Edited by Kavya Mittal
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, having to stay put within the four walls of their houses is driving people crazy. Our physical, emotional, and mental spaces have changed dramatically, so much so that our interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships are being affected. Having zero physical contact with others, people are looking for ways to distract themselves and social media has come to the rescue.
I delve into the popular trends which seem to have entertained people in these tough times:
1. Zoom/Google Meet: With our interactions having to be more and more digitally dependent, apps such as Zoom and Google Meet have become de rigueur. Day-to-day activities such as office work, classroom teaching, yoga classes, church sessions, and even random chill sessions with friends, all have migrated online. Want to have a Friday night, drinking, with your friends? Just Zoom/ Google Meet It.
2. Dalgona Coffee:Spending hours watching food videos is a guilty pleasure for a lot of us, and according to Google Trends, “Dalgona Coffee” has become the most searched type of coffee worldwide. This light as air, frothy, and heavenly drink became an instant TikTok hit because of its luxurious look. And with three simple ingredients — instant coffee, milk and sugar — and some time to whip, it became a quarantine favourite. Interestingly, the frothy drink bears an uncanny resemblance with the phenti hui coffee that has been a part of Indian households for decades. So this trend, particularly, confused lots of Indians since they’ve grown up watching their parents whisk this foamy drink for the guests. If you haven’t made/tried Dalgona Coffee yet, you might be living in a cocoon.
3. The HandEmoji and Gibberish Challenge: Along with people masterchef-ing their time through the quarantine, many new and innovative challenges have kept people on the go. Tik Tok, for instance, came up with a dance challenge, but for the hands. Millions took to the app, sharing their version of the challenge, grooving to the tunes of singer Y2K's popular number 'Lalala'. And, Instagram, keeping up with this season of challenges, introduced the Gibberish Challenge where users have to find meaning to a random phrase that makes very little sense before the timer goes off. Are you really in quarantine if you haven’t tried these challenges?
4. #SafeHands Campaign: With the constant increase in COVID-19 cases, and the risk of getting the virus high, World Health Organisation experts have recommended hand washing as a basic step to be followed to avoid the spread of coronavirus. And, to promote this, WHO launched the campaign and shared a video where the Director-General of the WHO gives a lesson on how to have clean and safe hands. This two minute long video covers the techniques of washing our hands. Many celebrities have taken to their social media accounts, and have shared their hand-washing video in a bid to encourage people to maintain personal hygiene. Practising social distancing and maintaining one’s personal hygiene, while avoiding touching one’s face and constantly using sanitiser is an effective way to control the spread of virus-infected droplets from one person to another, and from the hands to the face. It isn’t long before we’ll HAVE to go out, so why risk unclean hands?
5. Online Games: Humans are social beings, and we need to stay connected. Scrolling through social media becomes monotonous after a few hours, and people are always finding new ways to kill their time at home. A musical chain was started on Instagram by Aparshakti Khurana, by singing a song and challenging others to be part of the same. Inspired by the idea, others started posting their singing videos on their stories and nominated their friends to do the same. Ludo King, a digital version of the classic game Ludo, derived from medieval pastime Pachisi, has gained immense popularity. In an attempt to stay motivated and support others, people are connecting to their childhood memories through these games and are sharing their experiences with their close ones. What are you waiting for? Hit up your friends with a Ludo King invite and show-off your singing skills on Instagram.
6. Life Imitates Art: People all over the world are channeling their creative energy by recreating famous paintings with objects available at home, ranging from vegetables to old clothes, and posting them with the hashtag #betweenartandquarantine. “If art imitates life, then it’s time to imitate art.”
7. Mug-It:The Microwave, which was previously used to heat stuff, has now upped its game and people are using it to make everything! Being curious has its perks because people are not only baking mug cakes, but making meals like pizza, pasta, omelette, chicken, etc., all in a mug. It uses minimal dishes, and cleaning up is a dream. Find recipes here.
FOMO is real. And in times where we ought to stay connected through our digital presence, the desire to be recognised and seen is portrayed in these trends. We are influenced by the things we see and resort to these trends to give us an identity and a social standing. That’s how we fit in.