Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic should be effortless in the age of social networking. Everyone has a smartphone that allows us to upload a new tweet, Facebook post or Instagram photo faster than it takes people to step away from someone who coughs because something went down the wrong pipe.
Social media is the only way to get social interaction without going through the hassle of making a phone call, yet suddenly it’s not enough. Time and time again, we easily find people sitting silently next to each other as they scroll through their Twitter feed, but now everyone is itching for face-to-face conversations because we’ve been holed up in their houses so long that we’ve run out of things we want to watch on Netflix.
Posts have become more raw and honest than ever before, whether it be talking about how many grains of rice they have sprinkled on their pantry floor, sharing stories about their pets’ and children’s shenanigans or lamenting the day when they will actually have to put on pants.
The “Until tomorrow” challenge on Instagram surfaced because people were tired of the perfect and pristine images people posted on their accounts. Pretty, smiling faces are boring when we’re stuck in our houses. We yearned to see the quirky side of our friends, so we started to urge people to share their embarrassing photos or videos. Only then would we have peace and get ever so slightly appeased for a glimpse of normalcy.
People aren’t posting about any April Fools’ Day pranks because nothing could be more absurd than the 8-foot tall pyramid of toilet paper that’s being built in the living room during self-isolation. People are panicking because social distancing is suggested for a minimum of 30 more days. We can barely wait for our two-day Amazon Prime shipping for retro sunglasses we decided we needed even though we haven’t stepped outside in days, maybe weeks. How can we possibly survive with solely virtual stimulation for even longer?
We’re fortunate enough to know a few brave souls who have the guts to face the outdoors and take pictures of the sun setting on the other side of the empty parking lot. This way, we can see nature’s beauty without leaving the comfort of our bed, since our circadian rhythms are completely jumbled up so that we don’t see sunlight anymore.
People have been making posts about how much weight they’ll gain during quarantine. Luckily, there’s an Instagram challenge that’s been around where people record themselves doing 10 or 50 pushups and tagging their friends to do the same. Plus, TikTok is a popular platform that encourages people to learn and memorize dance routines. If people are embarrassed about revealing that they can only do 10 pushups on their knees, they can choose TikTok instead. Then again, authenticity is what everyone is searching for on social media, so exposing our weaknesses might be the way to go.