Effects of the coronavirus on the economy and finances in the U.S. include supply chain disruptions, fewer purchases by consumers, lowered investments by businesses, and record stock market lows and shortages. Some insights into how people use social media during times of crisis are its utility and usefulness for a wide variety of necessities, two-way communication, promoting resiliency, and being easily integrated into emergency response plans.
Supply Chain Disruption
- Although only in the beginning stages of such, the coronavirus has the potential to further greatly disrupt global supplies of goods, not allowing U.S. companies to fill order demands. The virus had already laid off workers in many affected areas, reducing labor supply, services, and products, and even the demand for such things.
- These global supply chains disruptions are one of the clear economic effects of the coronavirus, as any disruptions make it difficult for U.S. companies to finish their products. Supply chain disruptions to suppliers of goods outside of China will make it difficult for U.S. companies to find substitute products from other countries. How much U.S. companies are affected here depends on how well managed their supply chains are.
Fewer Consumer Purchases
- As consumers worry about the coronavirus and its spread, they are purchasing fewer things than they usually do day to day, and they will continue to buy less of some products and services in fear of potential exposure, such as going out to eat or traveling. Air travel and hotels may be two industries who are greatly affected, and a lowered demand on both the food and beverage industries seems to be already occurring. With increasingly discomfort about the virus in the country, consumers may cut back further to increase their savings for emergencies.
- A heightened sense of uncertainty with the economy could affect households, businesses, and those in the financial markets. Not knowing what will happen to their supply chains and domestic and international customers, businesses may hold off on investments. As it is not known exactly where or how far the coronavirus will spread, it is hard or even impossible to analyze the effects on supply chain and demand disruptions in the U.S., making it difficult for businesses to plan, and place these new investments.
Stock Market Lows
- In the loss of several trillion dollars in U.S. market value, Wall Street losses have grown recently, with the Dow Jones average dropping 10% even with the Federal Reserve taking a highly unusual action of injecting money into the bond market in order to stabilize the financial systems in the middle of widespread concerns about the coronavirus and its effects on the economy.
- For its worst finish since 1987, the Dow lowered 2,352.60 points. Stocks spiraled further down as those such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 9.5%.
- $1.5 trillion will be pumped into the short-term lending markets that banks used to lend to each other by the New York Fed, with the central bank also buying $60 billion of Treasury bonds from March 13 through April 13 in order to keep the market functioning properly. In recent weeks, investors have reported problems trading in their U.S. government bonds, giving echoes of the 2008 financial crises.
- By disrupting the global supply chain, the closing of Chinese factories have caused widespread damage with shortages across many U.S. industries. Everything from generic medicines to auto parts have been affected, and production delays in products such as Diet Coke and iPhone show the level of impact.
- Disruptions for businesses of all sizes and all sectors are taking place with the coronavirus. Although at this time there is no evidence that the virus will cause a recession in the economy, it will certainly slow economic growth.
- Major sports organizations such as the NHL and MLS have halted their seasons, with the MLB on hold, with Disney parks also closing down, as well as Broadway.
Social Media In Times of Crisis
- An important vehicle for the delivery of real-time news and emergency notifications, social media is vital during crises not only because citizens spend a large amount of time using it each day, but because citizens can learn about breaking news first before other channels such as TV or radio.
- Social media is changing how people obtain breaking news because news usually breaks on social media first and crosses all geographic boundaries quickly. Although often unofficial sources, breaking news through social media offers many firsthand accounts often and is commented upon by active social media users who share and distribute the news.
- As much as 77% of journalists say social media is key to them learning about new stories quicker, with the same saying social media is important in reporting stories quicker as well.
- A major portion of social media use is on mobile devices, with 1.71 billion monthly active users in the world in July 2016, 823 million of them only using a mobile device to use social media from a mobile device. Mobile social media use is projected to only grow, with one million new mobile users added every day.
- 62% of Americans state they get their news from social media, with 66% relying on Facebook, and 59% on Twitter.
- This article posting 8 of the top articles of social media use during different crises around the world states that hurricane Sandy in 2012 created opportunity for many people used social media to communicate.
- Social media, with Facebook as a shining example, is a powerful tool to effectively share urgent and important news or alerts.
- During emergencies, local government’s can use Facebook as a source of reliable news, resources, and instructions, and resources, as it is very easy to utilize text, images, links, maps, and content to download. Facebook also offers built-in features that enable families to locate each other and other loved ones, allowing those in the crisis to mark themselves safe. Functions being implemented by social media companies such as this make it one of the first places that people go for important news and information during a crisis.
Two Way Communication
- Social media can help grow the reach of an intended message during a crisis due to sharing by the vast number of people who use it, serving as a channel for open communications for residents to ask questions, respond back, and provide updates. Social media’s greatest value during a crisis may be in the emergency response managers will be able to get back from citizens about what is happening during an event in real time, utilizing social media listening.
- Land lines or other traditional forms of communication may not be available during a crisis, making social media communications (that are one-to-one and one-to-many) essential for communicating in real time.
- Social Media plays an important role in creating and strengthening resiliency, allowing a greater chance to recover from distressing events and crisis’ by maintaining connections between people. Survivors and those affected through social media community can know they are not alone, and there is support and an outlet for coping.
- Vital ongoing connections in the aftermath of such situations through personal and group networks, enables digital space to share memories, images, and stories.
Ease of Integration
- In local government, budgets and staffs are usually minimal, making many emergency communication managers state the lack of staff as the main reason they have not yet implemented social media into their emergency response strategy. With preplanned and disciplined communication strategies, alongside the necessary tools, social media can be incorporated easily into employer messaging channels, allowing an emergency routine mass multi-channel notification strategy without extra steps or efforts.