How Indians are coping with the lockdown, a view from the lens of social media

Published: June 1, 2020 11:33 AM

Government bodies, police force, health care workers and the common man are now using the access that social media brings to spread information as well as express opinions on the current situation

The government is now duplicating its efforts on traditional media like TV, print and radio to their websites and social channels with speed.The government is now duplicating its efforts on traditional media like TV, print and radio to their websites and social channels with speed.

By Anusha Shetty

“What a time to be alive!” this is a statement that we have all grown to use almost every day. As the world is coping with the COVID-19’s surge, each of us are now responsible to help flatten the curve. And while we take this responsibility seriously, social media is now buzzing more than ever. With an increased access to internet in India, we clearly see a pattern of conversations emerging with every passing week of the lockdown.

Government bodies, police force, health care workers and the common man are now using the access that social media brings to spread information as well as express opinions on the current situation. While this has always existed, we do see an increase in the number of updates from government bodies and people alike. The government is now duplicating its efforts on traditional media like TV, print and radio to their websites and social channels with speed.

The show must go on, for brands and content creators.

Our teams are working remotely and diving into projects with gusto and commitment to our clients during these testing times. Our Listening and Insights teams are producing quick and easy to consume reports on the situation on social, which inturn is helping us make a difference in the brand’s messaging during this pandemic. Across the marketing industry we see people steering businesses in the right direction, bringing meaningful and helpful content to consumers seamlessly. This is definitely the NEXT normal – being able to work remotely, collaborate, ideate and deliver with speed and accuracy, without losing the brand’s connect with its consumers.

Conversations, trends, and topics that are being discussed in India during the lockdown:

    1. Not all heroes wear capes: The whole nation has lauded the doctors, first responders and medical personnel as the new heroes.
    2. Nation with NaMo: The users have strongly supported the decisions taken by PM Modi. Right from the Janta Curfew, to the extension of the lockdown. #CoronaVirusLockdown and #IndiaFightsCorona trended as many people supported the initial 21-day lockdown.
    3. Hope in times of despair: Although some users declared these moves a mere distraction, social media was abuzz with videos of clapping and lighting diyas and candles on the PMs request.
    4. Social distancing and WFH – the golden opportunity for meme creators: WFH and social distancing has been the most popular content for meme creators and pages.
    5. Ratan “heart-of-gold” Tata: As the news of Tata Group opening up rooms at the Taj hotel in Colaba came in, users showered Ratan Tata with love from across the nation. Many users pledged to buy more Tata products and support the company. The Tata Group was also one of the largest donors to the PM Cares fund.
    6. Nizammudin Incident taking the wrong turn: As the number of cases grew rapidly owing to a religious gathering organized, some users took to social media to discuss the impact on the tensions between the religious groups.
    7. Care for Migrant Workers: On the dark side of the lockdown, many stranded migrant workers plead the governments for help to get back home. Many organizations have also come forward to support them.
    8. #AtHome the new cool: As the lockdown carried on, several users shared their mantras to staying fit, physically and mentally by working out at home, meditating as well as cooking at home. Recipes like Dalgona coffee, momos and some desserts went viral as many users tried their hand and shared the results
    9. Entertainment at Home: OTT and other streaming platforms took this moment to curate lists of movies and content to drive traffic to their platforms. Money Heist, Ramayana and Mahabharat are the most talked about shows on social.

We clearly see the benefits of social media, helping heath care workers to migrant workers to a common man looking to buy fresh produce. Now, more than ever we see that internet is becoming an essential commodity.

To make information accessible to all people, we have also created a tracker that gives people official and validated updates from government handles in 9 regional languages. This is a tool that will empower the common man to access information that is rightfully theirs in times of uncertainty. Say goodbye to fake news on COVID 19.

The author is chairman and CEO, Grey group India

Read Also: FCB India’s Rohit Ohri on the relationship between brands and agencies during Covid-19

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