As we’re all moving towards ‘social distancing’ mode, people are closing their doors to the outside world and opening their laptops to the digital world.
People are using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with their family and friends, share tips on how to work from home (best alternative desk set-ups!)as well as find instant information about COVID-19.
The rise of ‘Caremongering’
Facebook Community Groups
One rising online trend I’ve noticed is COVID-19 specific Facebook groups (now dubbed as ‘Caremongering’ groups).
One of these is the ‘Willington (Derbyshire) Community Group: Covid 19’ page. It’s been set up by a ‘Top Fan’ from a Local Authority social media account I manage. To no surprise, it has already attracted hundreds of local residents within a couple of days of its creation.
The thread that holds this groups together is the ‘we’re all in this together’ sentiment – residents have banded together to help support each other as well as reach out to vulnerable members of their community with offers of “Just off to Sainsbury’s if anyone needs any bits picking up (no trolley quantities though please!).”
Other content shared within the group include:
- content from the local council
- content from news sources such as the BBC
- local nurses offering to take essential items to patients in her hospital
- a call out for leaflet droppers
- letterbox cards saying ‘Hello! If you are self-isolating, I can help…’
- local business owners sharing tips and information about how they can protect their livelihoods
- opening times of local shops and supermarkets
From taxi’s to baby formula
These groups are becoming a go-to source of instant information and becoming a useful forum for local residents, for example:
It’s not just toilet rolls that people are panic buying.
More information on that can be found here.
During a time of immense fear, anxiety and uncertainty, groups like ‘Willington (Derbyshire) Community Group: Covid 19’ create instant online communities and are rapidly becoming vital in connecting older neighbours or self-isolators to useful information and tips. They also provide a platform for conversation, humour and general camaraderie.
This is why it is imperative for local councils to connect and build a rapport with their top fans. This allows them to filter their messages through the top fan/community group ensuring that messages get to the hard to reach residents.