Social Media Shift

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Social Media Shift

May 21, 2021

As one would expect from a Gen Z individual, I use a great deal of social media. Each social media platform can be used for a different purpose which grants you different satisfactions. As opposed to choosing one platform, many like myself use a variety of platforms daily like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok.

I had a much different relationship with social media before quarantine began. Pre-pandemic, I would log about 30 minutes on Instagram, 20 minutes on Twitter, five minutes on Snapchat, and I didn’t own a TikTok account. I was much more cognitive of the time I spent on social media and made sure that I used it responsibly. I mainly used these platforms to stay updated on my friends and family and the social scene at Pepperdine. I only followed people I knew and organizations I wanted to stay updated on. Since quarantine started, the amount of time I spend on social media and how I utilize it has changed. During the first few weeks of being stuck indoors, I’m embarrassed to admit I logged about six hours on social media. Now, I spend about an hour on Instagram, 45 minutes on Twitter, and 10 minutes on Snapchat. Also, yes, I regret to inform you that I now own a TikTok account where I spend about 15 minutes a day.

What I consume through these outlets has changed as well. As opposed to following only people I know, I now follow all different types of accounts like virtual storefronts, influencers, and restaurants. Since in-store shopping has changed so much in the last year with waiting lines and closures, I have moved almost strictly to online shopping, and social media storefronts help you stay in the loop on new arrivals and sales. I used to shy away from any influencer; however, I found some of their content useful. I follow influencers focusing on travel and food, so I have new places I can go and visit for myself. I never thought I would be one to follow dining pages. However, since quarantine restrictions have made knowing where is open to eat so difficult, it is easier for me to stay updated on these pages’ dining alterations. I feel like I get more out of my platforms now that I have broadened my outlook.

The most significant shift I have seen in my social media habits is my posting routine. I used to post at least once every week to update my friends and family on my life. The weekends allowed for quick road trips and fancy dinners, but everything changed when COVID-19 hit. I spend most of my time inside now, focusing on class and remote work. I rarely go out to eat since indoor dining has been available and outdoor is nearly impossible to get into. With attractions closed and campgrounds flooded with people, road trips have become more stressful and less enjoyable. The shift has led me to post about once a month, just so my account stays active.

The alterations that have been made due to the COVID-19 quarantine can, in a way, be measured through social media use. From looking at my pages, I can see that I have spent more time indoors, less time with friends and family, and more time developing my platform usage. I don’t think that I would use social media in the same way that I do now had it not been for the shift that quarantine proposed. While I still think it is important to limit your social media exposure, I can now see all the benefits each platform offers.

Rae Williams, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: How much time did you spend using social media before the onset of COVID-19? Did it go up or down in the early weeks of the lockdown? How much time do you spend on social media now? The class covers copyright and social media. Rae is an Public Relations major.

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