How COVID-19 changed society

Coronavirus and the internet

Isabell Rivera ow contributor | 4/16/2020, midnight

Until last month the world seemed fine to many Americans, except China and Italy, where the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) broke out. Little was known about the virus, which would turn into a pandemic in a matter of weeks. It already has changed the way society handles chaos and isolation. The internet has become more popular these days than ever before.

Originally invented for military purposes, and then for communication between scientists, the internet, which made its first appearance in 1965, has changed drastically. Many people in the early to mid-’90s did not have access to it, but by 1995 when American Online (AOL) became the biggest online portal via dial-up, the internet became accessible to most people.

However, after broadband became more popular in the early 2000s, dial-up and AOL declined. The future of not just the internet, but also communication has changed since social networking sites, such as Snapchat and Facebook has made their way to the surface.

These days, social media platforms, such as Twitter, have become the new channel of communication. And not just for regular people, but for political parties. President Donald J. Trump is no stranger to Twitter and shares exactly how he feels about everything going on in the world; COVID-19 is no exception.

According to writer and New York University Journalism Professor Keith Kloor, the internet, especially Twitter, has played a big role since COVID-19 circled around. As an experiment, and to be in a certain “virtual bubble,” Kloor created a fake Twitter account to get insight about what people in power and Trump supporters think of the current COVID-19 pandemic. And surprisingly, many think it’s a hoax and not as serious as the media portrays it. These post by naysayers allow the circulation of false information.

Many political parties seem to come together via Twitter, during the country’s current crisis, as well as in hopes to defeat President Trump in November.

“Initially, we saw COVID-19 politicized and treated like any other topic in the media,” Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Journalism and Print Media Program Frank Percaccio of Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY said in an email. “Now that the issue is much more severe, political leaders appear to be coming together for the common good of all citizens. However, we may see the issue become politicized once again once the initial crisis of the pandemic subsides.”

There is no doubt that going back to the known-normal, is not going to happen. It’s hard to determine what normal will be like in the next few weeks, or months even.

Percaccio believes that the usage of social media has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak, spreading both panic and comfort.

“In some cases, social media does, unfortunately, spread fear, xenophobia, bigotry (especially now against Asian-Americans, and misinformation. But it also has been allowing people to congregate virtually,” Percaccio said. “By doing so, perhaps social media is helping to stave off the feelings of isolation and loneliness that we may encounter during our quarantine period.”