With the coronavirus continuing to upend familiar rhythms of life, leaving schools shuttered, millions out of work and billions stuck at home, those looking for ways to pass the time have gotten creative.
In the absence of jam-packed calendars, people are turning to social media challenges in droves. Some bring together families for choreographed dance routines while others spark the inner artist or unlock hidden engineering skills. All of them hold the promise of warding off boredom and — maybe — earning users a moment of online celebrity.
Here are some of the biggest challenges sweeping the world amid the lockdown.
Early last month, the lyrics “I just flipped the switch” from the Drake song “Nonstop” inspired a viral challenge on TikTok that eventually made its way to Instagram. All over, people began swapping clothes, poses and sometimes attitudes when the lights are switched off and then back on. A version featuring Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kate McKinnon of “Saturday Night Live” went viral, as did a clip of Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.
The song “Don’t Rush” by the British hip-hop outfit Young T & Bugsey provided the backdrop for this challenge. In some videos, participants pass around a makeup brush like a wand that magically upgrades their look. One popular take featured New Orleans police officers passing around their hats while another video highlighted disabled women and men.
In Australia, where lockdowns have halted nearly 30 years of economic growth, residents have begun dressing up as superheroes, Disney characters and sometimes dinosaurs to wheel the trash to the curb. A Facebook group called “Bin Isolation Outing,” which has quickly racked up nearly a million members, features photos and videos of residents dressing up for the usually mundane task.
While the pandemic has shuttered most public institutions, museumgoers have shifted their focus online, where people are cleverly replicating famous artworks. Participants use toilet paper, food, old clothes and more to form a living archive of creativity in isolation. The Instagram account @tussenkunstenquarantaine collects and posts submissions from locked-down artists all over. Thousands of replicas appear under the hashtags #tussenkunstenquarantaine and #betweenartandquarantine. There’s also a Russian Facebook group called “Isolation” that features at-home replicas of sculptures, paintings and movie scenes.
When boredom sets in, silly tasks are sometimes the most entertaining, as evidenced by the millions of TikTok, Instagram and Twitter videos posted with the hashtag #trickshot. The objective is to land the shot, no matter how many obstacles or how ridiculous the task. Some popular videos show Ping-Pong balls bouncing off pots and pans or going through complicated courses. Although Ping-Pong balls are commonly used, people have recorded their own #trickshot videos using basketballs, soccer balls and golf balls.
Your First Move Is Their Last Move
This challenge turns family living rooms and kitchens into makeshift nightclubs, where everyone gets a turn on the dance floor. The conceit: Repeat the dance move from the person in front of you, then add your own twist for the person behind you to replicate. The “Your First Move Is Their Last Move” challenge is most popular on TikTok, where there are hundreds of thousands of videos.
Eight Common Mistakes Startups Make That Limit Their Media Exposure – Forbes
Armed with a novel concept and exciting product, many startups seem well-poised to explode onto the media scene. However, many inadvertently kill their media exposure in its infancy, costing them dearly in terms of awareness and publicity.
Unfortunately, poorly planned media outreach efforts can not only result in hardly any results but even backfire. It is vital first to understand what the end objective of this outreach is and to shape the media outreach plan accordingly.
Here are eight common mistakes I’ve observed among startups that can negatively impact their media potential:
Not Thinking Twice Before Promising Exclusives
When it comes to major announcements, be it a new product launch or the conclusion of a significant funding round, a common scenario many startups are bound to encounter is the offer of an exclusive feature. This can be a tricky situation to navigate as an exclusive typically limits media potential, with newsworthiness declining significantly after details of an announcement are made publicly available with only one selected outlet, leaving others not wanting to cover the story anymore.
Making Announcements On Informal Channels
As PR practitioners, we understand that achieving a milestone is an exciting time for any entrepreneur. However, under no circumstances should this information be shared prematurely on informal channels such as corporate websites, blogs or social media platforms if a media announcement is in the pipeline.
Before commencing with a story or interview, journalists check for previous mentions. Once an announcement has been made on informal platforms, newsworthiness declines and all bets are off.
Irregular Media Engagement
In our line of work, we frequently come across the misconception that media engagement is only necessary when there is an announcement to be made. That cannot be further from the truth.
What many startups don’t realize is that sustained effort is essential to establish a strong media presence.
Interviews, commentary on relevant news or opinion articles are often relied upon to fill the gaps between formal announcements. This creates an ongoing media engagement cycle that can significantly assist in brand recall and ensures that a brand and its spokesperson remain visible at all times.
An Overwhelming Volume Of Engagement
While a high amount of media engagement activities sounds like a fool-proof strategy, startup marketers need to be aware that more is not always better. Commenting on every subject under the sun may conversely dilute newsworthiness and media attention. This could result in media fatigue — overwhelming journalists with recurring media proposals — or even establish your spokesperson as a jack-of-all-trades instead of a subject matter expert in their respective fields.
Some publications also have policies in place to avoid situations where a single brand or spokesperson is featured too frequently. You could end up getting media coverage for some nice-to-have angles but then missing out for the big hit when you really have a story to tell.
Insufficient Knowledge Of Journalists Or Media Publications
Startups might be tempted to approach every single journalist or publication that seems relevant to their business. Such a move can be quite damaging to your brand reputation among the media, as it may suggest a lack of research and could even lead to your company getting blacklisted.
It is key to do research and strategize on the right media contact to approach. For instance, a brand in the banking and finance sector might not benefit from reaching out to a dedicated banking and finance reporter if said reporter only covers stock market movements.
Inconsistent And Confusing Messaging
Understandably, startup founders are passionate about their business. Often, this enthusiasm translates into their direct and unfiltered interactions with the media, where responses become filled with industry jargon. As the journalist may not possess that in-depth level of knowledge about your company or industry, it is essential to be concise, remove the jargon and be straightforward. We’ve also found that using relatable analogies to illustrate a point helps. However, do take care not to also come across as overly patronizing.
