Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

What's trending during coronavirus pandemic? A definitive guide to the most used hashtags

From #StayHome to #QuarantineandChill, people are sharing very different sentiments about their newfound time at home

Hashtags are helping people share thoughts and funny experiences through the pandemic. Alamy
Hashtags are helping people share thoughts and funny experiences through the pandemic. Alamy

Lockdowns look a little different today than they did in previous generations – and that's largely down to the interconnectedness of the world in 2020.

Social media has become a lifeline to many in recent days, as an increasing number of people around the world are encouraged to isolate themselves at home.

As such, social media platforms have also become one of the quickest and most effective ways to receive information and updates from the authorities (just remember, not all of it is accurate or from verified sources. That's what you need us, the media, for).

It's also become a place for people to give and receive light-hearted banter, memes and commentary on the world as it changes. Many have been tweeting or Instagramming their experiences in self-isolation, in the hopes of inspiring others who may be quickly descending into small apartment-induced boredom.

And to thread all of these commentaries together, we have the humble hashtag. There are plenty flying around at the moment, and you may not be sure what they all mean. In fact, the coronavirus hashtag glossary is already rather extensive. So here, we break the most popular options down for you:

#Covid19 / #Covid-19 / #Coronavirus

This is the OG. Most of these hashtags will be trending throughout the day, and they are all being used as a default for anything related to the pandemic. The latter, despite the change in terminology, was the first hashtag to come out of the crisis, before the coronavirus became known specifically as Covid-19. Using this, you'll find all the breaking news and generic virus-related information. There are also many more (#coronaviruspandemic, #coronavirusupdate etc), but these are the most prevalent.

#StayHomeStaySafe

This is a public service announcement to inform people to self-isolate from the comfort of their own homes. People are sharing their tips for staying safe and sane at home, or just fun videos of how they are entertaining themselves. There's a slight variant on this one, the UK-centric #StayHomeSaveLives, which has become an urgent call for people to stay home – and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is so attached to it that he's now incorporated it into his Twitter handle.

#StayHome

This is similar to the previous hashtag, but generally includes more stern instructions from people urging their fellow social media users to stay home and self-isolate. Expect to see more health authorities and the likes using this one. You might also see the name of a country tagged on to the end of this one, as users target specific areas. Again, a few variants here – #StaySafe being one of them.

#QuarantineandChill

Here's a good way to show off how you're spending all your newfound time indoors, and what hobby you've decided to learn on any given day. Whether you're trying out a new recipe, sharing Netflix tips or have figured out how to use a brush and shovel as a trumpet, you'll find some nice lighthearted content here.

#LockdownNow

Before countries started going into lockdown, Twitter used this hashtag as a silent protest to urge the authorities to consider a total lockdown. In the hours before India introduced curfews and stopped their train service, many Indians had taken to social media to consider taking the country into lockdown via Twitter and this hashtag.

#Covidiots

Seemingly born from a meme that circulated just before the hashtag started trending, this is a creative term for a person ignoring self-isolation rules or not using general common sense during the outbreak. It's sometimes used to publicly shame particularly ignorant people.

#MyPandemicSurvivalPlan

Another one if you're looking for a few laughs, this is where people are sharing their sometimes serious, more often hilarious, plans to get through the outbreak. Plenty of memes, gifs, junk-food eating plans and self-help tips to see you through your day indoors.

#FlattenTheCurve

Another public service announcement-type hashtag, this is being used by high-profile figures and many others, employing the lexicon surrounding why people should be staying home. Flattening the curve refers to the graph used by each country to report new cases of the virus.

On this graph, most outbreaks of infectious diseases show a ramping-up period, followed by a peak, then a decline – described as a "bell-shaped curve". The aim of "flattening the curve" is preventing that sharp uprise in cases and spreading the infection rate out over a longer period of time to ensure healthcare systems are not overwhelmed. And this is where social distancing comes in.

#SocialDistancing

This is less a hashtag and more an overarching concept, but social media pundits have taken to tagging it to posts as well. The concept of social distancing refers to the practice of maintaining a physical distance from others that is greater than usual and avoiding busy public places.

If in doubt, why not take a leaf out of Reese Witherspoon's book and head out for your walk with your pal Laura Dern, but remain apart by a safe two-metre distance at all times. (Witherspoon didn't use the hashtag, but she really should have.)

#TogetherAtHome

Desperate to attend a Coldplay concert, but hamstrung due to quarantine? What about John Legend? Luckily, now you can have these guys sing for you without leaving the comfort of your own home.

The Together, At Home virtual concert series is spearheaded by the World Health Organisation and international advocacy organisation Global Citizen, which were due to feature Dubai as a host city of its 10-hour, six-continent telecast in September. So far, we've seen live concerts from Legend, Chris Martin, Hozier, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, OneRepublic and Common from our couch, and we're expecting plenty more big names.

#BigOnlinePar

This is a bit of a niche one, which has come out of Jamaica and has really been trending in recent days. This hashtag promotes a "non-stop partying quarantine against the coronavirus" from the island nation, and seems to be catching on. Jamaicans are basically having an online party from their couches, and have so far notched up over 13,000 listeners across 23 countries.

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Read more:

Will social distancing revive the true meaning of social media? I hope so

What is Zoom? The free video meeting platform you can use in the UAE

The show goes online: where to stream live concerts and operas

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Updated: April 6, 2020 04:58 PM

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