7th April 2022

Stop, the world is ending. I need to record a TikTok… 

Stop, the world is ending. I need to record a TikTok…

Social media is the best and worst reporting method we have in times of crisis. 

It’s the best, because it connects people and gives information in real-time. It’s the worst, because misinformation can block genuine help. 

How is social media used in times of crisis? 

Internet culture is now a dominant political strategy, and not a separate world anymore. TikTok livestreamed the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, and we all saw those awful videos of Trump supporters storming the Capitol in 2021, days before Biden’s inauguration. 

We have gone through too many unprecedented times recently. We’re all tired. 

It’s good to know what’s going on, especially in the world of fake news and misinformation, but can it ever be too much? 

We’ve previously written on how with crisis comes creative opportunity, (you can read that bad boy here) but from a personal, human perspective, social media has given everyone the tools to document and create content. Good content, at that. 

 

TikTok

Do you ever imagine how would our ancestors react to the world events happening? With the rise of TikTok and Instagram, we have the ability to see real-time footage. It’s traumatising, but it sure does put things in perspective. 

After the fall of Vine and Musically, TikTok took off in 2020 in ways no one could have anticipated. Starting out as a fun app where teenagers could upload the latest trending dances, it became a place of distraction when we were all locked down. Footage, videos and photos all depicted a world in silence as people showed how small their worlds had become. The story of the pandemic has been told through trends and ironic pop music choices. 

You know for a fact that TikToks will one day be used in a history classroom. 

 

Facebook

Facebook is a news hub. It wasn’t designed that way, but it’s where a lot of people go now to catch up on the latest events. With its geotagging abilities, Facebook has become an amazing tool in times of crisis. The first time I became aware of this feature was in 2017, after the horrific terror attack on London Bridge. I had been in London that day, when Facebook sent an alert to my phone asking to mark myself as safe. Everyone on Facebook in the London radius was sent that alert. 

It’s a very proactive way to mark yourself as safe when time is of the essence, or your phone is about to die and you can’t call everyone you need to. It’s reassuring to see so many people online mark themselves as safe. This feature has been used in many crises since then, from Hurricane Harvey to the Santa Rose wildfires. 

 

Twitter

One of the older social media platforms, Twitter has seen it all. It’s also one of the most political platforms, and most powerful. After years of Trump broadcasting his (often wrong) views, Twitter banned him from the platform in 2021, on the grounds that he had incited the Capitol riots. It does lead to a question of censorship and freedom of speech, but when that speech is the catalyst for dangerous events, Twitter has done everyone a favour. 

Twitter is also the birthplace of the hashtag, which is often used to collate tweets into trending topics. Trending hashtags have been used in recent times, such as for Storm Eunice. #StormEunice trended for days as the storm battered Britain. Most events, good and bad, now utilise the hashtag to gather important information that can even save lives and give correct information. 

In conclusion, social media allows people to connect in times in crisis. Ordinary people are documenting extraordinary events in real-time, and we know one day historians will have a plethora of information at their fingertips. Whether it’s all accurate though, is a blog for another day. 

 

Written by: Rebecca Fatharly, Digital Marketing Manager