While the nation may be on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are getting their daily dose of internet. Explore how usage has changed.
The World Is Getting Their Daily Dose of Internet During COVID-19
The Internet is by far one of the most useful tools for business, research, and general productivity. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, though, Internet usage has vastly changed within a short period of time.
Browsing habits, online sales, and general behavior are far different than they once were, and the Internet is now more important than ever before. But, not everyone knows as much as they should.
Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know about how the Coronavirus has changed Internet use.
The Rise of Video Chat
With the nationwide social distancing guidelines in place, it's illegal for gatherings to take place. This means that anywhere that would typically experience crowds (such as bars, venues, or parks) has been shut down. Without a place to meet in-person, people have resorted to video chat in order to maintain their social connections.
Due to the ease of video calls and the level of intimacy they provide (two friends on a Facetime call often feel plenty socially connected, for example), this form of communication has seen a spike in popularity that transcends its necessity. Today, it's not uncommon for large groups of friends to join a chat simultaneously even while they're engaging in other activities.
Similarly, people have developed a reignited interest in neighborhood apps that allow people who live in the same community to discuss issues, report suspicious activity, etc. The same can be said about dating apps, which people are using for much longer periods of time to get to know one another since most public places are closed down.
Put simply, people are seeking connection more than ever before due to the gradual effects that self-isolation can have. Those who spend too much time alone without communicating with others can begin to feel increasingly isolated and experience a toll on their mental health.
Working From Home
With gatherings banned and most businesses being unable to properly accommodate social distancing guidelines, millions of Americans are now working from home.
For those who were already able to work remotely, this is nothing new. Those who have never experienced this situation, though, are still familiarizing themselves with the process.
Many people, for example, may find that newfound freedom makes it difficult to stay on-task. This could lead to a spike in non-work-related browsing during business hours and a minor to moderate drop in productivity.
Video conferences have also become a norm, with many important meetings now taking place over video chat instead of in-person. Given the restrictions people currently face, companies often negotiate multi-million-dollar deals over video chat.
This scenario has also led to many businesses revamping (or even creating) an online infrastructure to facilitate their employees' work. Many businesses have had to adapt to the sudden necessity of remote work, which has led to some companies developing entire systems to keep productivity as high as possible.
Video Games Are The New Pro Sports
Much to the dismay of fans, seasons of professional sports like baseball, basketball, and soccer were all cut short due to the virus. Even playing local, non-televised games is forbidden due to the government's restrictions on gatherings.
Instead, people have turned to professional gamers to satisfy their craving to watch competitive play. For example, streaming website Twitch has seen an enormous spike in traffic as a result of major league games being canceled.
Watching live streams of video games or also just playing video games on the internet, also seems to satisfy the need for social connection that many people have experienced during the pandemic, something that isn't present while watching major league games. Since the focus of the stream is a single person (many of which interact with their audience), watching gamers has become an almost therapeutic practice for some.
For the time being, we can expect e-sports to gradually gain more popularity due to the ambiguity that surrounds when the ban on major league sports will be lifted.
With the abundance of free time that people now have, using the Internet to research topics and teach oneself skills is more prominent than ever. Many people stuck inside are learning to play an instrument, how to code, etc.
In response, content creators have begun making far more tutorials in order to teach people the basics of many different pursuits.
People are also constantly researching COVID-19 and the impact that it's having on the entire world, often using scientific articles to educate themselves as opposed to news-based websites.Â
Finally, college students are completing their required coursework online, putting them in a situation where they just use the Internet to research and teach themselves a large amount of material. All of these scenarios combined have conveyed how powerful and necessary the Internet is when it comes to self-education.
As restrictions are lifted in the future, it's likely people will still continue to use the Internet in this way.
As time goes on, it's become exceedingly difficult to shop in-person at stores. Many retailers have transitioned to conducting sales solely on the Internet. Amazon, of course, is more popular than ever due to how easy the platform is to use for online purchases.
People have even begun to purchase basic necessities online, such as toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Additionally, ordering food has become even more commonplace since restaurants aren't permitted to host patrons or employees, and grocery shopping online is soaring during the Coronavirus crisis.
Since outdoor advertising (such as billboards) is now largely irrelevant, many companies are reallocating their advertising budgets toward digital advertising instead. This means we can expect to see far more product ads in the coming months, especially for items that weren't typically purchased online before the pandemic hit.
It should be noted, though, that due to the large volume of online orders and the fact that many warehouses now only keep minimum staff, order times have significantly increased.
The Development of Cybersecurity Threats
Unfortunately, a byproduct of more people using the Internet is an increase in cybersecurity threats.
Hackers are even taking advantage of people's interest in the spread of COVID-19 and using fake pandemic maps to install malware on unwary users' machines. This malicious software can be anything from an influx of annoying popup ads to a virus that aims to compromise your personal information.
Additionally, many people are experiencing fraudulent texts and emails claiming to be from official sources, such as the CDC or a financial institution. Upon clicking the link provided in these messages, the user's computer is either unknowingly infected with malware or they are brought to a false login page that gives their login credentials directly to the hacker.
Fortunately, though, information regarding these attacks has become increasingly widespread and people are beginning to properly educate themselves on defending against them.
Internet Speed May Become an Issue For Some
For those who live in areas with a high population density, there may be certain times during the day or evening when their Internet speed is significantly slower. While this is sometimes due to the sheer number of users simultaneously using bandwidth, it can also result from multiple users participating in remote conferences.
In fact, many people are left wondering 'will the Coronavirus break the Internet?'
While there isn't an imminent threat of Internet service providers failing to offer a reliable connection to their customers, slowdowns may be an issue that can't be circumvented during peak times. After all, this time period is most likely one that's seen the most simultaneous Internet usage, so the fast Internet most people are used to may occasionally experience lower speeds.
But, the Internet is dealing well with growing Coronavirus traffic, and general usage shouldn't be too heavily affected.
Streaming Services Have Seen Drastically Increased Usage
Watching movies, shows, or videos is a favorite pastime for many of us, and the abundance of free time the pandemic has left people with has caused a surge in viewership. Watching contentÂ can also be a form of escape or relaxation, which is something that those who are experiencing COVID-related hardships are taking advantage of.
Interestingly, people tend to be using their computers and smart devices to stream content as opposed to their phones. Since people no longer need to watch content while on their lunch break or when they're otherwise away from home, they can turn to devices with larger screens for a better viewing experience.
Understanding How Self-Isolation Has Affected The Internet Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn't have to be.
With the above information about the effects of self-isolation in mind, you'll be well on your way toward understanding both how Internet behavior has changed and the utility it provides.
Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.