By: AC Recio
It’s been a little over a month since we all started quarantining ourselves due to the outbreak of COVID-19, so it’s no surprise that most of us have flocked to social media to keep in touch with friends and to keep ourselves entertained and informed. One such platform that people have eagerly embraced in recent times is the Facebook group, which has long since transcended its early use as a place for schoolmates, fandoms and family members to congregate. Joining Facebook groups is now a bona fide recreational activity; meme groups, political groups, hobby groups, dating groups – you name it, Facebook has a group for it (read Alexis Kleinman’s article on “weird Facebook” for more info on the rise of Facebook groups). No matter how you look at it, Facebook groups are the new normal and have replaced the Something Awful forums of lore as the foremost place for online discussion.
And with most of the world still in quarantine, stuck at home with nothing but themselves, their gadgets and an internet connection, more and more people are discovering the joys, sorrows and outright weirdness that come with the rabbit hole that is the Facebook group. So while we all still have the time for it, here are High Five Facebook groups to check out during quarantine.
Support groups are common in times of uncertainty, and a lot have popped up or have since boomed because of the quarantine. A support group can be for anything, whether it’s to give compliments and receive validation (Drop Yo Selfie or Online Bigayan ng Compliment), to bask in common lovefoolishness (Subtle Clown Traits or Trashtalkan ng Ex), or to share common media interests or recommend pop cultural touchstones (Film Recs for Cinephiles or Music Recs without Context) – as long as the members share an identifiable commonality and the group offers solace, advice and comfort to its members.
One such support group is Quarantine Tribute Tips. Much like Katniss Everdeen volunteering herself as tribute to protect her sister, young people all over the world are stepping up to go out, run errands and do chores in place of their older and more virus-prone parents. However, kids don’t always know what’s best and are the first to admit it, which is how the group Quarantine Tribute Tips came about. Siblings Jerome and Lea De Guzman were out buying produce from the local public market to help their parents who are both senior citizens. Despite not knowing how to shop, they tried their best, but went home to an earful from their parents anyway who told them that the products they bought were no good. Seeing how the same problem could arise among their peers, they came up with the idea to make a group where people can share tips on how to do chores and errands for the young and inexperienced. The group currently has over 37,000 members, some of whom are adults who joined to share their knowledge.
Another support group gaining traction right now is Bounce Back PH, where “entrepreneurs, freelancers, professionals, citizens and business owners give each other advice [and] help each other out.” Like Quarantine Tribute Tips, the group was founded under the quarantine for a specific purpose – to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines “bounce back” from the effects of the current pandemic. In the group, professionals from all over the country share their ideas through live videos, group chats and breakout online sessions, while industry leaders help through scheduled online mentorship, consultancies, collaboration, forums and discussions, all to help support each other’s businesses during this time of crisis. Members can also share posts about and support frontliners, food relief and other related causes in the group. Bounce Back PH currently has almost 30,000 members, showing that the Filipino spirit of “bayanihan” or collective action is alive, kicking and continuously fighting.
Pretty much everyone has dreamed of being someone else – a movie star, a famous singer, the president of a country – but has anyone ever dreamed of being an ant? “Maybe a few people in the history of mankind,” you might think, but at this very moment A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony on Facebook has over 800,000 members. But why?
Quarantine Day 31: I joined a Facebook group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony pic.twitter.com/FjIO9vtonl
— Millennial Mangkukulam (@agasramirez) April 15, 2020
A tweet about the group went viral two weeks ago, which led to news sites covering the story and over 700,000 people joining. Similar “pretend groups” like A group where we all pretend to be boomers, A group where we all pretend to work in the same office, A group where we speak gibberish and pretend to understand each other, and many more all have their origins before the quarantine. It might be due to our longing for a sense of community at a time where we can’t physically be present for one another, but these groups have all recently had an influx of members. Whatever the reason for their virality might be, these groups are interesting exercises in collective roleplaying and are fun ways to pass the time.
With several countries around the world under government-enforced lockdown, groups like Lockdown Diaries help people stay informed about the situation outside their own community. Members can take on the role of citizen journalists and share the goings on in their vicinity by reporting on the efforts (or lack thereof) of their local governments. And at a time where people are in dire need of resources, members can also look for or offer goods and services, free medical consultations, transportation, alcohol and masks. Aside from these, members are encouraged to share relief efforts that help out frontliners and those affected by COVID-19. Lockdown Diaries and other similar groups are much needed resources for people looking to stay informed, looking for help or looking to help during quarantine.
Recreate artworks with things you find at home
One of the ways people have been coping with the quarantine is with creative outputs. In that regard, Recreate artworks with things you find at home is probably the perfect Facebook group to cope with the current global situation, especially for art enthusiasts and hoarders. The group is reminiscent of Low Cost Cosplay, a photo project by Anucha Saengchart where he photographs himself wearing DIY costumes with a side-by-side comparison of the original character he is cosplaying. Recreate artworks with things you find at home works the same way, but instead of cosplaying as cartoon or anime characters, people are cosplaying as artworks.
An outlet for over 30,000 members around the world, the group is both a showcase of ingenuity and resourcefulness – how can you recreate a certain work of art given the limited resources at hand? It can be as simple as putting on a shirt and a wig, but some people have gone as far as painstakingly mapping out every element of an artwork and recreating it with the appropriate material and matching textures and colors. No matter how you want to do your recreations, the group is accepting of everyone’s work and will surely surprise you with how creative people can be.
Rock the Lock Down
Video posted by 相馬 章文 on Rock the Lock Down
People have been itching to get out and watch gigs and concerts since the quarantine started. Seeing this, Lucy Pardoe and Ollie Hughes created the Facebook group Rock the Lock Down as a way for people to enjoy music through live online performances from the safety and comfort of their own homes. The group began with Pardoe and Hughes asking musicians on the internet if they would be willing to perform in an online concert – within days, they received over 400 responses from musicians who wanted to offer their time and talent to entertain people for free. “[We want to spread] the love through the joy of live music from amazing artists around the world performing your very own front room festival,” said Pardoe and Hughes in the group description. Since the its inception, the group has amassed over 800,000 members, regularly holding online concerts on weekends and allowing musician members to promote their music for free while giving other members a source of music and entertainment during these uncertain times.
Whether for information, entertainment or for a sense of community and belonging, people will always find ways to come together and bring the best out of everyone in times of crisis, be it online or offline. So join a Facebook group, stay informed, stay strong, spread smiles and brighten someone’s day.
Did we miss your favorite Facebook group? Share it with us in the comments section below!