Socially distant but virtually together

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Sometimes it’s hard to see the bright side of certain situations, and this definitely feels like one of those times. But the truth is that we can extract lessons from basically everything and Covid-19 is no different. Since it’s very likely that you are already on top of all the negative news surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, let’s shift perspective for a bit and focus on the shred of hope and positivity that is emerging from this situation.

Physically apart but socially close

Because of the lockdown established in many countries and regions, you probably already noticed by now that we are more connected than ever. Yes, the world is living through a spike on in-home media consumption, the usage of smartphones increased significantly, the number of live streams on Instagram and Facebook are skyrocketing, and the time spent on devices consuming content is projected to increase by 50% per household.

But we are also more socially connected than ever. And this may seem somewhat weird since social media was created with the exact purpose of connecting people that are not physically close. Yet here we are, asking ourselves why we had never jumped into a video chat with all of our friends together before.

The way in which the social landscape is adapting to the Covid-19 context feels slightly new and is heart-warming: with a lot of love, solidarity, kindness, and empathy.

Influencers are improving the situation

Much of the emotional comfort that we need right now is coming from our favorite content creators. We are grateful to them for being able to generate a greater sense of community during these difficult times.

They use their influence to educate about relevant topics related to this situation, such as the importance of staying at home for those who can. In fact, some influencers have partnered with the World’s Health Organization and with the UK’s Department for International Development to create awareness on the importance of social distancing, handwashing and detecting misinformation about the Covid-19.

They are actively helping in the fight against the disease too. For example, the British influencer @thebodycoach announced that he is donating “every penny” from his #PEWithJoe workout videos on YouTube to the National Health Service in the UK, in order to, in his words: “support the real heroes right now”.

Also sparing no efforts in order to help her country is the Italian influencer @chiaraferragni. She created a limited-edition capsule collection in collaboration with Oreo, where they are donating all the proceeds from sales to fight the emergency in Italy. Along with her husband @fedez, she also created a fundraising campaign to support a hospital in Milan during these difficult times. They raised over €4m in less than a week.

Apart from that, providing support to micro, small, and local enterprises is on their agenda as well. Take the Dutch influencer @kajstypetjes for example, who invited small businesses to post a photo in their stories with a short description of the company and tag him so he could create awareness for them in his own Instagram channel.

The Los Angeles-based @marianna_hewitt is backing the same cause by incentivizing her followers to support the local small commerce, while a lot of foodie influencers in the United States are fighting to combat stigma against Asian-American restaurants, emptied due to the misinformed fear that the virus is more prevalent in these places.

In great part due to the awareness created by influencers, these movement seems to be only growing stronger as more and more people are joining it, creating a chain of positivity. Small actions that certainly go a long way.

Not to mention that influencers also contribute to the much-needed fun, creativity, and entertainment in a moment where people are anxious and worried. Live streams, workout classes, work from home tips, cooking recipes, memes, DIY tricks, or simply an honest, relatable and reassuring conversation.

The Brazilian influencer @harianameinke, for example, is tackling mental health issues and encouraging people not to feel too pressured about being productive and having to consume all the content suddenly available online. Doing nothing is an option as well.

Also bringing comforting words to her community, the American influencer @jessijeannn is spreading the message that it’s OK to gain weight during quarantine and that this is not an indication of failure.

These are only a few examples of how these content creators are contributing to improve the situation we are currently living in. They have chosen to use their influence to tap into topics that are extremely important and relevant at the moment, and it’s essential to acknowledge these initiatives since the world can use all the help it can get right now.

In the end, much more than being assets in creating content to help brands during this period of economic instability, influencers are also helping their communities by bringing a lot of positivity to the table. In times of quarantines and confinement periods, influencers bring comfort, entertainment, guidance, and fill the need for social contact, establishing even deeper emotional connections than before.

Emilie Tabor, founder and chief marketing officer, IMA

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