COVID-19 Communication and Media: The First Pandemic of the Digital Age

Jeremy Schulz*, Laura Robinson, Massimo Ragnedda, Cara Chiaraluce, Oliver Kleinmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This issue of American Behavioral Scientist marshals case studies of online media platforms such as Zoom, YouTube, and Twitter and digital hardware systems such as virtual reality technology to assess the often unexpected interactions between the pandemic and digital technologies. The issue leads with a case study of Zoom to examine the largely successful efforts which Zoom made in the wake of the pandemic to resolve unanticipated privacy and security problems afflicting the suddenly ubiquitous and indispensable platform. Subsequently, the issue charts the growing tensions between competing proprietary and open-source institutional logics during the pandemic. In the next section, articles consider the spread of covid-related information on YouTube and news outlets to take a comparative angle of vision both internationally and in terms of the dynamics of media production and reception in different cultural and societal environments. Variation is also key to the articles in the last section where research focuses on persistent digital usage gaps. Here the articles touch on the socioeconomic factors driving differentiated knowledge about the pandemic, as well as the relatively low uptake of digital technologies among older adults in housing facilities. Finally, we also learn about the effect of the social isolation and anxieties of the pandemic on the uptake of a new form of digital hardware, virtual reality equipment. To conclude this discussion of media during the first pandemic of the digital age, the issue closes with an eye to visualizations tools needed for the future. These contributions take the measure of how the pandemic intersected with digitized communications and media in varied and, at times, unequal ways, as well as lessons applicable to future crises.
Original languageEnglish
Article number000276422311553
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Early online date1 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2023

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