On screens in homes across the Charleston area, an elementary school principal plays the kazoo, cracking her students up. Over Facebook live, a teacher reads stories for her students and teaches lessons.
For all of the uncertainty and fright around the coronavirus, and all of the ills and divisiveness of social media, West Virginians are starting to use technology to connect again — coming together rather than wedging apart.
Educators have been extremely creative, giving students a reminder that they’re a part of a school, even if they won’t return to a physical classroom for weeks or maybe longer. Families and friends are using video apps to communicate face to face, rather than just calling or texting.
Across the country, entertainers are trying to take fans’ minds off all the chaos from COVID-19, performing from their living rooms or releasing new music online. Some conduct online polls where fans choose everything from what songs they want to hear to what outfits they want their favorite performers to wear, offering some innocent fun in a dark time.
In a way, these things have offered a resurgence in the hope once so central to the identity of emerging social media, before platforms became more associated with the spread of misinformation and communicating hate.
Make no mistake, that’s still a problem. But it is reassuring to see people engaging on social media or communication apps to keep in touch, spread positivity and remind each other they are part of a community, even when they couldn’t be more physically isolated.
It doesn’t take away the threat the state and country face. It doesn’t take away the gravity of the situation. But a brief reprieve from all of the heaviness is so very important. And everyone could use little signs of hope where they can find them.