Media, PR, gaming, tech, fintech, and blockchain. Zage.io
The CDC suggests to manage your own stress you consider taking the following steps:
- Know the facts on COVID-19. Know the symptoms of the virus and contact a health professional before doing any self-treatment.
- Identify where you can get treatment and other support services like therapy — including tele-therapeutic services if necessary.
- Take care of your emotional health so you can better handle the need to protect you and your family.
- Take breaks from the news — it can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body – eat healthy, get regular exercise, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drug use.
- Take time to unwind. Take time to do things you enjoy (like writing articles, I find.)
- Take time to connect with others — friends, family, and roommates are all an important part of your COVID-19 routine if you want to keep any semblance of normalcy.
- Connect with the community through religious and support organizations. I suppose Zoom meetings for services and support groups are a thing?
Battling Socially-Distanced Ennui
Stella, the Golden Wonder
We can personally attest that the best panacea for COVID-19 blues is a Golden Retriever, nature’s happiest dog. Stella also helps ensure we walk to the park a few times each day, so bonus points for exercise.
But for those not fortunate enough to have a dog, loneliness has been a major concern, to the point where it was called out separately as a major potential health risk accompanying the pandemic in a study conducted by Florida State University College of Medicine.
Surprisingly, the study found people are more resilient than expected.
Studies in Loneliness
The nationwide study by Florida State University College of Medicine, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 people before and during stay-at-home orders.
“Even while physically isolated, the feeling of increased social support and of being in this together may help limit increases in loneliness,” Luchetti said.
But where are people finding this support, entertainment, and human contact? For people already working from home, making real connections with co-workers can be tricky and not always advantageous, friends and families are not always local and traveling is generally not advisable.
Turning to Youtube During the Pandemic
Well, people are dealing in a number of ways, but it seems that when not on video calls, viewers are turning to YouTube.
These seem like the standard stages of grief adapted for the internet world—a little bit of denial and anger as we seek some answers, then gloomy acceptance as we take the time to finally fix the toilet that runs, then depression and acceptance—bring on the video games.
The Power of Parasocial Relationships
Zachary Morris, CZsWorld
We can say from our own experience that there are YouTubers whose voices we hear every day — which is more than anyone who doesn’t actually share a home with us.
“Definitely, I feel that over the last couple years I’ve really turned to my channel into a community. I always try to spend some time every week interacting with people on an individual level on social media, in video comments, and in those community posts. I also think that just being a creator for a few years now has opened the door to more interaction and sense of community. With each video we’ve got more inside jokes and material to look back on or connect over,” Morris said.
I asked Morris if there was a negative side to those parasocial relationships but from his POV it is all positive, at least in the horror genre.
“There are a couple of exceptions that come to mind, like people making threats over my defending of a The Nun advertisement jump scare or people taking issue with dark humor, but not representative of my viewer base as a whole.”
I asked Morris — otherwise known as “HotTopic Shaggy-Doo” and any number of other monickers he uses in his videos — if he feels he is authentically himself when he does his videos.
“I think my character on screen, like many creators, is a magnified version of myself. So it’s still authentic to the real me, but Zac times 2 or Zac times 3.”
“As far as censorship, if we’re talking about gore and profanity, I don’t think any of my fans would really be bothered by that stuff. The reason it’s censored in the videos is that YouTube is very strict about what kind of content they allow creators to make money on, and they make it very difficult for horror creators because any kind of violence, gore or profanity—basically just anything interesting — gets my advertisers taken away. That said, I think a lot of the best horror movies rely on psychological horror and suspense, so it’s not the end of the world for me to have to leave that stuff out,” Morris said.
Zach’s responses (beyond being the only creator I wrote who actually answered the questions) fulfilled most of my hopes about the creators I follow and how I like to think of the parasocial relationship dynamic—positive and sincere on all sides, lucrative for the creator and fulfilling for the viewer who gets a deeper experience by “getting to know” the creator.
The Parasocial Relationship Blues
“In the absence of a fulfilling and emotionally intimate relationship, an attachment to a social media influencer or celebrity can fill the gap. Such a relationship may provide a degree of comfort by softening any feelings of isolation. However, they can also exacerbate it because there are limits to how emotionally fulfilling an influencer can be. An influencer or celebrity can never replace, over a longer-term, the feelings of being heard, understood, and cared for, that being in a close intimate personal relationship can provide.”
“Resentments can build-up towards an influencer who is unable to fulfill such needs. It is not uncommon for people whose needs are not being met to blame themselves because they believe themselves to be unlovable or not worthy of being loved. So instead of addressing the loneliness and isolation that social media might initially have comforted, it is compounded as they are left alone with their unmet needs. It’s important to remember that the agenda of an influencer is business orientated. An influencer is there to attend to an influencer’s needs, not the needs of someone else.”
As self-care becomes a daily reality and duty for all of us, it is a responsibility of all content consumers to judiciously choose what you consume and how much you buy into that relationship.
YouTube is vast and growing, and truly a marvel to those of us old enough to remember looking for funny and informative videos on the Web before YouTube existed. But in the case of YouTube, perhaps “cave videntium” or “viewer beware” (unless my Latin is wrong, which it probably is).