COVID-19 Has Changed the Way We Use the Internet
COVID-19 Has Changed the Way We Use the Internet

COVID-19 Has Changed the Way We Use the Internet

Americans who are stuck at home throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with restaurants and movie theatres closed, have been spending a substantially larger amount of time online. If you are looking to integrate Microsoft 365 into your organisation look no further than Mgenious Solutions.

An analysis of U.S. internet usage from the New York Times from two online data providers, Apptopia and SimilarWeb, clearly demonstrated that our behaviours have shifted dramatically. These changes happened as the virus spread through the world and pushed us to utilize our devices to connect, as well as for work and play.

As nearly all public gatherings were called off, Americans began to seek out entertainment and connection online. They connected on social media outlets like Facebook, as well as video sites like YouTube and Netflix.

Before 2020, individuals who use these services had been increasingly relying on their smartphones. This has created a high amount of usage of mobile apps and devices. Now that we’re spending more time at home with smart TVs and computers readily available, Americans seem to be realizing how difficult and uncomfortable it is to stare at tiny cell phone screens throughout the day.

YouTube, Facebook, and Netflix have all seen their user numbers on their phone apps decrease or stagnate as their website traffic has grown, according to data from Apptopia and SimilarWeb. These sites both gather their traffic information from numerous independent sources to create an overall data map of traffic across the internet.

Although traditional social media sites are seeing a large traffic increase, it seems that we do want more than just to be able to connect through instant messaging and words in the text – we want to see each other life, in real-time. This desire has dramatically boosted apps that were previously obscure, such as Due, Google’s video chat application, and Houseparty, which allows friends to video chat and play games at the same time.

We’ve also become more interested in our environment, as well as what’s going on locally, and how the local area is changing and responding to the virus, what local quarantine measures are, and more. This has triggered increased interest in Nextdoor, a social media site that is entirely focused on linking residents of local neighbourhoods.

In America, our offices and schools have relocated into our basement and living rooms. Online activity has been dramatically affected by this change. School assignments, for example, are being handed out using Google Classroom. Office meetings are happening on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and via Google Hangouts. However, the dramatic rush to these services has led to enhanced amounts of scrutiny about the privacy policies of these services.

Americans seem to want to stay on top of the latest news about COVID-19 more than just about anything, due to the ongoing uncertainty about how bad the ongoing outbreak and the new variants could get.

Local news sites are the biggest beneficiaries of this trend, with large jumps in traffic each week as individuals try to determine precisely how the pandemic is hitting their local areas.

Americans have also been closely following established media brands to gather up to the minute information about the COVID-19 crisis and its possible economic consequences. CNBC, a site that is focused on business news, has seen a dramatic increase in their readership. According to SimilarWeb, the websites for both The Washington Post and The New York Times have both seen over a 50% increase in traffic.

Americans seem to be seeking out the latest factual information about the virus, and interest in more opinionated content seems to be fading. Publications like The Daily Caller and Truthdig are beginning to record falling or stagnant viewing numbers. Fox News has even seemed to drop numbers when compared to other larger media outlets.

However, beating all of the news sites for traffic and popularity is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This site has begun to attract millions of regular readers on an ongoing basis, where it previously had an almost nonexistent readership. Readers have begun to look for more ambitious attempts to quantify the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including the ones being produced by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.