVID-19 lockdowns are therefore shifting people’s online social behavior towards looking and offering some sort of reassurance and support.
Social interaction is not possible due to the lockdowns meaning that you can’t go to the local sports teams, church groups, or even bump into a friend down your local shop. There is a loss of community connection which in turn creates a huge gap. During this COVID-19 crisis, a support system is crucial and people need to feel connected in one way or another. Online communities are the only way that we can fill this void and feel active mentally and physically.
People are, therefore, rushing to create essential virtual meeting spaces. The big question now turns to whether or not these interactions will extend beyond the lockdown period. It is expected that the longer the lockdowns last, the more dependent people will become on the online chat groups. A significant interactive shift into the digital realm is highly expected soon. Eventually how people communicate may just be altered forever.
Another significant shift that people are experiencing due to COVID-19 lockdowns is video interactions. Many social external events are currently being streamed online. Since people can’t go to events, Dj’s are streaming live video parties which are becoming a huge hit. According to DJ Mag this is some good news since many electronic musicians have been looking for new platforms for a while now. Online social platforms such as Twitch are greatly expanding, and more people get access to new music. Social apps such as Instagram have live DJ parties almost all the time.
Growing artists who were not getting their music to a wider market are now casting their shows to a much wider population. A real-time relationship with fans is now a possibility and people love it. The music industry may get entirely revolutionized should the COVID-19 lockdowns last longer. The behavioral shift in how people consume digital content is seen throughout the world.
Businesses now need to adapt and utilize the online engagement trends that are currently taking shape. Remember that businesses still need to run and turn a profit even during these difficult times. With the changes in online social behaviors, a business can get a handle on how their consumers are feeling to help them tailor a product that the people need.
We, however, need to note that the world that will precede this pandemic period will be quite different from the one we were used to. Although most people hope and expect that most things will go back to normal, it is worth noting that shifts and trends in online social behaviors might just change forever. According to Talking Influence, influencers and brands will have to completely change the way they conduct business due to the massive shifts in consumer behavior during this COVID-19 lockdown.
About the author. My name is Matt Fuller. I come from Queensland Australia. I have been working in the online space in various capacities for the majority of my working life. The article you are reading has been written at a time when the world is undergoing possibly the biggest social and economic crisis known to mankind.