When viruses go viral

Instagram trends gaining popularity from COVID-19

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Photo by Peyton Sims

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Story by Stephanie Jumper, staff writer

Restaurants are closing. Stores are shutting down. The closest we can see our friends is through a laggy computer screen on late night FaceTimes. All thanks to a disease from across the world called coronavirus, Texarkana is in a shelter in place. This order forces us to spend as much time at home as possible. However, there is one thing far less harmful than the virus spreading through the nation. Quarantine related Instagram trends are popping up all along the platform, helping us stick together through an unfortunate situation.

#UntilTomorrow

You may have scrolled through your feed recently with one question in mind: What in the world is happening tomorrow? In reality, nothing is happening the next day. Posting pictures on the Until Tomorrow hashtag is how users laugh through these undeniably odd times. The rules of the game are simple. Post an embarrassing, usually old photo of yourself on your Instagram account, caption it “Until Tomorrow” and delete your post after 24 hours. These posts’ ominous titles sound strange if you’re unfamiliar with the trend, but the hashtag is just another way to beat our bat soup induced boredom.  

“It’s one of those domino effect trends,” sophomore Olivia Grace George said. “One person does it, and another person does it. Before you know it, your whole city has done it. I think it did connect people because I would post [a picture], and then someone else would post [a picture], and I’d be like, ‘Oh, that’s so funny. I used to do that too.’”

Concerts

The quarantine is making more people than high schoolers drain their phone charges. If you ever tune into Instagram live stories, you’ve probably seen musicians performing free, virtual concerts in place of traditional ones. Singers of several genres have taken part in the trend, from Luke Bryan’s country twang to Diplo’s synthetic beats being broadcast to lift fans’ spirits. Viewers can even interact with their idols through Instagram Live’s chat feature. Although live streamed concerts don’t offer the same adrenaline rushes and close contact as your typical musical experience, drowning out the world with your favorite tunes is a great way to ease anxieties.

“It’s hard to see a lot of concerts because of this current virus and money reasons,” freshman Savannah Hallenbeck, who watched punk artist Yungblud’s live stream, said. “It’s a way that you can feel part of [a concert]. You think you’re there.”  

Social Distancing/ Quarantine Bingo

“Quarantine Bingo” is everyone’s favorite childhood game with a virtual, time sensitive twist. You’ve probably seen this trend invading everyone’s Instastories. People take a screenshot of a blank “bingo card” and mark the squares that apply to their coronacation. Some of the squares poke fun at corona caused hypochondria, with options like “obsessive temperature taking” and “Google[s] symptoms after every sneeze and cough.” It also reminds us of all the hobbies people tried out and immediately gave up on. Common examples include buying a ukulele, attempting to play a few notes and realizing you’ve just wasted money that could have been spent on toilet paper and hand sanitizer. 

“It’s hard to find stuff to do in your home that you haven’t done,” sophomore Addison Salisbury said. “The bingo made me think about something other than my boredom, so for a few seconds at least, I wasn’t bored.” 

HighStepper Bingo

Typically, users of all ages and personalities can take part in internet trends. However, there is one bingo game exclusive to a team of red lipped, glitter doning dancers who would give anything to be back at their studio. HighSteppers coach Amber Reynolds posted a bingo card for her students to post on their Instagram stories. Instead of revolving around the typical quarantine antics, this game details the trials and tribulations of a Texas HighStepper. Squares include “made a Tik Tok in the studio or locker room” to annoyances like “left poms or jazz shoes in the car” to the sentimental “met your best friends through HighSteppers.” Although this squad is now separated due to the quarantine, trends like this can make their isolation a little less isolating.   

“It’s a way to keep up with the team even though we all talk to each other all the time,” sophomore Rylee McDuffie said. “It’s a fun way to interact with Ms. Reynolds, since we’re not getting to see her. It’s kind of hard not seeing [my team] everyday when [I’m] used to [seeing them].”

30 Day Song Challenge

Thanks to this trend, you can finally know your friend’s favorite song with a color in the title or what tune makes them teary eyed. The 30 Day Song Challenge unites cabin fevered users through a passion for music. It’s like a bingo card, but people only fill out one square on the board each day for, you guessed it, 30 days. Each square has a different prompt, such as “a song you like with a number in the title” and “a song that moves you forward.” It gives users a chance to share their favorite jams and fill our phones with much needed musical distractions.   

“[April 1] was the first day, and it was a song with a color in the title, and I put ‘Black and White’ by Niall Horan. [April 2] was a song with a number in the title, and I did ‘18’ by One Direction,” sophomore Reagen Hickerson said. “It helps others, who don’t really know you, understand your personality and style.”

Whipped Coffee

As quaranteeners adjust to this weird, new normal, many start hobbies to put our minds at ease. Some are learning how to make drinks during social distancing. Specifically, users are posting videos of themselves stirring up a cup of whipped coffee. This recipe is handy as a quick caffeine fix for early online school days. Simply whisk hot water, instant coffee and sugar together, and top the concoction over a glass of milk. For days when grabbing a Starbucks seems unsanitary, the kitchen is just a short walk away. 

Stay Home Sticker

Realizing the role Instagram plays in COVID-19, the app has released a sticker with a doodle of a house next to the words “Stay home” in a bold blue font. People can post photos and stories with this sticker to show followers how they spend social distancing. Often users will show themselves exercising, working or doing a Netflix binge session. This trend encourages others to turn toward positivity and reminds us the reason behind these trends: to stop the pandemic from turning apocalyptic, one Insta story at a time.

“[The sticker] joins all of the posts together into one big story, so multiple people tell you to stay home,” sophomore Emma Tucker said. “It’s more of an impact that way. When people give information that is correct on their social media platforms, it’s more likely to influence other people to be responsible about these things.”

Although the shelter in place policy makes us feel alone and divided, social media is always there to connect people no matter the distance. While we can’t gather over a cup of Starbucks or perform dance numbers side by side, platforms like Instagram can unite us in ways previous generations could never imagine.