Using social media to bridge social distancing

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As COVID-19 cases climb, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and governments have recommended that everyone practice social distancing if they are able.

Through FaceTime and other social media, people have been able to stay in touch with friends and family while quarantined. 

For Michigan State advertising creative sophomore Jordan Visser, it didn’t make sense to give up his front-desk job. 

“I know that I come in contact with a lot of people, but I also use hand sanitizer or wash my hands, and I avoid touching my face and I try to at least keep 6 feet away, but it doesn’t always happen,” he said. “I’ve probably been exposed to so many people I don’t know, so at this point I’m just waiting to see what happens.”

Some of his friends have also chosen to stay on campus, but he still finds himself making phone calls and FaceTime so he can still have — at least the feeling of — face-to-face interaction. 

Staying on campus, watching people pack up and leave the dorms was scary to him.

“It’s very, very hectic,” he said. “It’s kind of sad, too, since everyone is leaving, but I guess this is the safest option for MSU. It’s very crazy and a little bit scary because people are leaving at once, like fleeing.” 

As everyone’s day-to-day lives seem to have immediately shifted online, some people find themselves relying on Zoom calls to stay in touch.

Mackenzie Present, currently enrolled at Douglas J. Aveda Institute, uses Zoom to stay in touch with classmates throughout her 7-hour days online. 

“We all go on Zoom so we can all video chat and talk together. And for lessons we have to learn, my teacher will teach us online through video chat,” she said. “We’ve been playing Kahoots through the video chat, too.” 

After lessons, students are expected to practice at home. Her classmates use Snapchat to keep in contact and make sure they understand their assignments and what is expected.

“It’s really weird and different,” Present said. “Normally at school every day we’re taking guests and doing hair and it’s basically like working at a salon, but now we’re doing everything completely different, so it’s just really weird.” 

MSU comparative culture and politics sophomore Kayla Johnson said social media allows people to stay connected and continue talking with their friends. 

She prefers in-person classes. 

“It just sucks, because campus is dead,” she said. “Nobody is really here, it’s just sad. Nothing is open. It’s really hard.”

“It just doesn’t feel the same,” Johnson said. “It’s supposed to be spring soon, people are supposed to be outside hanging out, and it’s not going to be the same.”

Students have been leaving the East Lansing area and returning to their permanent addresses, following the university’s recommendation

“It’s going to be a ghost town,” she said. “I hate it.”