Title: Framing social media and web-based communities within the COVID-19 pandemic: enduring social isolation and subsequent deconfinement

Authors: Pedro Isaias; Paula Miranda; Sara Pifano

Addresses: Information Systems and Technology Management School (ISTM), University of New South Wales (UNSW – Sydney), Room 2117, Quadrangle Building, 2052 Kensington, Australia ' Setubal School of Technology, Polytechnic Institute of Setubal, Campus do IPS – Estefanilha, 2910-761 Setúbal, Portugal ' ISRLab – Information Society Research Laboratory, Rua São Sebastião da Pedreira, 100-3, 1050-209 Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract: As images circulate of people, all around the world, watching their cities from their windows and balconies, a sense of solemnity emerges. The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to seclusion in an attempt to control contagion. The social isolation deriving from the adoption of containment strategies have displaced social interaction to online settings. Social media and web-based communities assume an increasingly central role in this scenario of pandemic, with an ever-growing number of people turning to these platforms to maintain social connection, to obtain information and to keep a sense of community. This paper aims to examine and frame the role of social media and web-based communities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reviews current literature to propose a framework based on five main purposes of social media use and web-based communities: preserving physical health, promoting mental health, tending to education/business, searching and sharing information and socialising.

Keywords: social media; COVID-19 pandemic; web-based communities; social distancing; deconfinement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2021.114450

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2021 Vol.17 No.2, pp.120 - 134

Received: 17 May 2020
Accepted: 19 May 2020

Published online: 18 Feb 2021 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article