Friday, September 18

Social media challenges rise as more students stay home

By Lily Russell

Amber Adams was sitting on her bed on her third day of social distancing, already fighting off boredom. The Trevecca freshman was scrolling through Instagram to pass the time when she started noticing most of her followers had posted some sort of social media challenge in their stories.

“I think some of the challenges are silly, but some are fun. The tag 10 beautiful women challenge was one I enjoyed. It’s nice to see women building each other up,” said Adams.

An Instagram challenge is directed at followers and friends and offers specific prompts to the audience.

Challenges incorporate sharing photos and hashtags in a creative way. Some of the newest challenges featured in the past couple of weeks include social distancing bingo, my favorite things challenge, see a (blank) send a (blank), 10 beautiful women, and the “until tomorrow” challenge.

Social media use is up as people deal with social distancing.  According to Facebook’s analytics department, overall messaging is up more than 50 percent.  Zoom, which allows live video conferencing is currently the top free app in the Apple App Store and daily usage is up more than 300 percent, according to marketwatch.com.

More users are active on Instagram as well.  An article in US Campaign Live reports a 76 percent increase in daily accumulated likes on Instagram ad posts in the past two weeks.

Sara Hopkins, director of counseling services at Trevecca, said social media is helpful during this time, but also requires some limits.

“I think social media can play a part in staying connected, but it can also hinder our ability to get things done and keep us from connecting with what our bodies, brains, and souls really need in this time,” Hopkins said. “I’ve noticed my use increase and it takes me a second to realize that I’m using it to zone out or numb the fear or boredom I’m experiencing and what I really need is to check in with myself. I think setting limits can be especially good in this season.”

The challenges on Instagram offer new ways to connect besides just scrolling and liking, said some Trevecca students.

“I’ve seen about three to four new challenges everyday during this social distancing time. I think most are fun and creative. I have been tagged in a few but only posted one that I really wanted to do,” said Ashley Forman, a freshman.

Forman posted the see a (blank) send a (blank) challenge and filled her blank with a picture of a mountain. She then tagged some friends in hopes they would then post their pictures of mountains and the chain would continue.

“I really love the outdoors and nature in general. This challenge was the most appealing to me and very creative,” said Forman.

For Aby Berhe, a freshman, the most creative yet humorous challenge to her was the ‘until tomorrow’ trend.

The challenge asks users to put a funny or embarrassing photo with the caption “until tomorrow” on their profile for 24 hours. Anyone who likes a post of this sort is then challenged to do the same whether they know the rules beforehand or not.

Berhe unintentionally enrolled in the challenge when she liked someone’s post labeled “until tomorrow.”

“I’m glad I did like that picture because it ended up being the challenge I liked the most. If people did post embarrassing photos it was so funny and it showed a vulnerable part of people during this serious time,” said Berhe.

While the challenges can be fun, Hopkins also encourages students to connect with those they care about in other creative ways  such as Zoom or Facetime.

Hopkins said she sends videos to her friends twice a day about silly things such as wearing sweatpants for several days in a row, or what she ate for lunch.

“This time is a collective trauma, a collective time of grief, and a collective time of fear. We are in this together and we need each other,” said Hopkins.

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A Trevecca social justice major bingo template made by @leximable on Instagram.

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