During the pandemic, society became dependent on social media to uphold our society.


Throughout the past two years, we have all been far more reliant on social media than some would care to admit. When lockdown struck last year, everything from business meetings to social interactions moved online. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t benefitted from social media at all during the pandemic, even if they don’t even realise it. The structure of society almost certainly would have fallen apart more than it already did without social media platforms like Zoom or WhatsApp.


In particular, many small businesses would have been decimated without the use of social media during the pandemic - many were. The social media manager of a local shop in Claygate stated that ‘during lockdowns, social media [] was their one way of reaching their customers'. Large companies like Amazon profited so much from the pandemic as shops were closed but people needed items delivered to their homes, yet we forget about how much our local community stores may have been struggling.


Another demographic that suffered greatly during the pandemic were school children. A school child in Surrey said that ‘it helped people stay connected and I think it was a good thing.’ Social media was the only way students (and most adults) had of socialising with people for long periods of time over the past 18 months. This was often the saving grace for some who may have found themselves already on edge due to the anxiety created from Covid-19.


The increase in the use of social media during the pandemic is clear through statistics. In June 2020, around 300 million people around the world were using Zoom on a daily basis - an increase of 2900% from before the pandemic hit (Iqbal, 2020). This included the UK government who made a number of key decisions about the country’s response to Covid-19 over Zoom call. In July 2021, 95.7% of 16-64-year-old internet users used social networking platforms such as Facebook. 95.2% used chat or messaging platforms like Whatsapp. In comparison, 84.1% have used search engines or web portals such as Google. (GWI (Q1 2021))

Social media often has a lot of negative press but it’s times like this when it becomes clear how beneficial it can be to society. I am certainly grateful that I had access to these resources throughout the pandemic.