Social Distancing in a time of Social Media
Well hello there, international pandemic and social media influencer, Coronavirus! Sorry, I meant #coronavirus, or #CoronavirusOutbreak – which do you prefer to go by?
[Laughs nervously.] Umm…whatever. Coronavirus, I guess. Coron.
Well then, Coron, thanks for coming on today. You are just everywhere these days. How does it feel to be the most talked about sensation of the year?
Yeah, I never really anticipated this level of hype. I just thought, you know, I’d be just another ignored disease as long as I stayed in Asia and Africa. But then white people picked me up, and things just went wild.
I’ll say! People are so enthralled by you that they’re literally doing nothing else but talk about you. Oh, and the Happy Birthday song. You’ve really given that one a second life.
So, what do you hope to accomplish? What are your goals, aspirations?
Well, I’m kinda just trying to go with the flow. You know, all this attention is really overwhelming. I never thought I’d get schools closed or international travel suspended, but it happened! So, as for my future plans, I’ve considered jumping to animals or see if I can actually justify the run on toilet paper, but nothing’s for sure.
Have you had any moments of self-doubt in your newfound celebrity status?
Umm…like a trillion! [laughs]. I definitely thought my 15 seconds of glory were over when social distancing became, like, a real thing. But then luckily there’s been spring break in Florida and some die-hard evangelical church gatherings who just won’t quit, so I feel like they’ve given me a second life.
Definitely. We’re really glad that some of your biggest fans don’t let logic or social responsibility get in the way of what they want to do just because they want to do it so they’re gonna do it, kinda thing. So… how do you feel about young people?
Yeah, they definitely weren’t my original target group but they’re, like, coming around and all. So, yeah, I’m definitely gaining ground with them now, too, not just the old and sick.
Always good to hear you’re making headway into new markets! So, what do you think of the social distancing phenomenon you’ve spawned?
Well, I know this might surprise you – and it might upset people (especially my publicist!) [laughs, coughs] but I don’t really think I deserve credit for that.
What do you mean?
Well, I know I’ve, like, helped coin the phrase and all, but were humans actually all that social before me? I mean, didn’t most people already care more about their social media accounts than, like, the real people they COULD’VE seen face-to-face?
Wow. That’s deep!
I just mean that humans are now all suddenly like, “Oh no! I can’t go out with my friends anymore. I have to use Facebook and WhatsApp and FaceTime to talk to them, blah, blah…” And I’m like, “Yeah, well, that’s what you did before me. Except that you’d sit next to a real, live friend and ignore them so you could send out selfies to virtual friends.” I mean, people were already creating social media accounts for their dogs – their DOGS! – and posting pictures of, like, every calorie they consumed. And even people who claimed they “weren’t Facebook-ers” felt the need to let the virtual world know how much they LOVED their boyfriend on his birthday, instead of, like, actually logging off Facebook, walking up to their boyfriend and saying, ‘I love you.’”
So, you’re saying social distancing has no real impact?
Not at all! It has a ton of impact. But among other things people could be learning from me is that humans need other humans, like, in-person. That even if it’s just for the body heat or whatever, being near other humans does something for their psyche. Like, maybe they shouldn’t block each other out so much, or, like, stop with the dang selfies already! [chuckles]
What other takeaways do you think people could get from you?
Well, I don’t really know. I don’t want to sound all know-it-all or anything, but I guess I would say they could learn to do without a bit more. You know, I guess maybe use me as a way to see how they could cut down on their consumption for the sake of the environment.
Do you really think that’s possible?
Definitely not! I’m just saying IF!
Oh, for sure.
Now, once I’m a has-been…
Don’t say that!
It’s true! All good mass hysterias and pandemics must come to end at some point!
Haha! Ok, then, continue!
Once I’m a has-been, people will just go back to normal and then act all shocked and unprepared when the next virus comes, or when climate change starts to actually affect non-poor people.
Affect non-poor people?! Is that really possible?!
Oh my gosh, no! I was just kidding! It will never happen to them!
OMG! You had me going for a minute! [laughs] Anyway, thanks so much for joining, well, ALL of us!
My pleasure. I’ll be around for awhile if you have any more questions.