Understanding How Social Media Content Has Been Affected by the Pandemic

By: Caitlin Freeman

COVID-19 effects on Social Media Content

When thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic everyone has seen the implications on our daily lives. What we may not consider is the impact COVID-19 has had on social media content. Understanding how social media content has been affected by the pandemic can help us grasp an understanding of the content we are seeing and why we are seeing it. Considering we are in a digital age, social media plays a large role in our daily lives. Whether you are checking Instagram to see what your peers are up to or if you are reading an article online, you are engaging in social media. COVID-19 has affected the way we interact with our peers not only in person but also online. Universities had to transition to online learning and people were advised to stay indoors. Elementary, middles, high schools, and many jobs also had to transition into online learning or working. Quarantine has increased social media usage and forced people to connect digitally.

Impacts of COVID-19 on Social Media

An article written by Charles Mountifield and Stirling Sharpe gives us some insight on the impact of COVID-19 on social medias role. “Despite the truly terrible global crisis, my thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on social media are mostly positive” (Mountifield & Sharpe, 2020). Content creators have been forced to reinvent the content they are creating. Since more individuals are engaging in social media content, creators have to be more creative. Keeping followers engaged has become the main goal and we are seeing content that is more impactful. “It’s almost forced creators into being super creative, as well as providing an incredibly powerful platform for campaigns to gain support” (Mountifield & Sharpe, 2020). One rising trend has been keeping healthy during quarantine. Social media has become a place where people can find tips to staying healthy, while staying indoors. Cooking healthy meals, indoor exercises, and ways to stay positive during a world-wide pandemic is some of the content that has been successful. Understanding how social medias role has shifted from a place for people to stay connected to a place where people can be inspired to stay healthy helps us understand the change in social media. Social media is shifting to a more influential role by allowing its users to find ways to be healthy.

Changes to Social Media Content because of COVID-19

Looking at the changes made to social media output due to the current global pandemic gives us insight into the content we are seeing. Brands were forced to re-evaluate their social media content due to their business’s changing. An example of this is seen in the sports industry as sports were put on hold due to the pandemic. It was no longer safe for players to play so sports based social media had to engage in a different way. “Like many clubs, we have shifted some of our attention to relieving past glories by posting “On This Day” features. I really like what we’ve done with that, because it is not only a great way of filling the void in current sports content at the moment but it also really engages our clients and their fans by reminding of more positive times, something that I think is very important in the current climate.” (Mountifield & Sharpe, 2020). How COVID-19 has forced brands to engage with their users a different way helps us understand the content we are seeing. Sports features is a perfect example of the changes made to social media output due to COVID-19 because of how their posts were very limited. With sports being suspended sports features had to pivot their content to keep their users engaged. They were able to do this by talking about previous seasons and other topics rather than current events.

Increase in Social Media Engagement due to COVID-19

The pandemic has increased social media engagement because of individuals spending more time at home. People are trying to find ways to keep themselves entertained, while being stuck at home. “Unsurprisingly, people are consuming more media during the lockdown period because they are confined to their homes.” (Mountifield & Sharpe, 2020). Looking at how social media engagement has increased we can see how much COVID-19 has impacted social media. Moving forward users may look to social media for their daily interactions. The job industry for social media content creators will increase because the need for creators will rise. The spike in engagement has changed how people look at the importance of social media. Brands see the value in utilizing social media to promote their brands messaging and content. Understanding these changes will help students graduating with degrees that will allow them to work in the social media industry, successfully obtain jobs. It is important to analyze how the pandemic has increased social media usage and use that understanding to keep users engaged.

Conclusion on How COVID-19 has affected Social Media

Overall COVID-19 has had a large impact on social medias role, social medias output, and social media engagement. Social media content will continue to evolve due to the impact COVID-19 has had on social media. In order for brands to be successful on social media they will need to take what they have learned from the pandemic and apply it to their content moving forward.  Understanding the impact of COVID on social media will help us predict future jobs, social medias importance, and successful content. COVID-19 has impacted social media through how users interact with content as well as how content creators post. The research being done helps explain how the pandemic has impacted social media. It also allows more insight into how social media content has changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Social media content is changing due to COVID-19 and will continue to change after the pandemic.



Mountifield, C., & Sharpe, S. (2020). Managing social media content during a Global Crisis: Interview With Ben Read, social media manager at world in motion. International Journal of Sport Communication, 13(3), 300–306. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsc.2020-0211