Startups need to remain consistent in their messaging as they can easily be cross-referenced with previous media coverage. Overinflating numbers, embellishing details or even creating controversy can have a long-term negative impact on a brand’s reputation and credibility.
No credible media will want to publish your press release verbatim and not every publication or journalist will entertain an interview request, and that’s perfectly normal. Perhaps the story isn’t in line with their editorial calendar (which determines the topic they focus on), they’ve already dedicated resources to cover a separate announcement, or they just ran a similar story.
In all circumstances, it is key to graciously accept the decision and perhaps speak with the journalist for a better understanding of what the contributing factors were that led to the decision. This would help immensely for future announcements. The worst thing a startup could do is to be unnecessarily persistent, which could irreparably damage the working relationship.
This is the biggest faux pas I think a startup could make. Over and over we have witnessed charismatic founders who ended up being unfavorably quoted, letting out company or partner details that were not meant for the public (yet) or under pressure, even making up numbers that might sound impressive. Driven by the ambition to please the media, some interviewees tend to overshare or try hard to have an edgy or controversial opinion for the sake of attention.
Be prepared that whatever information you share with the media, it might get published. And that might stay with you forever.
Interacting with the media should be well-planned and based on a gameplan: What is the story you want to focus on? What are the facts to strengthen your points, and what is your sanctioned view on the industry and competitors? Remember that it is perfectly fine to not have an answer to every question.
Germany aims to ease distancing, lift European travel warning – media – National Post
BERLIN — Germany plans to ease social distancing steps from June 29, a week earlier than previously planned, and aims to lift a travel warning for 31 European countries from mid-June, German media reported.
The reports come as German regions discuss with Chancellor Angela Merkel how to further ease lockdown restrictions introduced in March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The 16 state premiers will try on Wednesday to agree with Merkel on the way forward, balancing the need to revive Europe’s biggest economy, facing its deepest recession since World War Two, with protecting public health.
Merkel has urged caution and warned of a new wave of infections.
However, citing a draft document still to be approved by the regions, the Bild daily said Merkel, under pressure from state premiers, had agreed to bring forward the date that social distancing should be relaxed to June 29 from July 5.
A government spokesman declined to comment, saying he did not want to prejudge the outcome of talks.
Bild said meetings in public places would be limited to a maximum of 10 people or members of two households. While there would be no limit on the number of visitors allowed to visit people in their homes, there would have to be space for everyone to keep their distance and have enough fresh air, it said.
The dpa news agency said Germany would lift a travel warning for 31 European states from June 15, provided the coronavirus situation allows.
Citing a document that cabinet may agree on Wednesday, it said this would include Britain, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein as well as Germany’s 26 EU partners.
A row erupted at the weekend when the premier of the state of Thuringia said he would ditch mask-wearing and distancing rules. Some other states, including hard-hit Bavaria, want to keep stricter measures.
Germany has kept its COVID-19 death rate relatively low, at 8,302 so far, despite a high number of cases. (Reporting by Michelle Martin Writing by Madeline Chambers Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Gareth Jones)
Wuhan performed 6.5 million coronavirus tests in just 9 days, state media reports – CTV News
The central Chinese city of Wuhan conducted more than 6.5 million novel coronavirus tests in just 9 days, according to state media, a drastic move by authorities to prevent a second wave of infections in the original epicenter of the global pandemic.
Wuhan’s ambitious citywide nucleic acid testing drive came after six new cases emerged in a residential community earlier this month — the first time local infections were reported following the city’s emergence from its months-long lockdown in April.
From May 15 to May 23, swab test samples were collected from more than nine million residents, China’s state-broadcaster CCTV reported, accounting for more than 80% of the city’s total population of 11 million.
Nucleic acid tests work by detecting the virus’ genetic code, and can be more effective at detecting the infection, particularly in the early stages, than tests which examine a body’s immune response, though the latter are easier to conduct.
The mass testing identified 198 asymptomatic cases — people who carry the virus but do not show symptoms, according to the state-run Health Times.
The speed and scope of Wuhan’s testing campaign — hailed as a “10-day battle” by local authorities — appears to have equaled or eclipsed the testing ability of many countries, including that of the United States.
On Friday alone, Wuhan conducted 1.47 million tests, according to CCTV.
In the US, the highest daily number of coronavirus tests conducted across the entire country currently stands at 416,183, according to Johns Hopkins University, which draws on data from the COVID Tracking Project.
In total, the United States has performed 14,131,277 coronavirus tests since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, that number also includes antibody tests performed in some states, which aren’t used to diagnose current infections but to indicate whether someone has been exposed to the virus in the past.
In Wuhan, sampling booths were set up in neighborhoods across the city, with residents in face masks lining up to take their swab tests. On Saturday, authorities set up 231 extra testing booths for people who had not been able to make the earlier tests, according to the Changjiang Daily, the official Communist Party mouthpiece in Wuhan.
Health care workers also paid door-to-door visits to some elderly and disabled residents to take their samples, the Changjiang Daily reported.
According to Chinese news outlet Caixin, in order to test quickly and widely, Wuhan’s health authorities combined some of the samples taken from multiple individuals together and tested them in a single tube — a method known as “pool testing.”
If a tube of pooled samples was tested positive, extra tests would be carried out on each individual’s sample separately to find the positive sample, the Caixin report said. It was unclear from the report what percentage of samples in Wuhan had been pooled for testing.
In April, scientists in Germany proposed the pooling of coronavirus samples as a strategy to boost testing capacity when large numbers of asymptomatic people need to be screened, according to their research published in the medical journal The Lancet.
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