Social Media Just Got, Well, Social

Instagram launches a ‘Co-Watching’ function

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced people around the world into self-isolation, which can actually be quite isolating. Unless you’re drinking during the day (which this writer highly recommends), it can be difficult dealing with the loneliness.

To cope with this, The Project recently reported that some people have even resorted to buying indoor plants to keep them company while in quarantine. This is, of course, completely fine, unless you start talking to the plants or, worse, if they start talking back.

Unsurprisingly, people’s social media usage has skyrocketed in the past few weeks. This writer in particular has spent the past week mindlessly jumping between Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and was so desperate for human contact at one stage that I almost called my parents. Almost.

But, as we know, social media can be quite isolating too, making people feel jealous of the seemingly perfect lives of their friends. But don’t worry, because Instagram is now allowing people to feel jealous of others together!

Yesterday, Instagram announced its new Co-Watching feature, which allows a group to browse together over video chat. It’s an exciting innovation that allows a group of up to six people judge the lives of others whilst remaining more than 1.5m apart at all times. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

Sarcasm aside (momentarily), it actually is a great way to keep people feeling connected with their friends whilst in lockdown. But, to be honest, there’s not much happening on Instagram right now. My feed is mostly just celebrities singing Imagine, friends posting throwbacks to times when we were allowed to go outside and pictures of dogs pretending to work from home (go check out @dogsworkingfromhome and enjoy the rest of your afternoon).

The new feature is part of Instagram’s broader plan to help its users socialise whilst social-distancing, as well as find accurate information during the pandemic. “We will continue to prioritise safety, connecting people with accurate information, and encouraging support as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves,” a statement from the company read.

The feature will be rolling out soon. In the meantime, if you’re feeling lonely and desperate to connect with another living creature, maybe go get a fiddle leaf plant. They’re fantastic company and even better listeners.