COVID-19 (also called the coronavirus) and it's variants such as the Delta strain are changing the way we all do things, with social distancing and non-essential shut-downs a regular occurrence across Australia until the 90% vaccination threshold is reached. To help you move with the times, stay connected and keep entertained, the Digital Ready for Daily Life program has put together info, tips, tricks, hacks and how-to’s for all things digital in your daily life.
One great way to stay connected and share information with people with similar interests, particularly in times of social isolation, is to connect through social media groups. Social media groups can be found on a bunch of different social media channels, from Facebook to Instagram right through to LinkedIn and Reddit. Sometimes called communities or clubs these groups of people are generally connected by a shared belief, interest, hobby, activity, or passion.
You might find groups for people who love patchworking, model trains, particular TV shows or podcasts, those who want to network & upskill by connecting with colleagues, groups for the alumni of a course or school, bushwalking or a sports club. Social media groups can even be used as a way of virtually connecting those that have a community group that meets in ‘real-life’.
Groups might be established at the ground roots by individuals seeking out a community, or they may have been set up officially by an organisation or industry body. For example, a training body may set up a group as a way for students to connect and support each other.
Just as there are many different types of groups, there are also many different reasons why people might want to use them. Here are a few different examples -
- Finding other people across Australia and all over the world that share your niche interest (because you might not have found many people in your local community who love 19th century European Tapestry or Klee Kai dogs)
- Getting help and support - this can either be for a new found hobby, a newly learnt skill, your job or a system/application that you need to use
- A connection point for family and friends who want to be connected but live all over the continent or the world
- An online club for those that are unable to leave their house to attend these types of clubs in person.
LinkedIn and Facebook have private and public group functionality built into their platforms whereas on Instagram people follow accounts focused on their interest or use specific hashtags (which are public) to be an active part of a community.
Finding groups couldn’t be easier –
- On Facebook and LinkedIn use the search bar to search for the group. For private groups you will need to ask to join the group, whereas with public groups you can join straight away.
- On Instagram you will need to search for either the official hashtag or search using the names or words that you associate with your interest. For example, to find fellow knitters in Australia search for “Knitting Australia” or “#KnittingAU” or “#KnittingAustralia”
When you’ve joined a group there’s no pressure to post, comment or engage. You are completely free to lurk in the background until you see a conversation that you wish to take part in, or you can simply use the group as a wonderful database of information to search through when you need help on something in particular.
That said, don’t underestimate the joy of being part of a group of people who share your interests, who can help when you’re stuck, celebrate your successes, or cheer you on from the sidelines. Don’t be nervous, intimidated or apprehensive as these are YOUR people, if you were to meet in real-life, they would feel like kindred spirits and you would undoubtedly talk for a long time – social media doesn’t change this.