From online St Patrick’s Day cans and video call parties to virtual Poetry Circles and online offers from strangers to do the grocery shopping for the sick or elderly or post books and DVDs to one another, the internet has been a place of solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic.
One particularly popular virtual party is the brainchild of Irish comedian Alison Spittle – “covideo parties”. It is an ingenious idea and quite simple, too. Spittle makes a poll on Twitter and asks people to choose a film available on Netflix. When the votes are cast, the Covideo party commences as everyone presses play on the film at 9pm sharp and watches the film collectively. Twitter users can follow the #CovideoParty hashtag to enjoy virtual chats and jokes about the film, share photos of their snacks, and even photos of them dressed up as characters from the film.
Covideo parties have become the number one trending hashtag on Twitter each night since Spittle first came up with the idea. After the film ends, viewers can join Alison Spittle over on Instagram for a live video chat about the film. The idea is certainly keeping hundreds of people entertained and in good spirits. So far the films have included Clueless, Matilda and Legally Blonde. Tonight’s film is Dirty Dancing.
I call this "child abuse but make it fashion"
Who's dressing up for #CovideoParty tonight?
9pm GMT netflix Matilda pic.twitter.com/2CUowni3Dk
— Alison Spittle (@AlisonSpittle) March 15, 2020
“I came up with it because I was bored out of my mind, and some gigs that I had planned were understandably cancelled because of coronavirus. It was a way to amuse myself, keep in touch with friends. Thursday was manic after Leo Varadkar made that statement. I just asked does ‘anybody want to watch a movie with me?’ and it snowballed from there,” Spittle told The Irish Times.
Well done everyone, we've picked a sufficiently horny film for tonight's #CovideoParty and I couldn't be prouder x https://t.co/MttIuCf4Q7
— Eva Griffin (@evagriff) March 18, 2020
Elsewhere on Twitter, Cian O’Flaherty has established a GoFundMe fundraiser under the hashtag #feedtheheroes – perhaps the most heartwarming act of solidarity to emerge during this difficult time. The fund goes towards paying restaurants to deliver food to our hardworking frontline staff – nurses and doctors. So far, over €190,000 has been raised to ensure regular deliveries of lunch and dinner nationwide. And despite the financial difficulties restaurants and other food operators are facing at the moment, some have even refused to accept payment.
??Thanks to @CamileThai for sending this out to the amazing staff of the #Mater hospital. They refused to take our payment for the order which is a great gesture. ? #feedtheheroes. Thanks again to everyone who has donated to this. https://t.co/w132Ee2nIp pic.twitter.com/jqUoUkD6vy
— Cian O Flaherty (@cianflah) March 15, 2020
Healthcare workers around the country are working day and night in the midst of this crisis and have been delighted to receive the thanks.
Thanks so much to #feedtheheroes from all in Cork University Hospital especially all those in the intensive care unit. Beautiful sandwiches today as we prepare for battle #COVID2019 @CUH_Cork @misspollyanna @cauley_peter pic.twitter.com/kxsKAsIR8w
— Esther (@esterfitz2) March 17, 2020
Experts say we could be dealing with coronavirus using strict social distancing measures for “months” – so now is the time to get creative with ways to show each other kindness and solidarity virtually.
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