As social media is the preferred platform to get the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, usage has certainly spiked with netizens glued to their devices to stay connected. Twitter, for one has experienced this surge. In fact, tweets related to the pandemic rose 283% in March compared to January and February combined, according to figures released by Twitter.
But, aside from knowing #WhatsHappening, netizens use social media to pay it forward—helping, donating, or even just informing fellow netizens about the risks and dangers they face in the midst of the health crisis. On Twitter, amongst other social networks, people from all walks of life are doing their share to help communities and raise awareness to issues that matter the most. But aside from volunteerism and bayanihan, there are other ways Filipinos use the platform to relive a sense of normalcy and hope even during these challenging times.
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While staying at home, here are some purposeful and productive activities we can do while on Twitter.
1. Creating art to reduce stress
Art is a way of expression, and it is through art that we can also find enjoyment and a piece of serenity. Filipino artists have been using the hashtag #ArtPH to showcase their works and encourage fellow artists to keep on creating as well.
In the midst of the current situation, people turn to art as one of the ways to de-stress and interestingly, a creative means to extend help. Filipino artists opened up commissions wherein the proceeds will be given to donation drives for frontliners and more. Check the hashtag #ArtForMedPH to view amazing artworks done by local artists, share or challenge friends to showcase their creative pieces along with the hashtag #ArtPH.
2. Get practical and expert advice
Aside from staying at home and practicing measures such as having #SafeHands, people need to be healthy inside out. Though it is practically impossible to visit a doctor for consultations, it’s a fortunate time that people can still find doable and proper advice from experts who are active on the platform.
The Department of Health (@DOHgovph) gives practical tips on how to stay healthy as well as the latest news regarding COVID-19. They produce short animated videos and infographics that capture the user’s attention and make the tips and guidelines easier to follow.
UNICEF Philippines (@unicefphils) reminds everyone to practice proper hand washing and maintaining good hygiene especially for children. They also have plenty of informative and practical advice for expecting mothers and parents on how they can proactively spot and address their child’s concerns especially on coping up during these unprecedented times.
Filipinos can also look forward to HealthXPh's (@HealthXPh) Twitter chats which usually happens every Saturday. Dr. Gia Sison (@giasison) and her peers in the healthcare industry moderates this regular session to spark conversations on various topics such as health and well-being. A specific topic is covered every session and participants are encouraged to reply their thoughts and spread the word using the hashtag #HealthXPh.
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3. Learn something new
Quarantine can be an opportunity for us to discover a new hobby, continue an unfinished project, or even dive on widening one's knowledge to have a better grasp of the current situation. In fact, learning can be as fun and educational online, too.
For those who are interested in history, economics, or political theory; Lakan (@immanuellakant) uses Twitter to discuss complex concepts such as public issues, labor, and other topics that people may find relevant today. Lakan keeps his "online lessons" snackable through short videos and threads to make it more interactive yet comprehensive and easier to digest for his online audiences.
4. Keeping a safe space online
Aside from physical health, it is also important to keep a healthy mind. With lots of information at one’s disposal, it is easy to get caught up and feel anxious with what’s happening around the world. Filipinos can find tips on how to fight cabin fever through Mental Health’s (@mentalhealthph) #RecoverTogether daily reminder. They have daily tweets on how to promote and protect mental health through simple ways.
Even at the height of social distancing, people can still connect together by going online. With responsible usage, Filipinos can tap social media, such as Twitter, to catch up with friends, find advice, share progress on an art project, and get real-time updates on current issues, and more. Stay safe, everyone!
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