Have you been stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, with movie theaters seen as a risk and with restrictions on how we restaurants to dine in, South Africans, like many of the rest of the world have been spending more of their lives online with the use of internet.
How we use the internet has affected social life and entertainment during Covid-19.
With public gatherings being called off due to the second wave, South Africans are seeking out entertainment on streaming services like Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime and YouTube, and looking to connect with one another on social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
In the past few years, users of these services were increasingly moving to their smartphones, creating an industrywide focus on mobile. Now that we are spending our days at home, with computers close at hand, South Africans appear to be remembering how unpleasant it can be to squint at those little phone screens.
Facebook, Netflix and YouTube have all seen user numbers on their phone apps stagnate or fall off as their websites have grown.All these sites use the internet for them to be functional.
While traditional social media sites have been growing, it seems that we want to do more than just connect through messaging and text — we want to see one another. This has given a big boost to apps that used to linger in relative obscurity, like Google’s video chatting application, Duo, and Houseparty, which allows groups of friends use the internet to join a single video chat and play games together.
We have also grown much more interested in our immediate environment, and how it is changing and responding to the Covid-19 and the quarantine measures.
People now seriously use the internet to do meetings and learning online.
The offices and schools of South Africa have all moved into our basements and living rooms. Nothing is having a more profound impact on online activity than this change. School assignments are being handed out on Google Classroom. Meetings are happening on Blue Jeans, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. The rush to these services, however, has brought new scrutiny on privacy practices.
Amid the uncertainty about how bad the outbreak could get — there are now hundreds of thousands of cases in South Africa, with the number of dead multiplying by the day — South Africans appear to want few things more than the latest news on the Covid-19.
Among the biggest beneficiaries are local news sites, with huge jumps in traffic as people use the internet to try and learn how the pandemic is affecting their hometowns.
We also use the internet to access News Sites for current affairs on Covid-19.
South Africans have also been seeking out more established media brands for information on the public health crisis and its economic consequences. CNN, the has seen reader and viewership skyrocket.
The desire for the latest facts on the virus appears to be curbing interest in the more opinionated takes from partisan sites, which have defined the media landscape in recent years. Long standing have closed or have recorded stagnant or falling number.
Beating all of the news sites, in terms of increased popularity, is the home page for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been attracting millions of readers after previously having almost none. Over time, readers have also looked to more ambitious efforts to quantify the spread of the virus, like the one produced by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The single-minded focus on the virus has crowded out the broad curiosity that draws people to use the internet to access sites like Wikipedia, which had declining numbers before a recent uptick.People now use the internet more than anything since it’s really helping them to stay upto date and do some usefull work.
With all majorsports games called off, there hasn’t been much sports to consume beyond marble racing. Use of ESPN’s website has fallen sharply since late January.
At the same time, several video game sites have had surges in traffic, as have sites that let you watch other people play. Twitch, the leading site for streaming game play, has had traffic shoot up 20 percent.
TikTok, the mobile app filled with short clips of pranks and lip-syncing, was taking off before the Covid-19 outbreak and it has continued its steady ascent ever since. It can be nice to see that at least some things remain unchanged by the crisis.
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