Without a doubt lockdown and the global pandemic has been very tricky for a lot of people. Personally, living on my own, it’s been really, really boring. I miss being in the office, I miss seeing my friends, I miss going out for drinks etc. etc. (the list really is endless). But it’s not all doom and gloom. Whilst throwing myself into work has really helped keep me busy, I’ve found three things that really have helped me stay sane. What’s more, they are three things that have been absolutely killing social media. Here’s what Netflix, Taylor Swift and my local Zumba class all have in common (and why they’re amazing).
Netflix – What Did I Do Before It?
Anyone that knows me knows that when you ask me about my ‘hobbies’, the list pretty much starts and ends with binge watching tv shows on Netflix. I’m not really a film person, but if I find myself deep into a 10 season Netflix show I’m happy for weeks. It really has been a saviour during lockdown. It really didn’t seem like there was nothing to do once I’d finished work, because I had to finish the next episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Netflix has been a company that has really thrived during lockdown, seeing double the amount of signups this year when compared to last year. Of course, this was bound to happen, as people had more time on their hands and couldn’t leave the house, but they also had some obstacles to tackle. 24th March (the second official day of UK lockdown) saw the release of Disney+ in the UK. I have never seen as many of my friends buy something so quickly. The idea of being able to watch all Disney films AND rewatch all the shows I loved as a tween during an indefinite national lockdown? Incredible move and incredible timing from Disney.
The cost of Disney+ even undercut Netflix, which aside from Amazon Prime (doesn’t really count because it’s not nearly as good) has basically been monopolising the space for years. Immediately articles were released, ‘Netflix vs. Disney+, which one is for you?’. It appears every man and his dog is directly comparing these two streaming services. (I even found a ‘searches related to Netflix vs. Disney’ that said ‘what is the difference between Netflix and Disney+ … REALLY?!’ the Netflix pro inside me shakes head in disbelief).
How did Netflix respond to this threat? Release more, bigger and better things and hype everyone up on social media about it. Realising the love for Disney nostalgia, Netflix jumped on the bandwagon. Anyone want to watch all the Twilight movies again? How about classic romcoms like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days? Or all the Jurassic Park films? ALL that on top of new series of the addictive TV shows we love like La Casa De Papel, Ozarks, The Sinner and more. They really did treat us.
How did they notify us about all this amazing new content? Through social media! The Netflix UK Instagram is really one of my favourites. The team at Netflix really manage to make memes and images that are so relatable, knowing exactly who their market is and the reactions to shows. This reactivity puts Netflix 10,000 steps ahead of Disney+. The Netflix UK Twitter is also absolute gold. One of my highlights is the way in which the different Netflix territories engage with each other on social media, absolutely genius. Here’s some of my favourites:
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Question for @NetflixFR after a weekend of watching Selling Sunset S3:
Should Romain rhyme with “plane” or “plan”? ????
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) August 10, 2020
As you can tell, I could go on and on about my love for Netflix, so let’s move onto the next thing. Taylor Swift’s sudden (but incredible) release of her eighth studio album, Folklore.
Folklore – Taylor Swift’s Lockdown Gift
I’ve always been a huge Taylor Swift fan. Even aged 15 going through your typical early 2010s emo phase (big up Paramore), I was still secretly listening to Speak Now on my iPod Shuffle. There are very few other artists that I can literally just listen to on shuffle and not have to skip a single song. Fearless, Speak Now and Red remind me of being a teenager (All Too Well still breaks my heart to this day). I love the sassiness of Reputation. 1989 and Lover are just pure pop guilty pleasures and let’s not forget the country amazingness that is the self-titled first album. But, I’d actually found myself at a bit of a loss during lockdown of what to listen to whilst working. I’m usually the office DJ, but having full free reign of music choice WFH I seem to have overdosed on ‘This Is Stormzy’, ‘This Is Drake’ and ‘This Is Nicki Minaj’. Until July …
July 24th saw the sudden release of Folklore. Any Taylor Swift fans (myself included) went into meltdown. We were only just getting through the Lover era! How did Taylor drop the news? Social media. No huge build up. No billboards. No TV adverts. No magazine covers. Just Instagram posts. Is this a sign of our new era of music advertising? Most definitely.
The Instagram post where Taylor Swift announced the release has over 3 million likes. This kind of release isn’t necessarily a brand new thing, with Beyonce doing it with her self-titled album back in 2013, but Folklore was definitely welcome during lockdown.
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Goodbye pink, poppy, ‘ME!’ Taylor, and welcome moody, indie, forest friend Taylor. The general mood of the album makes you want to cry about your ex from 7 years ago, but we are absolutely here for it. Let’s be honest, no one is really feeling tip top during a global pandemic, so it works! My TikTok For You page was immediately filled with people picking out amazing lyrics and comparing the album to other eras and even trying to beat All Too Well for the title of ‘best Taylor Swift song ever’. The top and bottom of it? I’m obsessed. Get Cardigan on repeat, right now.
Taylor absolutely killed it with her dramatic social media album release announcement. Who needs to pay for ‘traditional’ marketing these days? When I’m not listening to Exile for the 10th time in a row, or binge watching Selling Sunet, you’ll catch me pretending to be a Strictly Come Dancing contestant.
Zumba – My Weekly Dose of Pure Happiness
Ok before you judge, Zumba is SO fun and also SO sweaty, it’s a win win. I’ve been doing Zumba for a couple of years now. I don’t mind the odd circuit or hiit workout, but I’m not really one for the gym and never been one for sports. I’ve always tried to get into spin classes and Metafit, but the truth is, I hate it. But I always want to stay healthy and fit, so I found something I love that also helps me do that. Enter, Zumba. I do two hour long classes a week, and an additional hour long Zumba Strong class (the toughest hiit workout you’ve ever done, but to music). I love my routine and it keeps me motivated.
When lockdown hit and gyms closed, I was absolutely gutted. I hadn’t started a Saturday without a Zumba class in soooo long. I also felt so bad for my instructor, Giada, who uses the classes as her main source of income. How did my local Zumba teacher react? She connected with us all on social media and created an online Facebook community for all her class regulars. We’re now part of a 100+ members Facebook Group. Then she launched online classes! Giada completely adapted her business to online, whilst maintaining that community and support aspect that we all loved so much.
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The Facebook group is very active, and Giada posts regularly, even launching a ‘Workout Wednesday’ slot where she posts a new at-home workout for us all if we wish. There’s constant motivation to keep going and just have fun, and not just in terms of fitness either. Giada is huge on general wellness, so there’s a lot of advice for staying calm and overcoming obstacles. This group has become an absolute lifesaver for me during lockdown, and I genuinely don’t know where I’d be without it or the classes.
What everyone needs to take from my local, Salford Zumba instructor is that you have to be willing to adapt. It would have been so easy for Giada to get really angry and upset when the gyms closed and not really do anything about it, but her approach was different. Take a moment to regroup, look at your options and how you can move forward. Social media has massively helped Giada with this, as we wouldn’t have even known about the online classes without them. It has even helped her grow her classes, as we’ve all introduced new people to the group and expanded the community even more.
I’m not saying Giada is revolutionary in her approach, but it is definitely one of the best responses to an unexpected global pandemic that I’ve seen.
There You Have It
What do Netflix, Taylor Swift and Zumba all have in common? Number one, my absolute love for them, but also their willingness to use social media in ways that others might not consider. By being reactive, taking a different approach and building an online community, you really can go far. Social media can be a minefield, but it can also be something really great.
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