A Global Pandemic Won’t Stop the Desperate Desire to Go Viral

Illustration for article titled A Global Pandemic Won’t Stop the Desperate Desire to Go Viral
Image: TikTok

There’s a lot happening on social media, more than any one person can safely keep up with. Do you need to know about it? At Hall Monitor, we provide you with a digest to help you make up your mind.


The world is changing faster than the internet can meme it. Just yesterday, the stock market took a historic plunge, Broadway shuttered, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-quarantined, and a state health official estimated there could be 100,000 cases of covid-19 in Ohio alone. Congressperson Katherine Clark neatly summed up the situation on Thursday, telling NPR that Americans will need to make “dramatic changes in our lifestyles.”

Meanwhile, our nation’s content creators, young and old, have showed little sign of slowing down. If anything, the first pandemic of the 2020s suggests a need to expand the internet’s informal bylaws. For any given topic, there will not only be porn of it (which we now have for covid-19), but also a YouTube conspiracy, a TikTok banger, an Instagram meme, a reddit forum, a Snapchat filter, an emoji, and a parody Twitter account.

Does lol-ing in the face of catastrophe suggest a callous detachment from reality? Or does it help us cope with that which we cannot control? And is that good or bad or what? Such determinations fall far beyond a simple hall monitor’s purview, and in light of current events, we will be suspending sentences until further notice.

Corona Time Updates

Thanks to TikTok’s unofficial virus anthem, the teens of 2020 are now on “Corona Time.” Corona Time was ushered in by sneezing pranks at the gym, on the subway, and what appears to be a department store. It’s a time for cracking dark generational jokes, divining dystopian visions, and entertaining fantasies of developing teen superpowers à la the 2018 movie Darkest Minds.

With Costco’s shelves emptying, the day is darkening on Corona Time. While some perch high on their toilet paper thrones, the stockpilers who’ve long been amassing personal reservoirs of hand sanitizer offer their wisdom:


Hall monitor’s note: Voucher for one free “told-ya-so” from the coupon crowd.


The Instagram memers, working from home, have the Purell and toilet paper hustles on lock. And, hygiene be damned, the winos and pongers will always be pounding.

Hall monitor’s note: See the office.

Illustration for article titled A Global Pandemic Won’t Stop the Desperate Desire to Go Viral

If you’re feeling ew/icky/P.U./stinky/gross/curious about the spread of the lethal virus, you can jam those undesirable brain demons into a Bitmoji for a series of customized cartoon PSAs. Over on Snapchat, filters will simulate an at-home covid-19 test, a protective face mask, and the telltale green hair of the virus. Just don’t try look for similar filters on Instagram: the platform has banned AR effects “which claim to predict, diagnose, treat, or cure coronavirus.”

Hall monitor’s note: Good job Facebook?


TikTok has discovered the term “human coronavirus”—which refers to the virus family of both covid-19 and the common cold—on Lysol labels and wondered: “WTF!”

Hall monitor’s note: Extra homework

Art Therapy Bulletin

As though bound by a whisper-y hippocratic oath, ASMR-tists are offering their services as volunteer medics, guidance counselors, and sneezing partners.


Others have found creative inspiration in the virus.


Hall monitor’s note: Hall monitors are not art critics.

Off-Campus News


Semesters abroad are off, but the good-looking adults of travel-gram continue to roam the earth on foot and paddle boat. Be inspired to know that this woman won’t be deterred from striking a pose on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Elsewhere, a food blogger ruminates on how covid-19 might affect travel logistics over a gluten-free custard-filled choux bun from Rome’s Piazza Navona. And yet another poster wonders if they should cancel an upcoming journey whilst paddling in the clear blue waters of Bora Bora. Proposed Rule 51: When in doubt, post throwbacks.

Stay Safe!

  • If you see a coronavirus profile on Tinder, swipe right. [Twitter]
  • Steer clear of Facebook medical “experts” at all costs. [Wired]
  • Before acting on a stranger’s advice, ask yourself: Does this man have a degree in medicine, journalism, finance, criminology, or law? Is he drawing from peer-reviewed texts? Is he TikToking from an office setting?

Get well soon. [TikTok]

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo